News archive

Digital advisory services

Digital advisory services for smallholder families in Africa and Asia

The new research and innovation project "Agripath" at CDE and the Insitute of Sociology, University of Bern, aims to strengthen sustainable farming methods among smallholder families in Africa and Asia using digitally supported agricultural extension services. Its overall goal is to improve the families’ productivity, incomes, and climate resilience.

Rubik's Cube

The future is sustainable – it's in our hands! Bachelor & Master Summer School 2021

This year, in an international online summer school, CDE is offering students a chance to deepen their knowledge of sustainable development and to acquire the competencies needed to act as change agents.

Clearing the invasive woody weed

Management of woody weeds may yield significant livelihood benefits

A new study involving CDE suggests that clearing the invasive woody weed Prosopis juliflora and restoring grasslands in Kenya’s Baringo County may offer significant financial benefits for local stakeholders while helping to mitigate climate change.

Flurina Schneider

“We need to ask more about what else could have been”

In today’s hyperconnected world, decisions made far away in one corner of the globe increasingly impact what happens on the ground in another location. When it comes to land use, local populations frequently lose out. In Madagascar and Southeast Asia, CDE researchers have studied how these mechanisms work. CDE researcher Flurina Schneider discusses the results and the role of science.

Meaty insights

Meaty insights: How our language promotes meat consumption

“Meat consumption is deeply engrained in our language – and some expressions and phrases actually promote meat-eating or mask the problems around meat consumption,” concludes a new study from CDE. Read more in German

Artisanal cheese production

The importance of processing and trade for sustainable food systems

A new project at CDE investigates the production, processing, and trade of milk, meat, and bread grain in Switzerland. It aims to show how the way in which agricultural produce is processed or marketed can contribute to a more sustainable agriculture.

Stephanie Moser

“We would have liked to see more courage from the Swiss government to make comprehensive changes”

How does Switzerland wish to achieve the goals of the UN 2030 Agenda? The government submitted a corresponding strategy for consultation. CDE looked closely at the document and commented on the draft. “We should take the opportunity now to create institutions and procedures that will also support sustainability beyond 2030,” says CDE researcher Stephanie Moser. Read more in German.

Agroecology in Southeast Asia

Agroecology and safe food system transitions in Southeast Asia

The new project “Agroecology and safe food system transitions in Southeast Asia (ASSET)” seeks to transform food and agricultural systems in Southeast Asia into more sustainable, safer, and inclusive systems by harnessing the potential of agroecology.

Oil mills in Indonesia

"Hungry mills" and their role in Indonesia’s palm oil industry

In Indonesia, about one quarter of deforestation is directly attributable to oil palms. The extent to which the oil mills drive forest loss and the role they could play in achieving more sustainable production are the subject of a recent master’s thesis at CDE and the Institute of Geography of the University of Bern.

Elisabeth Bürgi-Bonanomi

“Sustainability doesn’t come free”

The EFTA trade agreement with Indonesia is controversial due to the issue of palm oil – but it also bears something new: it is the first trade agreement with Switzerland that makes tariff reductions for imports contingent on compliance with principles of sustainability. Trade law expert at CDE, Elisabeth Bürgi Bonanomi, explains the pros and cons.

“The tricks of the plantation industry bring to mind the Wild West”

When Switzerland votes on the trade agreement with Indonesia on 7 March, the issue will be palm oil. In the run-up, there has been little debate about Indonesia’s interests and who profits from the palm oil industry there. Heinzpeter Znoj, social anthropologist at the University of Bern and President of the CDE Board, says: “The latest developments in Indonesia’s palm oil industry directly contradict the goals of the trade agreement.”

palm oil

Make value chains more sustainable – but how? The case of palm oil

The production of important agricultural commodities often clashes with concerns for sustainable development. One critical case is that of palm oil. “Can, should, or must we do without palm oil?” Read on for answers to ten frequently asked questions as well as some possible ways of approaching oilseed commodities.

irrigation system

Traditional irrigation: cultural heritage with a future?

Over centuries, people living in the dry valleys of the Valais built up an extensive irrigation system to ensure water supply. Today, traditional irrigation continues to be a characteristic feature of the region’s valuable cultural landscape. But what future is there for this heritage?