Cycling and Picnic along the Elbe River

a “Schönes Wochenende” recommendation …

Did you know that the first bicycle was conceptualized in Germany?

image6

A German baron named Karl von Drais, a civil servant to the Grand Duke of Baden in Germany, made the first major development when he created a steerable, two-wheeled contraption in 1817 and patented this design in 1818. Known by many names, including the “velocipede,” “hobby-horse,” “draisine” and “running machine (German: Laufmaschine)”, it is this early edition that has made Drais widely acknowledged as the father of the bicycle.

And did you know that cycling about 12 mph (19 kph) means a 150-pound (68 kg) rider may burn more than 540 calories in an hour? Cycling is one of the best ways to burn hundred of calories during a workout.

Inspired already? FYI, CIPSEM has nine (9) bicycles available for the participants. Roman is the man to approach for the bicycle units.

Ready to take advantage of the bikes? Bicycling is enjoyable when you share the experience, the view, (and the snacks) with like-minded fellows. So look for those cool and willing-to-be-fit people, grab the bikes and head to the Elbe river as first destination. There are many reasons why Elbe river is an excellent biking place. The best view while having picnic is in Loschwitz because it is far from the usual picnic places and it feels like you own the universe there. Prof. Schanze also recommended the place, so it is worth checking out.

There are also various routes, both short ways and far-reaching, in going to that other side of the river. But the best one is to cross the Palais Grosser Garten from CIPSEM heading down to Kaethe-Kollwitz-Ufer, pass the Flea Market at the Albert Bridge, and cross the Elbe via Carola Bridge.

Good luck and Schönes Wochenende!

PS: don’t miss the Sunset at Carola Bridge and the dusky view of the Terrassenufer.

by Mr. Jun Piong (Philippines)

image5
the author
Advertisements

Singing Strain for the Saxon Switzerland

Wir tanzen labada labada labada (2x) – Durch den ganzen Wald. Hey!

This is a flintstone song according to Mr. Armin Zenker, the jolly forest ranger who served as guide to the CIPSEM EM-42 participants during the hiking tour at the Saxon-Bohemian Switzerland National Park, on 7 May 2019. The participants may forget the name of Armin but not the action song that had everyone clinched to each other’s arms as they dance and sing in circle.

The journey started with the participants taking off from CIPSEM at 8:00 in the morning via a chartered bus with the outside weather recorded at 4 degrees. After an hour, the group reached the National Park Information Center in Bad Schandau and made a stopover for a short briefing and lecture about the preservation and conservation activities being undertaken in the national park by the Saxonian Foundation for Nature and Environment. The center was bustling, with kids having fun playing with interactive facilities showcasing the flora and fauna around the park. This is a proof that the foundation, an independent agency tasked for the park‘s nature conservation and environmental protection, is serious in its environmental education by targeting the school children and youths as heirs of the future. (We will avoid spoilers as much as possible in this blog for the future Environmental Management Course participants to experience on their own, but one must not miss the lynx at the exhibit.)

Owing to its international geographical boundaries, the foundation itself has an interesting structure. With the park lying in both sides of the border between Saxony, Germany and the Czech Republic, the conservation and protection strategies are also shared by both the governments through the foundation. Saxon Switzerland is also known as Bohemian Switzerland or Saxon-Bohemian Switzerland. That is why both countries are represented in the operation of the Saxonian Foundation for Nature and Environment.

Fast forward to the hike, the group entered the park through the crossing point at Sebnitz. At the beginning of the journey, everything was fine walking along the familiar rough road that seemed leading up to the gorges. Until Armin gestured the group to segway in a rustic pathway that criss-crosses the naturally-fallen pine and beech trees caused by strong winds in the past weeks. That was where the struggles began. But the adventure just hyped up because of the not-so-difficult obstacles. In the middle of the journey, the group stopped for lunch. Armin offered a delicious loaf of bread and butter. Ingenious as he is, Armin instructed everyone to unveil twenty pieces of young beech leaves that the participants gathered early on in the journey because it will be used to make a healthy sandwich. Alas! The young beech leaves are edible! Not only that, the young tip of the pine tree leaves are edible, and delicious too.

image1

After lunch and after making sure that everyone recovered from a slight exhaustion, the group then moved up. Armin showed to the group the popular yet unusual hike destinations such as the „Cathedral“. (This is one of the perks with CIPSEM organizing the hike with a special guide.) And then the never ending poses and picture taking. Up in the gorges, one will not miss being reminded of the familiar scenery from the Lion King movie showing the Pride Rock. The feeling was also the same: pride of conquering the journey and the amazing view.

