Inside CIPSEM – a look behind the scenes …

… of the ongoing 77th UNEP/UNESCO/BMU International Short Course on Ecosystem Management – Biodiversity Conservation and Ecosystem Services

Well, the course already started August 29th and a lot happened inside and outside the classroom. Here are some insights …

by Ms. Moselantja Rahlao, Lesotho:

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Hello I am Moselantja Rahlao and I work for the Department of Range Resources Management, Ministry of Forestry and Soil Conservation, Lesotho. Welcome to the Kingdom in the Sky in Germany. Lesotho is a tiny country enclaved by another in Southern Africa.

It takes courage and passion to write application essays for the 77th UNEP/UNESCO/BMU International short course on Ecosystem management- Biodiversity Conservation and Ecosystem Services. Biophysical assessments are energy demanding. I do that on horseback, yes I am a rider. During data collection, I find myself staying uncomfortably in poky shelters of Lesotho. However, streams of passion to learn and be exposed never run dry. Usually after a completion of a hectic day, one wants only a good bath, food and sleep or entertainment at least. When everyone else prioritized the aforementioned and took a well-deserved break, I chose to sacrifice and compromise to achieve. However, my inquisitive nature coupled with thirst for knowledge sets me apart and makes me competent. I thrived because I dreamed, planned and acted “If you want to live your dreams, deny yourself any type of excuse”. I always apply effort and energy in things that I believe in for my growth. Then I work to proof myself to myself not anyone.

It was a heap of applications received (off course I knew this on arrival at CIPSEM) with very slim chances of being selected. This is a challenge of survival of the fittest measured by how logical one is, relevant content matters and what CIPSEM decides. Once this phase is passed, one can celebrate yippee. It was a moment of excitement and boosted confidence.

Logistically ready and hip-hip hooray! I landed in Dresden. The first day was tiresome after about 20hours flight (including layovers). A brief orientation done blah-blah-blah… and my heart began to palpitate faster. Next day, as the sun rose, I smiled and patted myself as I whispered “well done you are finally here”. Now ready to meet my fellow participants and the CIPSEM team. I take pride in my achievement to represent the Mountain Kingdom in Germany and interact with international fellows on the short course. It is exactly twenty (20) countries represented, namely: Indonesia, Cameroon, Guatemala, Mexico, Vietnam, Georgia, Turkmenistan, Ghana, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Rwanda, Haiti, Argentina, Brazil, Bhutan, El Salvador, Malaysia, Zimbabwe, Tanzania, Armenia and of course Lesotho. Wow! What a diversity of culture, experience and knowledge.

Now anxiety and enthusiasm knocks daily to learn, network, exchange knowledge through participation throughout the course. We are here, stood out to be counted. Thinking individually but together towards conservation of biological diversity for enhancement of human wellbeing. The program runs from lecture hall with various experts to field excursion to get in depth knowledge. It is impossible to walk in nature and be in a bad mood. My best highlight was the stay on Isle of Vilm. The simulation on CBD-COP negotiation was eye opening to all participants. It went from just a practice to real emotional involvement, very defensive and argumentative. It takes the trophy. It was also a pleasure to celebrate my birthday at Baltic Sea Island. Surely, the course objectives will be accomplished by end of September, 2019. Yes, the course will end but never the memories with a good company. Never! We will go back to our countries and apply the knowledge, skills and experience gained. Lastly, “in a changing environment one either adapts, moves or die”. What an honor to be swimming in this pool of knowledge. A well-organized course and great gratitude to the sponsors. It would not be possible without them. Salute!

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Nature Talks – Experiencing the International “Nature” of Negotiations

by Ms. Fitria Rinawati, Indonesia et.al.:

“You cannot negotiate with people who say what’s mine is mine and what’s yours is negotiable” – John F. Kennedy

