Solving a forest belt problem in Ukraine – a Role Play @CIPSEM

The “Role Play” plays a significant role in problem-solving activities. Its concept follows the “power-free dialogue.” The German sociologist Jürgen Habermas designed this concept. The EM41 CIPSEM participants used this technique (29/05/2018) to find the solution to the following problem:

A forest belt system was planted in the former USSR to combat erosion, droughts and increasing yields. Depending on the planted species, it could increase yields by 20-100 . After the collapse of the USSR the department responsible for forest belt management was terminated. The follow-up legislation was not created accurately in Ukraine. Communities in cooperation with an NGO who have registered a forest strip cutting outside the settlement have applied to the local government body. In the public cadastral map, there is no cadastral number for the forest belt, therefore it is not possible to legally install an owner. On the other hand the State Administration stated, that their powers do not apply to agricultural forest bands. The State Geo Cadaster declared that these bands were transferred to the collective ownership of the collective farms, and therefore belong to the successor who did not correctly draw up his right, so they are subject to transfer to the Rural Council as a “waste of property”.

The following stakeholder groups were represented in the role play:

  • Ministry of Agriculture and Land Use
  • Ministry of Environment
  • Regional Government and land use planning
  • Council of villagers, composed of small-scale farmers
  • EcoLtava (regional NGO, doing consultancy services)
  • Large-scale agro-holdings
  • Timber and fuel producer

The fellows had an excellent discussion about the forest belt, land use change, legislation, environmental management, stakeholder collaboration and made their recommendations and solutions for the forest belt issue in Ukraine.

by Mkhitar Avetisyan (Republic of Armenia)

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Alumni portraits – Mr Ganga Datta Nepal

Recently, 2012 alumnus Ganga Datta Nepal visited the CIPSEM team during a research stay in Germany and shared his story.

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Alumnus Ganga Datta Nepal (right) during a visit to CIPSEM in June 2018

Ganga Datta Nepal is working with Government of Nepal on issues related to Water Supply Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) and can draw on more than 20 years of experience in the WASH sector with donors, I/NGOs including bilateral and multilateral programs. The donor-supported project focuses on water quality and includes aspects such as
– water safety plans,
– climate resilient water safety plans and climate-resilient WASH,
– as well as total sanitation.

As a team member, Mr Ganga Datta Nepal was involved in the formulation of a national level guideline, a handbook and training materials. He is active to develop the capacity of operators, engineers and managers and also to support the implementation of water safety plans in rural, peri-urban and small towns of Nepal to ensure water quality and hygienic sanitation.

He summarises his experience:
“I attended the short course in September 2012 on “Integrated water resource management and climate change adaptation” with CIPSEM. It has given me the way up to start different options to implement climate change perspective in Nepal. We have now climate resilient water safety plan and climate resilient WASH intervention. Also, I will soon complete my PhD research on WASH and climate change. I must say, the training played an important role in starting the climate change business in both my professional career and ongoing PhD, too.

During the course, we were 22 persons from 22 different countries of the world. Most of us are still in contact using social media like Facebook and LinkedIn. We also have a sharing mechanism country perspective. I can say our relationship built by CIPSEM is excellent for connection as well as expertise for sharing. Personally, I did Masters Degree under the DAAD fellowship and learnt the German language till DSH. It also made it easier to make connection around Germany to share our problems and to get to some kinds of solution. ”

Mr Ganga Datta Nepal is now doing a small research on wastewater treatment at the level of communities, which can hopefully be replicated later.

He wrote “For me, the CIPSEM course was important as I could use the knowledge in capacity development from a different perspective. It is helpful that problems around the world are similar, so we have to find the solution to every problem based on our perspectives. Personally, as I am a WASH expert, I have challenges on sustainability aspects of constructed water supply projects, maintaining and ensuring the water quality and different solutions for the sanitation, i.e. sustainable sanitation, waste water treatment etc. It is always essential to have capacity development from CIPSEM, and it is good to know who did what course in CIPSEM and how much the training content has been used taking into account the country perspective. ”

Mr Ganga Datta Nepal suggested CIPSEM could recruit the help of alumni experts for the selection of training participants who can implement their new insights, taking local conditions into account. We appreciate this suggestion and always appreciate when CIPSEM alumni recommend qualified colleagues.

Nature calls EM-41 !!! Arrival on Isle of Vilm

Within the module of Conservation and Restoration Ecology, the flagship excursion of CIPSEM EM-41 to the International Academy for Nature Conservation (INA) at the Insel Vilm started on May 13, 2018. The moment CIPSEM fellows stepped onto the island, the joyous faces were apparent and the excitement was at its zenith.

