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© Michael Epprecht, 2020; Limestone landscape in Savannakhet province

Our Annual Report 2023 is now available! 

How can gold miners be encouraged to use alternatives to toxic mercury, in the Peruvian Amazon? How can we improve water resources and biodiversity at the same time, in semi-arid areas such as those found in northern Kenya? These are some of the many questions we tried to answer during the past year. Read more in our 2023 Annual Report. 📝🌳  


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Herzliche Gratulation zur Ehrenbürgerschaft der Stadt Bern, Hansjörg Wyss!

Wir gratulieren unserem Stiftungsrat Hansjörg Wyss ganz herzlich zur Ehrenbürgerschaft der Stadt Bern, die ihm heute verliehen wird!


Vor fast exakt vier Jahren wurde die Wyss Academy for Nature von der Universität Bern, dem Kanton Bern sowie der Wyss Foundation gegründet. Insbesondere Hansjörg Wyss‘ Weitblick und seinem grosszügigen Engagement ist es zu verdanken, dass unsere junge Stiftung heute mit rund 90 Projekten in vier Regionen der Welt tätig sein kann, um innovative Lösungen zu entwickeln und umzusetzen, die den Bedürfnissen der Natur und der Menschen gleichermassen entsprechen. 


Die bisherigen Ergebnisse sind vielversprechend. Ob es um Entwicklung von nachhaltigen Produkten aus schwer absetzbarem Rohholz im Emmental geht, um Einkommenssicherung für Paranuss-Bäuerinnen im peruanischen Madre de Dios - oder beispielsweise um die Erforschung, ob Begrünung den Regenfall in Trockengebieten von Kenia verstärken kann: Die Wyss Academy bringt zusammen mit ihren Partner*innen vor Ort Wissen in die Umsetzung und testet, wie echte systemische Veränderungen angestossen werden können. Einzelheiten zum Stand der Dinge in unseren Reallaboren im Kanton Bern, in Ostafrika, Südamerika und Südostasien - und vieles mehr -, finden Sie in unserem brandneuen Jahresbericht 2023. Merci, Hansjörg Wyss – auch dafür, dass die Wyss Academy ein toller Arbeitgeber mitten in der Stadt Bern sein darf!


Contributing to wildlife conservation and sustainable development through spatial planning 

The County Government of Isiolo, in partnership with the Wyss Academy for Nature, Save the Elephants, and Northern Rangelands Trust is prioritizing smart planning in Oldonyiro town to secure elephant corridors threatened by growing human settlements. Unplanned development due to changes in land tenure has serious consequences on wildlife connectivity, potentially leading to human-wildlife conflict. To remedy this, the county planning team and stakeholders are in the process of co-designing a nature-focused town plan, in which residents of Oldonyiro town can actively participate in managing and maintaining these corridors. Read more here.

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Statement on the assassination of environmental leader Victorio Dariquebe Gerewa

The lives of environmental leaders and defenders are constantly threatened by the advance of illegal mining, logging, and drug trafficking. According to the Interethnic Association for the Development of the Peruvian Rainforest (AIDESEP), from 2013 to 2023, 23 leaders from the Kichwa, Kakataibo, Asháninka, Nomatsiguenga, Yanesha, and Kukama ethnic groups have become the victims of violence.

Sadly, Victorio Dariquebe Gerewa, an indigenous environmental leader and park ranger of the Amarakaeri Communal Reserve, has now joined the list of environmental defenders who have been killed for their dedication to caring for the Amazon.

At the Wyss Academy for Nature, we strongly condemn this act and declare the following:

Read statement



La vida de los líderes y defensores ambientales se encuentra constantemente amenazada por el avance de la minería y tala ilegales, y narcotráfico. Según la Asociación Interétnica de la Selva Peruana (AIDESEP) del 2013 al 2023, han sido victimados 23 líderes y lideresas de las etnias kichwa, kakataibo, asháninka, nomatsiguenga, yanesha y kukama.

Lamentablemente, Victorio Dariquebe Gerewa, líder ambiental indígena y guardabosques de la Reserva Comunal Amarakaeri, se suma a la lista de defensores ambientales que son asesinados por dedicarse al cuidado de la Amazonía.

