Centre for Development and Environment (CDE)

CDE series

Spotlight archive 2020


“Crops from mountain regions are crucial to our food systems”

Theresa Tribaldos, CDE researcher and member of the UNESCO Chair team, discusses the significance of International Mountain Day and why lessons from the Netherlands could be valuable for mountain regions.


Intergenerational tandems for a better academic culture

How can we ensure the transfer of knowledge between generations? Scientists at CDE have tested a system in which young researchers and experienced scientists learn from each other in tandem. They have now been awarded the “Prix Lux”.


“We need a legal system for the 21st century”

Companies based in Switzerland should ensure that their activities abroad respect human rights and comply with environmental standards: that is the view put forth by an Initiative. Elisabeth Bürgi, law expert, offers a legal perspective.


Global interests collide in Madagascar

Nearby the conservation areas of Masoala and Makira, CDE researchers have shown how strongly the global competition over land and resources impacts local development. For it to be sustainable, the various international actors must work together.


“Outside pressure is forcing universities in the direction of sustainability”

The Higher Education Summit 2020 will take place from 31.8. - 2.9. Anne Zimmermann, CDE researcher and President of summit co-organizer the COPERNICUS Alliance, discusses the role of universities in sustainable development.


“We need fundamentally different economic forms”

In Switzerland, constant economic growth fuels more consumption and CO2 emissions. But instead of consuming more, we could reduce working hours – resulting in a triple gain: better quality of life, fairer societies, and reduced CO2 emissions.


“It was time for me to say: Let’s have another go at it!”

For ten years, Peter Messerli was one of CDE's directors. Now, he will lead the Wyss Academy. He discusses what has changed and what he is looking forward to. In addition, CDE’s management offers a glimpse of where the journey is headed next.


“Sustainable development needs local knowledge and global learning”

There is lots of scientific evidence on what is going wrong in the world. But there is not enough research on how to fix it. Christoph Oberlack describes new ways in which sustainability research can transform policy and practice.


Making land deals more sustainable: The example of Laos

The strategy for development of Laos has included making money from land. But what is the quality of these investments? Mandated by the Lao government, CDE scientists have developed an index that assesses the quality of land deals.


Sustainable events: On the way to zero waste?

More and more organizers of major events are taking measures to reduce waste. Still, many events leave tonnes of waste. Are sustainable events more of an illusion than a vision? A conference took a look at the sustainability of major events.


When the meanings of a place collide

Land is often subject to widely diverging ideas as to its current or future significance. A CDE-led study on a nature reserve in Oregon demonstrates how land use, power, and place claims interact and shape socio-ecological developments.