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Ms. Kathrin Bockmühl, Scientific Officer at the INA, welcomed the fellows, provided an overview of INA’s work in nature protection at the national and international level since 1990, and briefed on sessions planned on biodiversity conservation and governance for the cohort. It started with an introductory talk by Ms. Gisela Stolpe and Dr. Horst Korn on biodiversity conservation and ecosystems services, and the UN-Convention on Biodiversity (CBD). With an objective of giving hands-on experience of CBD conferences, a simulation exercise on decision-making was conducted. The fellows represented CBD State Parties including regional unions, small island countries and NGOs, and deliberated on drafting decisions regarding the use of biofuel. Also, a session on Access and Benefit Sharing (ABS), with an Ethiopian case study provided important insights into the importance of sharing the benefits arising from the utilization of genetic resources. The exercise provided interesting impressions on importance and challenges of global treaties concerning biodiversity conservation.

The afternoon of the second day started with the theme of marine nature conservation and a role-playing game called Fish Banks Ltd. was simulated. The aim was to realize the challenges of managing resources sustainably in a common pool resource setting. Dr. Chrtistian Pusch talked about the importance and challenges in fisheries and marine national parks management in today’s global scenario with case studies on German exclusive economic zones.

As expected, we could not leave the island without a guided walking tour on local biodiversity including the famous last remnants of beech forest in Germany, untouched for about 500 years. With a cloudy sky and pleasant temperature (with mosquitoe clouds as well unfortunately), we walked through the circular trail learning about the beech forest and ecology of several associated species. Thanks to our excellent facilitators Ms. Kathrin Bockmühl, Dr. Katharina Stein and Dr. André Lindner.

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The fellows also visited the UNESCO Biosphere Reserve Southeast-Rügen to learn about the ongoing conservation programs in the biosphere reserve. Later, we arrived at Jasmund National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site inhabited by beech forest. All the fellows were delighted with the beautiful views of Baltic Sea and had the pleasure to see the largest chalk cliffs in Germany called the Königsstuhl or King’s chair.

Words are missing to describe the extraordinary week we had. Special thanks to Ms. Kathrin Bockmühl who opened the doors of this beautiful place for the CIPSEM EM-41 fellows. The excursion at the Insel Vilm was a unique experience, which we will remember for its extraordinary landscapes, beech forest and the knowledge acquired to manage ecosystems and biodiversity. The experience will be engraved forever in the memory of all the fellows.

by Mariela Yapu Alcazar (Bolivia) and Dhruv Verma (India)

CIPSEM alumnus appointed as Minister of Nature Protection

Upon the proposal of the Prime Minister, under Article 150 of the Constitution of the Republic of Armenia, Mr. Erik Grigoryan was appointed as the Minister of Nature Protection on May 12th, 2018. Congratulations!

Mr. Erik Grigoryan was participant of the 30th UNEP/UNESCO/BMU International Postgraduate Course on Environmental Management in 2007 and finished the course with a final paper on “Development of Economical Mechanisms for Environmental Management in Armenia and Experience and Practice of Germany”

My story …

by Yuniey Quiala Armenteros, PhD, Cuba (participant of the 67th International Short Course on Resource Efficiency – Cleaner Production and Waste Management)

My name is Yuniey Quiala Armenteros, I am 36 years old, I am Cuban and I work in the Ministry of Science, Technology and Environment of Cuba (CITMA), specifically in the Territorial Delegation of the CITMA in Villa Clara, as Principal Specialist of the Environmental Impact Evaluation Team. I am an industrial engineer graduated in 2005, trained at the Central University of Las Villas in Villa Clara Cuba. I always showed interest in professional improvement, as the only way to contribute more to society with concrete and effective solutions to problems. In 2008 I graduated as Master of Science and Innovation Management and in 2012 I started a curricular doctorate in environmental sciences as a result of the collaboration of the Polytechnic University of Valencia of Spain and the Technological University of Havana José Antonio Echeverría. As part of my doctoral training I had to publish several articles in peer-reviewed scientific journals as well as participating in significant international events, and in 2013 I was in Malaysia in a course on clean production and efficient use of resources under the SIRIM institution.