Desde la Wyss Academy condenamos enérgicamente este hecho y declaramos lo siguiente:


Leer pronunciamiento


Gaining Momentum in Madagascar

Our Coalition for Change is gaining momentum in Madagascar! Together with our partners and key stakeholders we have hosted several events and workshops focused on establishing a shared vision for the Mahalevona Valley. 

Madagascar is renowned as one of the world’s most important biodiversity hotspots, yet it is threatened by deforestation. Despite challenges, the collective efforts of stakeholders represent a promising step towards sustainable development in the Mahalevona Valley.  

Read more here


The impact of Climate Change on Wildlife:
A Focus on Africa and Kenya

Changing environment and weather patterns have drastic effects on the planet’s plants and animals. In Africa, climate change significantly contributes to the loss and transformation of animal habitats, pushing many species to the brink of extinction. In his article for the Mazingira Yetu Magazine, Dr. Benson Okita, Director of the WA Hub East Africa, delves into the wide-ranging consequences of climate change on wildlife in Kenya specifically, and Africa as a whole. Read more here


The proof is in the poop 

Mushroom farming using elephant dung substrate a boon for rural development 

A Partnership between the Wyss Academy for Nature and the National Museums of Kenya has developed an innovative mushroom cultivation technique, which uses elephant dung as a substrate. This novel approach is a #ClimateSmart option for arid and semi-arid environments such as the Naibunga Community Conservancy in Laikipia, Kenya, where it was successfully tested and is now being implemented.  

Why elephant dung, you ask? Read more here 


3rd Art of Hosting Training in collaboration with Harvest Moon Consultants ✨ 

For the third time around, the Wyss Academy for Nature in collaboration with Harvest Moon Consultants hosted an Art of Hosting Meaningful Dialogue Engagement and Participatory Leadership training! The three-day intensive training invited Wyss Academy colleagues and partners alike to learn and share how to navigate complex systems by creating safe spaces and applying participatory tools and methods for impactful collaboration among diverse stakeholders.


Enabling transformative biodiversity governance to translate global biodiversity targets to local actions

The Wyss Academy for Nature is delighted to be hosting the session on Enabling transformative biodiversity governance to translate global biodiversity targets to local actions at the 5th Global Land Programme Open Science Meeting: Pathways to Sustainable and Just Land Systems (November 4-8, in Oaxaca, Mexico).

📆 Please join us at this event (ideally in-person, or online) through submitting a summary of your research, the topic you would like to talk about and / or the storie(s) you would like to contribute to this session. The deadline for submissions is March 20, 2024.

Please follow these links for more details, or to submit an application:
🔗 List of Sessions– Please indicate our session number: 354N, under Theme 3
🔗 Instructions and Guidelines

🏆 We will be offering a few scholarships for non-academic partners, and also for academics from the Global South - especially from Southeast Asia, East Africa and South America.

📩 For more information, please contact us by email:, Dr. Van Nguyen (she/her).



Call for proposal: Global Synthesis on the
True Value of Forests. 

The Wyss Academy is looking for a dedicated partner to support us with the harvesting, sensemaking, and reporting on one of our key projects in 2024: the Wyss Academy Dialogues with Purpose (WAD) on “The True Value of Forests”. The WAD is a series of events that facilitates open, evidence-based discussions on pivotal issues at the intersection of biodiversity, climate change, and land use with stakeholders at both local and global levels. The partner will be responsible for crafting a comprehensive global synthesis report, seamlessly integrating insights gleaned from regional dialogues, to forge an actionable narrative that sets the stage for a pivotal global discourse. 


Application deadline: 19.03.2024 


More information on the call

Template for proposals

Further information on the WAD


ON FORESTS | Art&Science residency in Rome | Open call for Malagasy artists by the Wyss Academy for Nature

« The True Value of Forests », is part of the Wyss Academy's Global Dialogues for change. This program aims to generate a global-level discussion based on evidence on the interconnection between biodiversity, climate change, and land use. In this context, the Wyss Academy will be collaborating for the first time with the Istituto Svizzero in Rome, an interdisciplinary platform bringing together artistic and scientific research. Are you interested in the Art&Science residency / ON FORESTS?