At the end of the hike, everyone was so thankful for the opportunity of sharing the moment together that they gave their last ounce of energy for another action song in spite the tiresome walk. And so everyone sang and danced again to the tune of:

Für die Erde singen wir, Steine, Pflanzen, Mensch und Tier (2x) – Tiki taka tikata tikata tikata!

image3

by Mr. Jun Piong (Philippines) and Mr. Marcio Alvarenga (Brazil), EM-42

“Appetizing and tempting, colourless, clear, cold, odourless, and perfectly fresh with regard to taste,” – Germany Drinking water quality standard, an expedition to the Ecological Station Neunzehnhain and Reservoir Management

By Joseph Kyalo Makau – EM42 Participant from Kenya

‘Is it safe? Can I drink the tap water? Is it treated? Have you ever been reluctant to drink tap water anywhere, be it in your home or a place of visit? Yes, of course, it is common that many people express doubts on the safety of drinking tap water. This is mainly because of the health and environmental risks associated with unsafe drinking water. Well, in Germany the safety standards of drinking water are very stringent and because of this, tap water is one of the safest and most controlled beverage/food products in Germany. As per the DIN 2000 Central drinking water supply guidelines, drinking water in Germany has to be appetising and tempting, colourless, clear, cold, odourless, with a perfectly fresh taste. But how possible is it to meet all these quality criteria? It is not so simple, especially when water quality is highly influenced by exogenous and mediating factors like drainage basin land use/ cover, soil factors, climate, physical and chemical properties and processes, biotic factors and their ecological interactions. In pursuit of understanding this intricate yet very vital issue of water supply management and monitoring the EM42 course participants embarked on a 2 days expedition to Neunzehnhain Ecological Station.
Thursday the 25th day of April 2019, time 10:30 AM, a bright sunny day in the colourful springtime, in front of the CIPSEM conference room, Dr Anna Görner, the managing course director, checks out on team’s readiness for the exciting adventure in the Ore Mountains. Packed lunch, check, warm clothing, check, mobile tour guide system, check. ‘I wish you an exciting excursion ahead, please note that there is limited network connectivity on the mountains and you need to make all your important communications before you leave Dresden,’ the Director advised as she saw us off to the bus. How can we survive without phone connectivity, there is no WIFI at all! The participants agonised. Nevertheless, the matter of phone signal never dampened the excitement of the team to explore the sites and scenes of Germany outside the conference rooms. Hop on the bus, bye Dresden and off we went.
With all energy and team cohesion up high in the bus, I couldn’t fail to appreciate how excursions brought out the beauty of diversity when over twenty nationalities with diverse backgrounds are converged by a common goal of achieving a sustainable environment for all in the present and future generations. We all cheered up through the 80 km journey south-west of Dresden as the bus’s incredible horsepower cruised us up the hilly terrain from the lowlands of Dresden at 140m above the sea level to the cold, forested mountainous range of Pockau-Lengefeld at over 420m. It was breathtaking to see large scale well-manicured yellow blooming rapeseed contour farms and green meadows punctuated by stripes of mono-culture beech and coniferous plantations grace the landscape with the bright blue sky horizons intercepted by the high rise rotating wind turbine rotors.


