WYSS ACADEMY FOR NATURE
© Michael Epprecht, 2020; Limestone landscape in Savannakhet province
New Briefing Paper on the management of the protected areas' buffer zones in Madre de Dios
Management of the protected areas’ buffer zones is essential to ensure the integrity of these areas and the socioeconomic wellbeing of its inhabitants. In this briefing paper, researchers from the Wyss Academy for Nature, Conservación Amazónica - ACCA, and the Centre for Development and Environment of the University of Bern highlight the innovative strategic plan of the Tambopata National Reserve Buffer Zone in Madre Dios, in the Peruvian Amazon, and its potential for replication in other protected areas of the country. Read the paper here.
Photo: ©Pavel Martiarena
New opening: Head of Communication & Digital Transformation Analyst
The Wyss Academy for Nature at the University of Bern is happy to announce the opening of two positions: Head of Communication and Digital Transformation Analyst. Qualified candidates motivated to contribute to sustainable transformations for nature and people through innovative solutions, are invited to submit their applications.
Photo: ©Pascale Amez
Wyss Academy Symposium
On August 24th 2022, we met – in person and online – for the inaugural Wyss Academy Symposium. It was a chance to demonstrate holistic pathways towards a systemic transformation – in the fields of climate, biodiversity and land use – and network with like-minded experts from around the world. We had the pleasure to co-create the Working Sessions and the Ideathon with Impact Hub Bern & Scaling4Good.
"It was a valuable and inspiring experience to co-create the Wyss Academy Symposium which brought together researchers, practitioners from the field and civil society for finding new pathways for addressing the most pressing challenges of our times." Regula Lenz, Managing Partner, Impact Hub Bern
"Inviting people from different backgrounds allowed to gain insight in different perspectives. It is this variety of perspectives, which makes transformation complex and challenging, but it will make approaches for pathways more robust." Katrin Hauser, President Scaling4Good association
Photo: ©Pascale Amez
How global warming affects astronomical observations
New opening: Professorship in Environmental Governance and Global Development
The Wyss Academy for Nature at the University of Bern is happy to announce the opening of an open-rank Professorship in Environmental Governance and Global Development. Qualified candidates motivated to contribute to sustainable transformations for nature and people are invited to submit their applications: https://is.gd/fuYvmJ
Bern as a circular society pioneer? Bern Sustainability Days / 21.09.2022
The Wyss Academy will delve into these topics in a workshop at the Bern Sustainability Days. // Wednesday 21. September 2022, 16:00 - 17:30 at Kochergasse 4, 3011 Bern
To attend the workshop and learn more about the Programm, more informations can be found here.
Tatjana von Steiger to become new President of the Board of Trustees at WWF Switzerland
Tatjana von Steiger, Head of Global Policy Outreach at the Wyss Academy for Nature, will take over the role in September of 2022 from Kurt Schmid, whose term on the Board of Trustees is coming to an end after nine years. Von Steiger is very excited about her new role and sees it as a great responsibility: "Climate change, biodiversity loss and growing inequalities require advocates and institutions like the WWF to work toward a transformation of systems, so that they can continue to serve people and nature in the future. In doing so, it is central that WWF Switzerland always critically reflects on its own strategy, and remains agile and adaptive so that it can adequately respond to change and continue to effectively advance its mission."
Tatjana von Steiger leads and coordinates the Wyss Academy's relations with actors in various global bodies, as well as at the interface of science, politics and society. From 2001 to 2020, von Steiger worked at the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA). For the last three years, she was Deputy Head of the SDC's Global Cooperation Department. Before that, she worked on the development of the global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as Minister and Team Leader for Sustainable Development and Humanitarian Affairs at the Swiss Mission to the UN in New York.
"I would like to express my sincere thanks to Kurt Schmid for his inspiring and committed work as President of the Board of Trustees," said Thomas Vellacott, CEO of WWF Switzerland. "In Tatjana von Steiger, WWF Switzerland will be gaining a personality as President who has shown a persuasive commitment to sustainability in her career to date, and who understands how to win over partners from various areas of society, the public and private sectors, science, philanthropy and civil society for joint action in favour of people and nature."
Armando Valdés-Velásquez joins the South America Hub as Senior Advisor
We are thrilled to announce that our South America Hub team is growing! We wish a warm welcome to Armando Valdés-Velásquez, who will our senior advisor within the South America Hub.🌿 Read more about it in this short interview.
What does the Oberland-Ost as a climate neutral region look like?
Our 2021 Annual Report is now available
At a time in which the world's attention has been captured by one crisis after the other - most recently, the war against Ukraine - we must not neglect one of the most enduring and potentially, most threatening crises that humanity faces today: the imminent threat to its environment. The Wyss Academy was founded to provide a new approach to dealing with this crisis and its interconnected problems. Having made considerable steps toward becoming fully operational over the past year, we now look forward to new projects, and to further growing our initial efforts.
You can read about the progress made in 2021 in many fields, and the challenges we had to address in our new Annual Report, linked here. This year, we optimized it for you for online viewing. For a detailed look at our finances, the Financial Report can also be accessed online.
The Regional Hubs Teams are growing
We are thrilled to announce that our Regional Hub teams are growing! We wish a warm welcome to Sheila Funnell and Benson Okita, who are joining the East Africa Hub and to Miguel Saravia, who will be directing the South America Hub.🌿 Read more about them on our Regional Hub pages.
Swiss Science celebrates Hansjörg Wyss
More than half a billion Swiss francs have been granted over 10 years to groundbreaking research
projects in Switzerland within three different Wyss centers in Zürich, Geneva and Bern, including the Wyss Academy for Nature. This makes entrepreneur and philanthropist Hansjörg Wyss one of the major private donors for Swiss science. Wyss was celebrated today as the laureate of the 2022 Gallatin Award of the Swiss American Chamber of Commerce. The laudatory address was given by Swiss Federal Councillor Guy Parmelin. Read more about this award in the accompanying press release and fact sheet.
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.
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.
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.
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."
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
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
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: https://lnkd.in/dFT2Gxr. After your registration you will receive the agenda and the link to the meeting.
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."
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
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.