One among many highlights of the CIPSEM 77th UNEP/UNESCO/BMU International Short Course on Ecosystem Management – Biodiversity Conservation and Ecosystem Services is how we can experience such negotiations related to biodiversity conservation in international events. This time we had the opportunity to do a negotiation simulation “CBD-COP decision on biofuels”. What a topic! It is so current that most countries are paying attention to it. Including small – fragile – island countries which are not necessarily able to produce it but might be impacted from it.
The simulation was set to get an agreement of the drafted decision text. Participants were grouped as delegations into 6 countries that have the right to vote: Indonesia, Saudi Arabia, Brazil, European Union, Ethiopia and Tuvalu, and 2 observers consisting in the United States and Greenpeace. One can imagine the dynamic of such a simulation when biofuels talk is involving the main producer countries like Indonesia and Brazil, the opposer of biofuels production – Saudi Arabia (main fossil fuels producer) and free riders such as the United States and Tuvalu – a very-very small island country that might face sinking due to climate change as a result of biofuels production practices.
Negotiation skills, wording the talks, emotional statements, creative compromises, building up pressure…were among the things we practiced and learned. Another main thing we learned was that every country has its interests and the delegations try to defend them – as it is well said in JFK above quote.
Further, we watched the movie “Guardians of the Earth”, a movie on UNFCCC – COP21 (Paris Agreement) which pictured clearly the above described negotiation processes. An interesting point, raised from a Bahrain young woman negotiator in the movie, was that all the international nature talks and negotiations were not about nature but but on economic interests of each country. Above all, we understand the great responsibility of the delegates to defend their country’s interests as well as the chairman – the president – the secretariat to come to such consensus and agreements. Last but not least, the importance of NGOs and other parties that influence these talks is also something that we can’t diminish.
I believe that among us the participants of CIPSEM 77th International Short Course, – there are possible future leaders of our countries. Thus, with the skills we learned, the knowledge we gained and the senses we built up through this course, we would be empowered to negotiate more reasonable in an international event and manage the ecosystem and the earth in a better way.
“Let us never negotiate out of fear. But let us never fear to negotiate” – John F. Kennedy

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The “CBD-COP decisions on biofuels” negotiations – simulation chaired by Dr. Axel Paulsch (photo by Mr. Yew Aun Quek)
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CIPSEM alumna gives maiden lecture

On Wednesday, July 17th 2019, Dr. Adejoke Olukemi Akinyele had the honor to deliver the maiden lecture for the newly created Faculty of Renewable Natural Resources at the University of Ibadan, Nigeria – the lecture titled “Achieving sustainable development through silviculture: Focus on tree domestication”.

Dr. Adejoke Olukemi Akinyele was a participant in the 60th UNEP/UNESCO/BMU International Short Course on Environmental Management for Developing and Emerging Countries – Climate Change Adaptation: The Soil-Water Nexus (SC-60), which took place from October 9th to November 8th 2013 in Dresden, Germany.

She works as a senior lecturer in the Department of Forest Production and Products at the newly created Faculty. Congratulations and keep up the good work!

 

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.

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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

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by Ms. Afag Rizayeva (SC71 alumna)

 

My Fulbright – Humphrey Fellowship Experience; building on the CIPSEM Success Story

As the late former US Vice President and Senator Hubert H. Humphrey said, “Never give in and never give up,” I was challenged and at the same time motivated when I learned about this prestigious Fulbright fellowship program. Likewise, I can still recall how motivated I was then in 2016 when I first learned about the UNEP/UNESCO/BMU-sponsored professional development program at the Centre for International Postgraduate Studies in Environmental Management (CIPSEM) at Technische Universität Dresden, Germany. My CIPSEM success story in 2016 including the unwavering support I received from Dr. Anna Görner, Dr. André Lindner and team was the stepping stone on which this Fulbright-Humphrey Fellowship success was built from.

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Mr. Isaac Hokonya (right) with his fellows of the 39th UNEP/UNESCO/BMUB International Postgraduate Course on Environmental Management, visiting the German Environment Agency

The Fulbright-Humphrey exchange program was a great opportunity for me to develop my professional skills and experience in the USA. Following the fellowship application announcement by the Fulbright Commission in Harare, I immediately applied. I went through the competitive and rigorous in-country interviews, TOEFL exams and the candidate review process, and after waiting for close to a year I was selected. And the rest is history.

Like the CIPSEM Fellowship Program, the Humphrey Fellowship Program is well-planned and organized, and every effort is made to make each of the Fellows feel special from day one. The pre-departure orientation, welcome meeting at the airport, and on-campus orientation with the Humphrey Program staff and Friendship Partners helped us settle down and acclimate to our new “home” in Ithaca. The numerous field and recreational visits and dinner parties we attended are a true testimony of the hospitality extended to us by our US hosts. One of my goals prior to my departure was to learn about and experience American culture and I am happy to say that I am already immersed in it. I am amazed by how friendly the people are, with a rich cultural diversity, exemplified with some of the best business and cuisine cultures on the planet. I am much impressed with how such rich cultural diversity has given rise to the convergence of ideas and innovations that have continued to drive American society for many years.