At the Neunzehnhain Ecological Station we were warmly welcomed by Dr Paul Lothar who gave us a brief on the establishment and goals of the ecological station. Back in 1959, the Zoological Institute of the University of Leipzig established the station as a Hydrobiological Laboratory that was later in 1968 transferred to the Department of Hydrobiology at the TU Dresden as a field office. Since 1991 the station has been an operating as an independent unit of the Faculty of Environmental Sciences of the TU Dresden, closely collaborating with the Institute of Hydrobiology and the Department of Hydrosciences. Due to the important role the ecological station plays in the management of water supply in Saxony, the working group limnology of dams of Saxon Academy of Sciences Leipzig has been housed in here since 1976. With over 4 decades of experience at the station since 1975, Dr Paul underscored the importance of long-term ecological monitoring of water quality as a function of the structure and land-use of the catchment area, internal mass transport and transformation processes mediated by sunlight, temperature and biological manipulation for sustainable management of low mountain streams and dams.
In the two days excursion, we visited the 3 million m3 Dam Neunzehnhain II under a guided tour by the Dam Authority of Free State of Saxony and also the 22.4 million m3 Saidenbach dam. These two dams are part of the 3 dam system that was built at the end of the 19th century to supply industrial and drinking water to the city of Chemnitz. It was fascinating to walk through the 30m deep inspection tunnel under the Neunzehnhain II mega architectural dam wall that has state of the art technology installed for monitoring the dam wall stability, earthquakes and tremors. This monitoring is so important because high water volume curved gravity dams like the Neunzehnhain II and Saidenbach reservoirs have inherent risks of breaking due to water pressure exerted on the walls. It was because of this risk that the Neunzehnhain II dam built in 1911-1914 was rehabilitated to have an additional concrete reinforcement layer and waterside sealing wall in 1996 to 2000. Dam siltation is another challenge for water reservoirs management that, if not well controlled, impairs water quality, reduces dam capacity – besides the high cost of desiltation and maintenance. To mitigate this, the two dams have check dams/pre-dams at the drainage channels that act as silt traps through sedimentation. However, siltation remains a major challenge for reservoirs whose drainage area has land uses that increase soil erosion such as agriculture in the case of Saidenbach reservoir.

The waters at the Neunzehnhain II appeared brownish in colour attributable to the dissolved organic compounds from the surrounding protected forest drainage basin. On the other hand, the Saidenbach water appeared green due to the presence of phytoplankton like the green algae, an indicator of nutrients overload from the 70% agriculture land use in the catchment. Comparison of these two reservoirs was a classic example of how catchment land use affects water quality and hence the need to protect the catchment as a pollution control measure.

At the Saidenbach dam, the participants were introduced to water monitoring technologies by Dr Paul. One of the key technologies we experienced was the use of BBE FluoroProbe for monitoring biological and biophysical parameters like quantities of phytoplankton (diatoms, blue and green algae), water depth and temperatures. Monitoring these parameters is critical because they are direct and indirect indicators of the state of the bio-physico-chemical characteristics of the water reservoir such as water thermo-stratification, mixing, nutrients flow, PH, dissolved oxygen and others.


As I pen off this post, I would like to acknowledge Dr Paul’s charisma on sharing with us so much knowledge and experience on the interface of quality water supply with reservoir management, catchment protection and technologies of water monitoring in the context of a changing environment, climate and water demands. Much thanks to the Dam Authority of Free State of Saxony, Tamara Karp of the CIPSEM for being an inspirational team leader during the expedition. Special thanks to each and every EM42 participant for making the excursion so lively that nobody remembered to worry about the phone signals. Did I almost forget about the mouthwatering dinner and lunch that CIPSEM was so kind to invite us, in particular, the dinner and after dinner fun-moments at the quaint, chateau-style Villa Wilisch hotel, an oasis of tranquillity in the secluded forest enclaves of Amtsberg municipality.

Photos by Joseph Makau (Kenya), Haili Zhou (China) and Hasmik Barseghyan (Armenia)

Is measuring sustainability in tourism possible?

This is the key question that the participants of the Conference on “Measuring Sustainability in Tourism: Opportunities and Limitations” on 2-3 April 2019 in Berlin, Germany tried to answer by delving on the possible criteria, scales, and indicators leading to the quantification of tourism’s sustainability. And the result was for me surprising.

image1.jpeg

Tourism stakeholders across Europe, ranging from tour operators to country tourism representatives, exchanged experiences and researches on assuring sustainability in tourism destinations. Sustainable development experts and tourism practitioners were also invited to speak on topics such as International Examples of Data Collection to Data Usage, Scales of Sustainability Data Collection, Usage of Indices for Destination Management and Certification Processes, and others. To my surprise, as perhaps the only Asian participant in the crowd with high expectation from his European counterparts, everyone in the conference realised that it is rather not easy to measure sustainability in tourism. Dr Anselm Mattes of the economics consultancy firm DIW ECON based in Berlin, Germany explicitly admitted that no country is far ahead from the others when it comes to quantifying sustainability in tourism. This is because the direction is not clear and no convincing approaches had been done so far. The challenges in data collection, management, and storage also add up to the complexities.