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Dr. Yuniey Quiala Armenteros during his time in Dresden on excursion with the SC67 course

In 2015 I was at CIPSEM at Technische Universität Dresden, participating in the “67th International Short Course on Resource Efficiency – Cleaner Production and Waste Management” (SC67) from November 9 to December 11. I had some references of what it means to study in Germany, great engineers of my country were trained in former eastern Germany in the 1970s and 80s. During my stay at CIPSEM, I was surprised above all, how easy teachers explain complex topics, teachers turned difficult into easy, they are wonderful. On the other hand, the practical examples of good environmental performance (landfills, solid and hazardous waste management, liquid waste treatment, wastewater reuse) taught me that it does not require so much capital to achieve
sustainable and sustainable development , it is only about wanting to change the mind of the decision makers. I never thought that the certificate obtained at the end of the course, constituted an endorsement of great relevance for my further career. In short, the contribution of CIPSEM was extraordinary. All the doors opened to me after CIPSEM!

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The complete SC67 course during an excursion on November 2015.

So here is my message for you, whoever you are, please apply to CIPSEM, do not waste your time. I just defended my doctoral thesis on December 21, 2017. Today I am a Doctor of Technical Sciences and I owe it in large part to CIPSEM, please APPLY NOW.

Excursion to the Saxon Dam Authority and Ecological Research Station Neunzenhain

Authors: Ahimbisibwe Alfred (Uganda) and Clement G Tweh (Liberia)

“Water is Life”

You wake up in the morning some minutes late and you decide to rush through your preparation to be in time for the office. You rush to the bathroom, open the tap and lo… there is no water flowing. Your mind switches to panic mode. Can you go to the office without taking a bath? Or even without brushing your teeth?

This is a disastrous situation that the Saxon Dams Authority strives to avert by ensuring that there is always sufficient supply of high quality drinking water available to households and industry at any time all year round. Participants in the 41st Postgraduate Course of Environment Management for Developing and Emerging countries held an excursion to the Saxon Dams Authority’s drinking water reservoirs in Neunzenhain on 3rd and 4th May 2018 to learn about drinking water supply.

Two staff members of the Saxon Dam’s Authority and Dr. Lothar Paul of the Ecological Station Neunzenhain conducted the excursion. The Saxon Dams Authority manages fresh water resources in the Free State of Saxony of which dams make up 20%, the rest being rivers. They are in charge of 153 reservoirs, 23 of which are for drinking water and the rest for flood control. They also supply drinking water to 40% of Saxony’s population with storage capacity of 100 million m3 of water.

Participants were informed that the Saxon dams Authority supplies drinking water to six regional contractors who distribute water in the various cities in the state. In order to balance demand and supply, some dams are interconnected through tunnel systems or open channels and that the water quality has significantly improved due to strict requirements for purification of flue gas from coal power stations and industries that were previously responsible for acid rain.

Talsperre Neunzenhain II

Neunzenhain dams were constructed to provide drinking water for the city of Chemnitz, which was growing rapidly due to industrialization in the 19th Century. The first dam was built between 1891 and 1893 while Neunzenhain II was built between 1911 and 1914 using natural stones from the region. It is gravity dam whose weight of stones holds back the water. To avoid siltation in this dam, two pre-dams built upstream reduce the sediment load of incoming water. Secondly, 25 km² of the dam’s catchment area is forested giving it the best quality of water. The rivers flowing these forests also carry little sediments. However, every 10 years the Dams Authority does a general de-silting operation to maintain the capacity of the dam.

The Neunzenhain II dam was extensively repaired between 1996 and 2000 making it more robust with more monitoring devices to ensure its life is extended. During these works, a new concrete was built behind the stone wall and a monitoring tunnel also constructed. Important parameters monitored include

  1. Pressure: Due to high pressure in the water column, water tends to escape below the wall. To mitigate this, ground water below the dam wall is sucked out and drained away.
  2. Dam displacement: Due to alternating seasons, there is dam displacement especially in summer due to temperature difference on both sides of the dam. A maximum displacement measured is 8mm.

Water can be drawn from five different layers in the reservoir and such thermo-stratification allows for continuous supply of clear water even if silted water enters the dam by drawing water from lower layers, which actually remain clear.

Ecological Research Station Neunzenhain

Participants visited the Ecological Research Station in Neunzehain which was established in 1959 focus on research on drinking water reservoirs. This was after a realization that activities in the surrounding areas of the dams affect the quality of water. It was founded as a hydro-biological field station and they have collected a lot of ecological data on reservoirs.