Applications for 2024/2025 are now open.
Deadline: 11.03.2024

Read more (French)

Read more (Malagasy)


ON FORESTS | Art & Science residency in Rome | Open call for artists by Istituto Svizzero

The Art & Science residency / ON FORESTS at the Istituto Svizzero in Rome, an interdisciplinary platform bringing together artistic and scientific research, will be collaborating for the first time with the Wyss Academy for Nature. The focus topic, « The True Value of Forests », is part of the Wyss Academy's Global Dialogues for change. This program aims to generate a global-level discussion based on evidence on the interconnection between biodiversity, climate change, and land use, through several exchanges with stakeholders at both local and global levels.

Applications for 2024/2025 are now open
Deadline: 26.02.2024

More information and entry requirements here

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The True Value of Forests: Join the global dialogues for change

Imagine a gathering of scientists, indigenous leaders, policymakers, entrepreneurs, economists, and passionate individuals from diverse backgrounds – all coming together to nurture knowledge on The True Value of Forests. Now, envision this collective wisdom put into action, where every idea blossoms into tangible, real-world impact. That is the true potential of our global dialogues for change. Learn more here.


Call To Action: What is needed to meet the world’s biodiversity targets

On the anniversary of the COP15 biodiversity conference in Montreal, the Wyss Academy for Nature has issued a Call To Action. In order to meet the 23 global targets defined at the conference, biodiversity must become a mainstream value: Ever more people from all parts of society must come to understand and accept that a positive relationship with nature is a necessary strategy for human survival. 

It is on the basis of such a consensus - what the Wyss Academy calls a 'social contract with nature' - that the world can implement vital measures to preserve the environment on which we all depend, within the framework defined in Montreal by the international community (the Global Biodiversity Framework, or GBF). In order to translate the GBF into sustainable, just and transformative practice, biodiversity loss must be tackled as part of a united approach, together with measures to address land degradation and climate change - and measures must be based on the principles of participation and justice for all stakeholders. 

These were the main conclusions of a reflection process on how to implement the GBF, conducted by the Wyss Academy for Nature with international representatives from academia and civil society, as well as stakeholders from three regions in which the Wyss Academy operates (East Africa, South America and Central Europe).

The Wyss Academy for Nature Call To Action on the Global Biodiversity Framework is available here.

2023/12/ 05

Water scarcity and climate change: Fresh insights gained in Northern Kenya

Water in the Ewaso Ng'iro North River basin, in Kenya is scarce – due to a number of factors, including climate change. A synthesis report has now been published on a broad participatory workshop held in Isiolo, Kenya on June 12-14, organized by an interdisciplinary team at the Wyss Academy for Nature and by CETRAD. Fresh insights gained during the workshop will hopefully provide the basis for solutions in this region, as well as in other parts of the world. 

The workshop included the perspectives of 52 participants from academia and research institutions, as well as county and national government representatives in Kenya, the Kenyan National Environment Management Authority, the National Museums of Kenya, community based organizations (CBOs), youth groups and non governmental organizations (NGOs). 

Together, participants identified challenges posed by water scarcity and climate change, and discussed solutions for water- and biodiversity monitoring (both aquatic and terrestrial), as well as restoration and governance. They reported current gaps in data and knowledge, and envisioned strengthened collaborations within country institutions and with external partners - in order to turn knowledge into effective action. 

You can find here a summary of the workshop, as well as the full synthesis report.

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Major Milestone: University of Nairobi and Wyss Academy for Nature Form Strategic Partnership in Environmental Studies

We are delighted to announce that Wyss Academy Hub East Africa Director Dr. Benson Okita was in Nairobi today, to shake hands with Vice-Chancellor Prof. Stephen Kiama Gitahi of the University of Nairobi (UoN) on a collaboration agreement with the Wangari Maathai Institute for Peace and Environmental Studies! The handshake marks the signing of a collaborative framework between the two organizations that will form the basis for working together in such areas as Biodiversity, Water, Climate Change, Sustainability and Environmental Governance.


This important partnership with the University of Nairobi's Wangari Maathai Institute for Peace and Environmental Studies, named after Nobel laureate, the late Prof. Wangari Maathai, represents a milestone for the Wyss Academy for Nature at the University of Bern (WA) in Kenya. It came about through the involvement of several people who saw the potential in finding innovative solutions for Kenya and the world, by strengthening the collaboration between institutions in the Global North and South and by merging the University of Nairobi's substantial and diverse expertise with the Wyss Academy's unique approach to translating knowledge into action. We would like to acknowledge the enormous contributions toward this collaboration of Prof. Thuita Thenya (UoN), Prof. Dr. Margaret Awuor Owuor (WA) and Christine Nyangweso (PhD student, UoN).


