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Research & Synthesis Reports

Annual Report

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Discussions with partners

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Wyss Academy joins swisscleantech

"How do we move from proven knowledge to sustainable action?" This question is equally central for the Wyss Academy for Nature and swisscleantech. The Wyss Academy has joined swisscleantech and looks forward to this future partnership.

Both organisations aim to find sustainable solutions to climate change and place great emphasis on innovation, networking and knowledge exchange. This work requires collaboration and thus the involvement of civil society, business, politics and science. Numerous touch points exist in their activities in Switzerland, such as in the fields of circular economy or CO2-neutral tourism regions - the Wyss Academy thus accompanies the tourism region and the UNESCO World Heritage Site Oberland-Ost towards CO2-neutrality. On the topic of climate-neutral cities, swisscleantech recently co-organised an event and invited members of the public to a discussion on sustainable travel with Google Switzerland, myclimate, the Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts and AccorHotels.

"A just and sustainable world is possible. Addressing climate change requires a broad coalition and a shared vision based on factual evidence. We look forward to this partnership," says Matthias Schmid-Huberty, COO of Wyss Academy for Nature.

"The Wyss Academy for Nature and swisscleantech are united by the goal of making much faster progress in climate protection. Both organisations bring together business, science and politics. That is why we are looking forward to exchanging knowledge and working together on concrete projects." says Fabian Etter, Co-President of swisscleantech.

Read more about this news and the swisscleantech organization (in German and French) on the swisscleantech website.


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Wyss Academy gains Advisory Committee

The Advisory Committee of the Wyss Academy for Nature was constituted in December of 2021. This independent unit of international experts plays an important role in ensuring that the Wyss Academy remains an impact-driven organization. Its members, nominated for 3 years, provide recommendations and strategic advice to the Board of the Wyss Academy, to its Director and to its Executive Management. The Wyss Academy is delighted to introduce the current members of the Committee on the following page.

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Statement on Swiss environmental act revision

In February, the consultation procedure on the partial revision of the Swiss environmental protection act was opened. The Wyss Academy for Nature has submitted its statement. The Wyss Academy considers the partial revision of the environmental protection act to be a cautious but important step in the right direction. Overall, however, the revision falls short in its ambitions.

For the full Wyss Academy statement (in German), please click here.

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Wyss Academy presents 15 Bern Hub projects

At a media event on September 21st, representatives of the Canton of Bern and of the Wyss Academy for Nature presented 15 projects entrusted to the Bern Hub of the Wyss Academy. Using the example of the Lörmoos raised bog nature preserve, they demonstrated how new solutions are being devised with a systemic approach, at the intersection of the areas of climate change, biodiversity and land use.


According to Peter Messerli, Director of the Wyss Academy of Nature, a combination of science, practice and innovation is essential: "At the same, it is more urgent than ever that we rigorously transform knowledge into action."


More information can be found in our media release, available in German and French

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Wyss Academy Declaration on Food Systems

The Wyss Academy for Nature has issued a Declaration on Food Systems as official feedback to the 2021 United Nations Food Systems Summit. The declaration is the result of the very first Wyss Academy Dialogues with Purpose, a series of workshops in which participants from four regions (Central Europe, East Africa, South-East Asia and South-America) discussed region-specific challenges with a wide range of global stakeholders, representing the areas of science, policy, civil society and the private sector.

The Wyss Academy Declaration on Food Systems calls for a fundamental transformation of economic, social, and financial systems, in order to harmonize food systems and nature conservation and foster just relations between people and nature. Despite significant differences in perspective, three opportunities for harmonizing food systems with nature conservation, climate protection, and human wellbeing were identified as relevant across all regions: promoting opportunities for youth within the agri-food system, realizing nature-positive and just food production, and bridging the disconnect between consumers and producers in order to achieve fairer food supply chains. The declaration proposes several principles and entry points as a foundation for its call to action.


The full declaration as submitted to the UN Food System Summit 2021 can be found here.


What it takes to protect biodiversity

The need for transforming human-environmental systems has become all too apparent. In an article in Rural 21, the International Journal for Rural Development, Dr. Peter Messerli, Director of the Wyss Academy for Nature and Tatjana von Steiger, the Wyss Academy's Head of Global Policy Outreach review the prospects for putting such a transformation into practice. In doing so, they stress that reconciling human with environmental well-being requires a fundamental rethink process in which many voices need to be heard. Read More


Wyss Academy Cross-Regional Dialogues on May 25

The Wyss Academy for Nature is organizing a series of workshops on ‘harmonizing food systems and nature conservation – towards just nature-people relations’. A cross-regional online dialogue will be held on May 25 from 10:30 to 12:30 am (CET) for Switzerland and Laos and from 3 pm to 5 pm (CET) for Kenya and Peru.
A synthesis will summarize the insights gained from the cross-regional dialogue and these will be discussed during a global dialogue on July 15. The results of the whole process will be synthesized in a Wyss Academy Declaration and submitted to the United Nations Food Systems Summit 2021.
If you are interested in joining the regional dialogue, please register under the following link: After your registration you will receive the agenda and the link to the meeting.