Dr. Lothar Paul and Ms. Henrike Beesk presented research that is going on at the station on Cyano bacteria in the drinking water reservoirs and other micro organism such as phytoplankton, zooplankton and fish. Cyanobacteria produce toxins which can cause sickness and death in severe circumstances. The team also presented ecological interventions used to maintain the quality of water such as bio-manipulation and sanitization of the catchment. Bio-manipulation involves stocking of predator fishes in the reservoirs such as pike and trout to hunt the smaller fishes thus favouring growth of zooplankton which in turn reduce the phytoplankton that degrade water quality.

Emerging Issues

  1. Per capita water demand in Saxony has reduced from 200 m3 to 85 m3 and this is attributed to increased efficiency in use and change in industry to less water intensive industry
  2. To increase forest resilience, broad leaf tree species have been introduced to the previous coniferous monoculture and this diversity improves forest productivity and resilience.

Excursion to Control Center of Public Transport in Dresden

(By Sandar Myint, Myanmar)

On 24th April of 2018, we visited the Dresdner Verkehrsbetriebe AG (DVB) (Dresdner Transport Services). The EM41 participants guided by Ms. Angela Francke from the TU Dresden Institute of Transport Planning and Road Traffic, went together to the DVB Control Center of Public Transport.

After arrival, we were warmly welcomed by Mr. Winfried Oelmann. Before the lectures and discussions, the EM41 participants asked him curiously what they want to know and what they want to include as a part on DVB Public Transport such as air ventilation inside the Tram, and an E-ticket system. He answered all questions thoroughly and started his presentation about the institutional organization and strength of DVB. In General Figures of his presentation, there are seven types of vehicles which are “Low Floor Trams, Older Tatra Trams, Diesel Buses, Hybrid Buses, Battery Buses, Ferry Boats and Freight Tram”. About 160 million of passengers travelled in the year and DVB was one of Dresden’s key employers with 1,851 employees and 97 trainees.

The main responsibility of DVB is to operate the local public transportation in Dresden, the capital of Saxony and also responsible for planning, marketing, driving, traffic and product planning, communication, investing, sales, maintaining and training. Every year DVB had already surveyed the satisfactory status on DVB services and transportation types. According to 2017 DVB survey, it accounts for over 47 % of very satisfied status, 33.5% of satisfied status, 0.4% of unsatisfied status and others on DVB services and also 12% -on foot, 27% – bikes, 39% -cars and  22% -public transport on transportation types.

The ticket price in Dresden is low on behalf of the environment, people, and the livable cities. Furthermore there are several discounts; children under 14 years and handicapped people ride for free; 75% are to pay by pupils and apprentices, 80% discounts for students and also 50% of the monthly ticket prices and 75% of 4-trip tickets to pay by poor people.

The ticket revenues cannot cover the costs of public transportation in Dresden/Germany and DVB has an annual gap of Euro 40 million. In this case, ENSO and DREWAG, which are responsible for energy, network, supply of power, gas, water, grid operator got always profits and filled the gap of DVB as a consolidation of companies in the case of public transportation funding of Germany. Also Mr. Oelmann compared the pros and cons between the use of private cars and public transports in rush hours with regard to facts of carbon emission, costs and time.

After that, another lecture is given by Mr. Andre′ Schiller, who is an IT coordinator to perform both technical and administrative tasks to ensure functionality and efficiency of computer and telecom systems in DVB, on the topics of Information and control system of DVB. We knew that the operator systems need the online different units which are not as easy as using smart phones. Every night DVB transformed the scheduled data to passengers via online systems to know the real time for all routes.

After that, we moved to the main control room for Information Center of DVB in which there are 22 employees who were working with the assigned tasks. According to the explanation by Mr. Schiller and Ms. Francke, we knew that one was mainly responsible for social media and the other ones were responsible to control the computer and telecom systems of all DVB transport operations with 3 shifts in 24 hours. The operating trams in the tram lines could be seen by the specified colors such as yellow and green within the computer systems. To operate the tram lines, it needs much energy.

After that, we went outside from DVB Center and moved to place for the tram stops in order to know the structures and tasks of the trams next to the DVB building. Tram routes were arranged by the respective tram lines in that place. In this case, Mr. Schiller explained well the structures of trams and the tasks which operated daily. On the body of the tram, there was the trade mark which describes the produced year and the company to know where the tram was build up. Also, the structures of the tram include the special features for the handicapped people.

In this interesting excursion to Control Center of Public Transportation in Dresden, we had fun with this excursion and then we came back to CIPSEM Center. I would like to thank CIPSEM Teams and all facilitators for their warm reception and supports and for every schedules and arrangements of knowledgeable lectures and interesting excursions on behalf of our [EM41] participants.