image2

One would assume (perhaps the same as I did) that because Europeans are in some ways advanced when it comes to development and planning, they are also ahead in diagnosing problems and providing solutions. This is not true in the case of measuring tourism sustainability, as the conference has revealed. Rather than being disappointed for not taking away concrete measurement strategies, I was glad that the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety and the German Environment Agency together with the United Nations World Tourism Organization have this kind of platform where stakeholders from the European community discuss how to make tourism and its activities sustainable. Because if we want to achieve a goal, something has to start somewhere. And the conference is an excellent building block.

image3

Participating in the conference was a once in a lifetime opportunity to learn the European perspective of sustainable tourism. The tools I learned and will share with our tourism partners in the southern island region of Mindanao in the Philippines are already a handful. Thanks to CIPSEM for facilitating my participation in this conference while my EM42 course colleagues explored other fields of environmental management in Berlin. And thanks to Büro für Tourismus- und Erholungsplanung for the administrative assistance.

image4.jpeg

 

Author: Ireneo S. Piong, Jr. (Mindanao Development Authority – Area Management Office for Northeastern Mindanao, Philippines, EM42 participant)

Photos: BTE (Büro für Tourismus- und Erholungsplanung)

The complexity around resource use rights: A moderated role-play on co-management of Natma Taung National Park, Myanmar

 

Ministry of Environment: “The community will not be allowed to cultivate on this land as they no legal rights to the land and their agricultural activities are also treacherous to the protection of the national park area. This is…”
Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development: “The local people have inherited the land over years now and have survived basically on agricultural sustenance without….”
Ministry of Environment: “Moderator! Moderator! Do your job and control the Ministry of Agriculture. We are the group allowed to talk at this moment, and we are not done with what we have to say….”
Moderator: “Please! Please! Please, Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development can you allow them to finish their statement. You will have the time to put up your sentiments as well. Thank you for understanding…”

actors
Are you experiencing the intense atmosphere already? Yes, this is what always happens when stakeholders of different interest sit at the table to find a consensus.
The conflicting interests around land use have always made land management decisions and actions very difficult. Land and the natural resources associated with it is a fundamental necessity of every human society. However, there are contradicting views of whether land should be preserved for other purposes aside from direct human usage. Some believe the national economic benefits from the land should always take precedence while others believe the inhabitants of the land should always have their rights of usage and access respected. Adding up to this controversy are the group that fights for natural land conservation. This group seeks to remove humans from lands with high fauna and flora diversity especially when they perceive natural conditions on such land area is threatened through bad humankind stewardship from the local indigenes. Can this even be an option in this increasingly populated world with this limited land resource? Well, this leads to the question of which of these interest is best and should be adopted. Already getting confused about which interest to go for? Yes, this question has never been easy to answer!

As professionals with day-to-day experience of conflict around land as a limited resource and it’s usage, the Environmental Management Class (EM 42) of 19 participants led by Dr Eckhard Auch and Mr Pyi Soe Aung engaged in a moderated role play on the 9th day of April 2019. The moderated role play was based on the co-management of the Natma Taung National Park in the southern Chun state of Myanmar with a land area of 72,300 ha. The National Park is seen to be vulnerable to land use conflicts by persistent indigenes encroachment for shifting cultivation, settlement, illegal logging and other unsustainable practices such as hunting and the extraction of other non-timber forest products. The indigenous community degrading this national park quality is seen to have limited livelihood options hence high forest dependency. On the part of park administration, there are insufficient staff, budget and low capacity building which inhibits good management of the national park. The moderated role play was set to bring this complex environmental reality to the classroom and has demonstrated how a tailor-made solution can be achieved by objective negotiations and discussions involving all key stakeholders.

WhatsApp Image 2019-04-24 at 09.18.40 (4)
At this point, we, the stakeholders could only think of our firm positions on our various roles and were not ready to compromise. As stakeholders of conflicting interest around the table, we had the task to find a consensus on the best management strategies that encapsulates both the conservation of the national park and development for the local indigenes as a possible solution to reduce the people-park conflicts. Among the different stakeholders were the Ministry of Environment, local communities, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, the Regional Government, a private company for tourism, wildlife conservation NGOs and civil society organisations for human rights. Are you trying to guess each stakeholder’s stance? Yes, your guess is right! The positions on the matter varied between the strong views from conservation of parklands (hence vacate the indigenes) and the use of parklands for local development. In addition, there are stakeholders with dual interests. Can you already feel the negotiating intensity from stakeholders with such opposing views around one table trying to find a compromise on a subject?

