Excursion to the German Environment Agency (UBA)

Our CIPSEM journey continued from 18th to 19th of May 2016 in the city of Dessau. The visit to the German Environment Agency (UBA) began with an introduction and welcome speech by Mr. Ralph Wollmann, who gave background information about the history of the German Environment Agency and explained its participation and contribution to CIPSEM courses. Furthermore Mr. Wollmann talked about the role of UBA in the german society and the international community.

Following up were interactive sessions on several topics from the manifold portfolio of the agency. Among others there were talks on water resources management and climate change adaptation in Germany, transboundary movement of waste, environmental risk regulation of pesticides, green economy and much more.

The stay in Dessau was furthermore accompanied guided tours through the price winning main building of UBA and the world famous Bauhaus.

Report and photographs by Hisham Abdelgawad (Egypt)

Berlin! We traveled to Berlin!

If you are in Germany, never miss the chance to visit Berlin – a city that combines extraordinary diversity of culture, nature, beauty, historical treasures, and even options of public transportation. We, the CIPSEM participants, had a great opportunity to explore the historical, environmental and economic value of this fantastic city. An excursion to Berlin between 29th March and 1st April brought us to the site where major redevelopment projects are ongoing.

Our first stop was in the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety. An introduction to the ministry by Ms. Königsberg was followed up with a lively discussion about our impressions on Germany so far. Then we had the opportunity to meet the head of the Division for the United Nations and the Cooperation with Developing and Emerging Countries of the ministry, Mr. Contius. He elaborated on the German position and his experiences from the United Nations Sustainable Development Summit in New York in September last year. The visit was concluded with a guided tour through the headquarters of the ministry.

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Before continuing the programme, there was some time for Berlin sightseeing and we visited Potsdam Square, the Holocaust memorial, Brandenburg Gate and the Reichstag (German Parliament Building – “Bundestag”).

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Our last stop for this first day was the greywater recycling project at Block 6. The head behind this project, Mr. Nolde, explained the historical background of greywater recycling in Germany, his aim and objectives of the project and his idea of new water concepts.

More stations at our excursion to the German capital during the next days were: the Ecological Institute, the German Emission Trading Authority and the German Energy Agency.

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Berlin – truly a(nother) city which never sleeps 🙂

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Report by Hiba Mohammad (Syria)

Some hopeful news for biodiversity and sustainable development?

Today is a day of farewell but also of new and hopeful beginnings. We are concluding the 65th UNEP/UNESCO/BMUB International Short Course on Ecosystem Management – Biodiversity and Restoration Ecology.

Here you see the participants and CIPSEM staff after the award ceremony.

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It is clear we face many challenges regarding

  •  species extinction and loss of diversity
  • drastic changes in biogeochemical cycles such as that of nitrogen
  • land use changes and the loss of ecosystems, fragmentation of habitats, the pollution of water, air and soil.
In the course we have discussed the overarching concepts of biodiversity as such, of restoration approaches, of putting a value on ecosystem services and many other approaches. The course has benefitted greatly from the experience and kind sharing of this group of highly motivated, diverse participants.
In their wonderful short speech on behalf of the group, Ms. Yetunda McLean from Jamaica and Mr. Mindaye Teshome Legese from Ethiopia have highlighted some of the characteristics which everybody contributed to help this group to grow and explore together. This gives good reason for hope, because there are a lot of issues to tackle.
Overall, this is a year of hope. On this very day the world leaders come together in New York to make sustainable development with its many interlinked aspects a top priority for all countries.
The 17 sustainable development goals are designed as one indivisible package. That two of the 17 targets address terrestrial and marine biodiversity directly, highlights the importance of this topic:
  • Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss (Goal Nr. 15)
  • Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development (Goal Nr. 14).

Let’s take our governments by their words. And also: let’s assume the responsibility we all have for how our circumstances develop, and let’s celebrate the small victories along the way.

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EM38 at the Dresden Nexus Conference 2015

Over 350 participants from 65 countries came to Dresden to join the Nexus Conference on Climate Change, Urbanization and Population Growth from 25th to 27th of March 2015. Among them the CIPSEM EM38 course participants representing 22 countries from those 65… not bad at all!

During three days three different aspects of global change were covered in talks and in a poster session: climate change, urbanization and population growth. Special attention was paid on how the integrated management of environmental resources guided by the nexus approach may help to achieve the potential targets of the post-2015 agenda.

(Photos: A. Lindner)