Being a professional development program, the Humphrey Program gives Fellows the opportunity to build their program plans and hone their leadership skills through a series of seminars, academic courses, professional visits and volunteer activities. Like the CIPSEM experience, we have acquired practical skills that benefit us as professionals, helping us to engage with communities and people back home. A famous English proverb says, “make hay while the sun shines,” and as Humphrey Fellows we are privileged to have this great opportunity to develop our leadership and job skills for the benefit of our home governments and beneficiary communities. Such is an opportunity that every fellow should be proud of – for me, it is the true honor of being a Humphrey Fellow.

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by Mr. Isaac Hokonya, Zimbabwe

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.

Pioneering step forward for access rights

On March 4th this year, in Costa Rica, 24 countries of Latin America and the Caribbean gather to adopt “The Escazu Agrement”. Our region, during the last years, has being characterized by the increasing numbers of people (especially activists) that have been killed for taking action or denouncing the destruction of nature and their habitat, this Agreement is an important step to guarantee people without any kind of discrimination their access rights; the right to information, public participation and justice on environmental matters. Access to information is very important for people in our region in order to understand, evaluate and recognize the important problems that are taking place in their different context, there are many cases that we can sadly remark of people that are trying to fight for justice but have been discredited because the information that’s been published in some cases is not correct and some others the information is not accessible to the public.

Last week “Reaccion Climatica” (Climate Reaction), a collective of volunteers that has being actively participating in the drafting of the Agreement and on its adoption in Costa Rica as representatives of the public, along with the collation TAI-Bolivia (The Access Initiative) and CEDIB (Center of Documentation and information Bolivia) among other organizations, made the Presentation of this Agreement in the University of San Francisco de Asís in the city of La Paz in Bolivia, in an open call to all members of civil society. The presentation did not only had the participation of NGO’s that work in environmental matters but also had the participation of young people and especially of  people from indigenous communities who were able to show their concern and fights for nature conservation and show how this Agreement could help them raise awareness of the destruction of not only their homes, but also one the most important protected areas in Bolivia: Madidi National Park that currently is being treat by the constructions of two hydroelectric dams that according to last studies are not economically, socially or sustainably viable. During my participation at CIPSEM in the 73rd International Short Course on Resource Efficiency – Cleaner Production and Waste Management (SC73) my fellow colleagues always asked about the dangers and importance of being an activist in my country, I always answered that it is hard work to make people understand the importance of environment in our country, to show people that protecting our natural parks are not only important for the indigenous people that live there but also for everybody as our natural heritage and also that prevention and mitigation of pollution as well as sustainability policies are key and must be addressed in all projects in order to achieve the sustainable development we are trying to reach.

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We are aware that there’s a long road ahead for the implementation and accomplishment of the main goal of this Agreement l that is:

 “guarantee the full and effective implementation in Latin America and the Caribbean of the rights of access to environmental information, public participation in environmental decision-making processes and access to justice in environmental matters, as well as the creation and strengthening of capacities and cooperation, contributing to the protection of the right of each person, of present and future generations, to live in a healthy environment and to sustainable development”

Nevertheless, we believe this is a big step to protect the protectors of nature and hopefully it will reduce drastically the killing of nature defenders while achieving environmental justice.

by Ms. Analia Mayte Ricaldez Hurtado

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Analia Mayte Ricaldez Hurtado is working as a Project Engineer developing Energy Efficiency programs, Environmental Impact Assessments, Environmental Sheets and Environmental Monitoring and inspections in TECAP Global Solutions S.R.L in La Paz Bolivia. She is also involved in occupational health and safety for the company’s laboratory and designing the process and procedures to prevent its environmental impact. Analia assists and analyzes services of environmental risk and other services which could give easy solutions to their clients in the private and public sector and in all production activities (mining, oil and gas, industrial, etc.). She also completed a training of sustainability in the supply chain in Brazil in 2013 and received a Diploma in Energy Efficiency in Pontifical Catholic University of Chile in Santiago. She applied for UNEP/UNESCO/BMU course program to add and change her perspective in sustainability and resource efficiency and to be able to develop and apply this important topic in her country. Analia participated in volunteering as a teacher for children in small schools in environmental education with The Coca Cola Company and currently in a volunteering collective “Reaccion Climatica” for the diffusion and promoting participation of the population in climate change problems in Bolivia.