WhatsApp Image 2019-04-24 at 09.18.40

 

After a long day of many arguments and counterarguments and bargaining positions around the table, a good lunch and few coffee breaks (a critical period for stakeholders to win over other stakeholders), the representatives came to a compromise on the subject matter. What solution, do you think, is possible? The Ministry of Environment proposed the following compromise to the other stakeholders:
The proposed solution was for local communities to stay in a clearly delineated land area in the National Park, undertake eco-farming practices and acquire additional governmental support for infrastructural development. This proposed solution seeks for sustainability by providing capacity building training to establish alternative sources of livelihood aside agriculture.
Stakeholders realised that this could only be achieved through co-management of the National Park land area. This, I believe, brought to light that each stakeholder matters. Irrespective of how small they may seem, their little concerns should always be included as we could only get to an agreed solution when views from small organisations like conservation NGOs, civil society organisations, among others, were duly appreciated. Also, even in this roleplay, the development of co-management strategies of a resource could have continued over a long period without the intervention of an unbiased moderator. The moderator paid critical attention to the very specific opinions of every stakeholder and carefully managed the negotiations with strategic planning so that success could be achieved on amicable grounds.

The moderated role play on co-management on the Natma Taung National Park, in general, was very educative as it allowed us to present thoughtful ideas that captured both the government and local peoples as well as all other stakeholders’ needs. This informed us pretty well that in complex situations like land management, it is essential to include the societal (indigenous) and scientific knowledge to reach an agreement for co-management that creates a win for.

moderation
I cannot stop writing without showing gratitude to Dr Eckhard Auch, and Mr Pyi Soe Aung for giving us this insightful experience on complex environmental issues and my colleagues from CIPSEM EM-42 for the good roles played in making this experience worth the while. To the CIPSEM team, I say thank you for including such a course on moderated role plays.

Text by Daniel Gyamfi Opoku, participant of EM42 from Ghana

From Dresden to Wisconsin – an alumni story

I joined the 71st International Short Course on Ecosystem Management – Biodiversity Conservation and Ecosystem Services (SC71) as a coordinator of conservation projects at a local NGO in Azerbaijan – IDEA (International Dialogue for Environmental Action). I managed projects on the Caucasian leopard (Panthera pardus ciscaucasica), European bison (Bison bonasus), as well as anadromous fish species.
The course helped me broaden my network, I got to know a number of young conservationists from around the world, each very influential in their countries or regions. It helped me share my skills and more importantly, learn from their experiences in their countries, as well as field realities. Additionally, I was happy to find out about alternative and new conservation strategies that others have implemented, which helped them to eliminate or reduce problems in their countries/regions. Learning from experienced speakers with different backgrounds helped me understand what a human being is capable of doing, which affected my view of the world around me and I returned home with even higher ambitions. My participation in the course helped me develop professionally towards my goal of becoming a leader in the field of conservation in my home country.

IMG-20170907-WA0106
The SC71 course in the Botanical Garden of TU Dresden.

In August 2018, I was proud to join the SILVIS Lab as a Doctoral Research Assistant at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in the US. I am currently working on a project funded by NASA – studying land cover and land use changes that have happened in the Caucasus region over the last half century. I am using remote sensing to evaluate how land use change has affected habitats and distribution of wild mammal species in Azerbaijan. You can now contact me through: rizayeva@wisc.edu

IMG_80451

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

by Ms. Afag Rizayeva (SC71 alumna)

 

An amazing visit to the State of the Art – Umweltbundesamt (UBA), Dessau

Indeed… the structure of UBA building was the state of the art!

On February 28, 2019, 22 explorers from 22 different countries reached Dessau – a town at the junction of the rivers Mulde and Elbe in the Bundesland of Saxony-Anhalt. We were all excited for our first over-night stay excursion to UBA, but have never thought to see such a higher environmental standard in construction and operation of a scientific building in a small town – Dessau. Incredible eco-friendly architecture, innovative landscape design, energy efficient structure and a blend of seven families of color, the German Environment Agency (Umweltbundesamt – UBA) in Dessau was undoubtedly an amazing place to explore.

uba-1

Just besides the old Wörlitzer Bahnof, one can see a gateway to the a snake shape UBA building on the right side and a stand-alone canteen, a public park, yew sculpture, crossword puzzle, distinct boulders and a fascinating pond with nesting boxes, hotel for insects and home for beautiful ducks, on the left side.

uba-2

Before entering to the UBA building, a group photo of the exciting faces was necessary.

uba-3

It is very difficult to decide that what was the first attraction for all of us while entering the building auditorium. Was it the beautiful glass shed roof, colorful facades, environmental library, wind node booth or the LCD screen with photovoltaic system dash board. An interesting fact of this auditorium was that anyone could enter into that area without any prior appointment to observe the beauty of the building and gain access to the biggest environmental library of German speaking world.