New forms of engagement at the Wyss Academy

The exhibition and meeting space "Habitat" of the Wyss Academy for Nature in Bern will newly present the work "Morphologies", which explores the moment of wonder towards nature that is common to art and science. At the same time, the Wyss Academy is addressing a pressing issue in the field of sustainable development: Engaging with people from research, politics, business, and agriculture on four continents, the second round of the Wyss Academy Cross-Regional Dialogues will take place on July 15th, discussing viable approaches to a sustainable food system. Read More


The Wyss Academy reports on its first year

Our first Annual and Financial Reports are now available online. Founded in a turbulent year marked by the Covid-19 pandemic, we have had to adjust our organization’s ramp-up phase, which is ongoing. At the same time, we feel reaffirmed that the Wyss Academy for Nature’s mission is important and timely.

We invite you to look back with us at an eventful year, and at how we are preparing our unique new institution for its coming role. Read more


Dr. Elke Kellner receives Global Marie Curie Fellowship

Despite near-global consensus on Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, unresolved and politically contentious trade-offs have undermined implementation. It is widely agreed that the goals will only be achieved if trade-offs are addressed and transformed. This is the subject of the GOVTROFF project, recently awarded the European Commission’s Marie Skłodowska-Curie Fellowship. Working together with the Wyss Academy for Nature at the University of Bern and the University of Arizona, Dr. Elke Kellner aims to understand how complex multi-level trade-offs are addressed in multi-actor, multi-interest governance systems at UNESCO World Heritage Sites, and how they can be transformed to meet emergent 21st-century environmental and social threats. Read more


Johann Schneider-Ammann joins the Wyss Academy Board

The Wyss Academy for Nature is delighted to welcome former Federal Councillor Johann Schneider-Ammann as a new Board member. The Swiss entrepreneur and politician was a member of the Federal Council from 2010 to 2018, and in that capacity held the office of President of the Swiss Confederation in 2016. He was head of the Federal Department of Economic Affairs, Education and Research (EAER). Born in Sumiswald in the canton of Bern, Mr. Schneider-Ammann studied at the ETH in Zurich and at INSEAD in Fontainebleau. As an entrepreneur, he was Chairman of the Ammann Group and held several board of directors mandates. He was also Vice President of Economiesuisse, the umbrella organization for Swiss business. Peter Messerli, Director of the Wyss Academy is very pleased about Johann Schneider-Ammann's acceptance. "Mr. Schneider-Ammann's international expertise, his numerous contacts and his roots in the canton of Bern represent an enormous opportunity for our cause."


Circular economy? SHIFT on May 4 - Wyss Academy to take part in debate

Do we need to reassess the question of economic growth? What is value-adding? Wyss Academy member Tatjana von Steiger will explore these and other questions in a panel discussion at the SHIFT 2021 online event in Bern, Switzerland. SHIFT Switzerland aims to promote the transition to a circular economy. At SHIFT 2021 on Tuesday, May 4, the event will be broadcast live from the Kursaal Bern (in German) - with a digital audience. Participation welcome! Click here to register


Transformation of a system: Consultation on the Sustainable Development Strategy 2030

The Swiss Sustainable Development Strategy 2030 should contribute to system transformation. Switzerland’s wealth heavily depends on a functioning global system. Therefore the Wyss Academy advocates that greater focus be placed on positive interactions between national and international measures. More importance should be given to sustainable production, especially the circular economy. Finally, we support more binding agreements in the involvement of different actors, so that Switzerland can achieve its goals and become a hub for sustainable financial services. Full Statement


Executive Council applies for a credit for innovative research and implementation center 

A world-leading research and implementation center is to be established in the field of nature and humanity at the University of Bern. The application-oriented center aims to improve nature conservation and environmental protection in line with the needs of economic and social development. The University of Bern, with the involvement of the Canton of Bern, will prepare a funding application worth CHF 100 million for the attention of the Hansjörg Wyss Foundation by April 2019. If successful, the university and the canton would each contribute CHF 50 million to this center over a period of ten years. The Executive Council will request a credit from the Grand Council in the 2019 spring session. 


The Wyss Academy's ongoing projects

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