In our “Spotlight”, you can read articles and updates on

  • CDE research
  • project implementation
  • science/policy issues in the area of sustainable development and the environment


“We have to approach biodiversity conservation holistically”

To save our planet's biodiversity and ecosystems, a key initiative seeks to place half the earth under protection. Researchers from CDE and the University of Cambridge have taken a first-ever empirical look at who might be affected.


Research partnership between Switzerland and Ethiopia brings knowledge to the field

The results of a long-term Swiss–Ethiopian research partnership in the Upper Blue Nile basin show how water and land can be used sustainably even in a context of rapid population growth.


“Economic growth alone does not automatically benefit the poorest people”

In early May, the Swiss Federal Council presented the new development policy strategy proposed for consultation. Now CDE is weighing in with its own response. An interview with Sabin Bieri Member of CDE's Executive Committee.


“The least developed countries remain de facto excluded from tax information exchange”

A research project is investigating ways of curbing illicit financial flows from developing countries. Transparency and exchange of information in tax matters are possible levers to improve the situation. CDE scientist Irene Musselli outlines the latest findings.


Science at the crossroads of data production and political engagement

CDE researcher Julie Zähringer has won the Prix Schläfli 2019 in Geosciences for her dissertation. Drawing on satellite images and around 1,200 interviews, she analysed changes in land use around protected areas in Madagascar.


“We must combine conservation of nature with benefits to society”

On 6 May 2019, IPBES presented its report on the state of biodiversity and ecosystem services worldwide. An interview with Andreas Heinimann from CDE about biodiversity and ecosystem loss.


The fight against invasive alien species in Eastern Africa has only just begun

CDE researchers are working with scientists from local and international institutions to investigate the spread of Prosopis juliflora and other invasive alien species in Eastern Africa, their impacts on local livelihoods, and how they might be managed.


“Land systems are the loci for sustainability transformations”

Ariane de Bremond, CDE researcher and executive officer of the GLP International Programme Office, discussed the role of the 4th Open Science Meeting in Bern.


“Inequality also harms the environment”

CDE researcher Graziano Ceddia shows that inequality in Latin America promotes deforestation.


“Mountain communities must be able to pursue their well-being”

#MountainsMatter is the theme for this year’s International Mountain Day. CDE researcher Susanne Wymann von Dach explains – and highlights opportunities for mountain regions.


Elisabeth Bürgi Bonanomi

“It’s time to make trade agreements sustainable”

Elisabeth Bürgi Bonanomi, expert in sustainable trade relations at CDE, on the question: How can and should states promote trade relations that support sustainable development of agriculture and the food industry?


Consume different

Share, exchange, repair: Offers and initiatives aimed at sustainable consumption are booming. CDE researchers studied the most promising initiatives aimed at attracting people to sufficient living – and how the public sector can help.


empty bottles of pesticides

Researchers in Bolivia recommend reining in pesticides

In CDE’s project “Towards Food Sustainability”, scientists investigated the relationship between soya production and pesticide use in Bolivia. Their findings have led them to recommend urgent action to the Bolivian Ministry of Agriculture.


“The term climate change is a sedative”

How does language shape our perception of landscapes and nature? In an interview, project leader Hugo Caviola discusses language, its role in sustainable development, and the results of CDE’s research on this question.


“Political polarization won’t help us progress on the 2030 Agenda”

CDE Director Peter Messerli on Switzerland’s Country Report 2018 on progress towards the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, on missed opportunities – but also on positive developments in sustainability issues in Switzerland.


Climate change and land grabbing: The example of the Mekong region

A CDE research project in the Mekong region shows how land grabbing and deforestation are linked, and why this matters for global efforts to address climate change.