After exploring these amazing features of the Auditorium, we finally moved towards the conference room for a series of lectures. But wait, an interesting feature yet to be explored here was ‘the LCD screen traces’ left by the visitors, symbolizing the changeable influence on the world. Another eye-catching art!

The two days, full of knowledge exchange covered some thought-provoking themes such as climate change adaptation, water resource management, green economy, energy transition and so on. The day started with a presentation on UBA ‘Who we are and what we do?’ by Mr. Wollmann. It was very interesting to know that UBA is a Germany’s central administrative authority and is the state’s largest scientific agency with over 1,400 employees at 13 different locations. In addition to the scientific work, the agency enforces environmental laws and work for public disclosure and facilitates access to information. It was very impressive to see the many environmental problems UBA manages! The next presentation was by Ms. Schwetje who introduced us with a concept of short-lived climate pollutants and gave an overview of an ongoing initiative of Climate and Clean Air Coalition (CCAC) to reduce these pollutants. It was new to most of us that many of our countries are already part of this coalition. At the end of her presentation, she highlighted the resource and climate protection through integrated waste management projects in developing countries, which led to an interactive questions and answers session. Afterwards, we went to the beautiful canteen of UBA to recharge our body and mind. Adaptation to Climate Change, Hazard Prevention and Safety of Installations and Water Resource Management were the post-lunch sessions by Mr. Haße, Mr. Winkelmann-Oei and Mr. Bernd respectively, which provided us a bunch of useful information and potential solutions for our countries. The day did not end here! All of us met for a lovely dinner and chatted extensively on how much we learnt. Next day, we continued our journey of learning more.

How can green economy contribute to sustainable development is a much spoken debate now a days. Mr. Bünger, in his presentation, highlighted the concepts of Green Transformation and Green Skills in context of economy and environment. He also introduced the six green lead markets in Germany and strategies to promote green economy. This important lecture could not have ended without having questions from the participants. When we talk about sustainability, Resource Utilization is an important topic to be discussed. Mr. Nuss highlighted this concept through some global facts and figures. The best part of this presentation was to know about the Material Flow Assessment of the respective countries of all participants. Thanks to Mr. Nuss for bringing up this issue on board. Policy plays an important role in balancing social, environmental and economic activities in order to foster sustainable development. Considering this crucial role of policy making, Ms. Schubert presented the role of UBA as an actor of federal policy for sustainable urban development and share the concept of Tomorrow’s Cities. After having Lunch at UBA canteen, we all gathered for a guided tour of UBA building. I must say that this was the most awaited session of our visit. Thanks to Mr. Bösecke who managed to answer a ton of questions of all participants. Why the small town Dessau was chosen for UBA office was something we all wanted to know. The famous quote of Winston Churchil “we shape our building, and they shape us” is probably the best answer for it. The UBA building is currently situated on a former industrial area of Dessau which was highly contaminated by volatile halogenated and petroleum hydrocarbons. Soil and ground water remediation, ecofriendly construction and liveable working space gives impressive example of possibilities (and challenges) for sustainable urban development. Our excitement did not end here. Mr. Bösecke showed us impressive working environment for employees, green spaces, beautiful plants and trees, and two water basins while walking through communicating staircases and bridges. We were amazed to see that everything in the UBA building had a message to convey. Water ponds helped to reflect sunlight and provide a pleasant acoustic background music. Amorphous green areas with a bed of mineral substrate maintained indoor climate for plant growth whereas flooring of recyclable glass showed the artistic use of waste. The entire building was designed keeping in mind the accessibility. Moreover, the seven colors of facades are also symbolize sky (blue), greenery (shades of green) and old building’s brickwork (purple-red). The use of solar heat collectors, photovoltaic system and the geo thermal heat exchanger along with district heating system was also state of the art.

Last but not the least, the day ended with an energizing presentation by Mr. Werlein on Energy Transition in Germany. It was indeed a wonderful excursion which we will never forget. Special thanks to CIPSEM for organizing such a fun trip filled with knowledge.

by Saba Raffay (Pakistan) and Oleksandra Logunova (Ukraine)