New Partnership with the Elephant Conservation Center in Laos

The Hub Southeast Asia of the Wyss Academy for Nature and the Elephant Conservation Center Laos, in Sayaboury, are excited about their newly established partnership to test innovative species and habitat conservation approaches with co-benefits for communities in the Nam Tien provincial protected area and surroundings in western Laos. 🐘


Wyss Academy provides feedback to draft Swiss national strategy on Education, Research and Innovation 2025-2028

In the future, Switzerland’s yardstick for a good research project should not be the number of publications associated with it - but the contribution it makes to dealing with societal challenges. And research cooperation with the global south must be strengthened. These and other recommendations were addressed by the Wyss Academy for Nature to Swiss Federal Councillor Guy Parmelin, in today's statement on Switzerland’s draft Strategy for Education, Research and Innovation 2025-2028. 

Click here for the statement (in German).


Scaling from 5000 to 100’000 bunds: Making Northern Kenya greener  

At the Wyss Academy for Nature, we want to do things differently. We are seeing promising results of our approach in Northern Kenya: The semi-arid landscape there is turning a little greener. We are combining a known method to protect precious water and soil, semi-circular bunds, with traditional systems and our solutionscape approach to assure long-term success. This youth-led initiative by the Green Earth Warriors, with the Wyss Academy as catalyst and technical expertise by Justdiggit, has expanded to involve around 500 households and three local women’s groups - the Twiga Mamas, the Chui Mamas and the Naitutum Women’s group – and has scaled up from 5000 to 100’000 projected bunds within only a few months. Through our integrated monitoring and evaluation system, we can provide data on this approach for like-minded partners. Hopefully, other regions may benefit from this solution. 


Wyss Academy provides feedback to Swiss Federal Council on International Cooperation strategy 

Swiss international cooperation should help ensure that the fight against climate change does not happen at the expense of the poorest and most disadvantaged - and needs sufficient funding to do so. International cooperation and research must be more closely linked - and measures for Ukraine require a separate legal basis for funding that lies outside of international cooperation. These and other recommendations were addressed by the Wyss Academy for Nature to Swiss Federal Councillors, Ignazio Cassis and Guy Parmelin, in a statement sent today on Switzerland's draft Strategy for International Cooperation 2025-2028.


Click here for the statement (in German). 

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We are thrilled to announce our support and participation in the upcoming Spirit of Bern, on August 24th. 

This year's event is centered around nutrition and brings together a diverse spectrum of experts from politics, business, science, and practitioners. 


Our goal? Learn and also have the chance to exchange knowledge about this important topic. Our dietary choices have tremendous influence over our health, well-being, as well as on the world around us.  With the global food system confronting multifaceted challenges, such as climate change, the world's growing population, and the pressing demand for healthy eating, this is a current and relevant topic. We are looking forward to insightful dialogues! 


«Es braucht wieder mehr Weitsicht und Engagement»

Interview mit Nachhaltigkeitsexperte Peter Messerli von der Wyss Academy for Nature an der Universität Bern

Mit der Agenda 2030 hat sich die Staatengemeinschaft 2015 einen wichtigen Werte-Kompass für eine weltweit nachhaltige Entwicklung gegeben. In diesem Jahr ist «Halbzeit». Eine Pandemie, die Klimakrise und der Krieg in der Ukraine sorgen für grosse Rückschritte. Was es nun braucht, erklärt Peter Messerli* im Interview mit Polit-Sichten. Für ihn ist klar: Vielversprechende Ansätze liegen längst auf dem Tisch. Was fehlt, ist Mut, Engagement und der politische Wille.


Hier können Sie mehr über dieses Interview erfahren. 

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With a multitude of experts around the world working on the issues surrounding our climate, biodiversity, and land use for the past few decades – why has progress been so slow? How do we ensure that all this knowledge is used where it is needed? At the heart of the Wyss Academy for Nature lies the desire to better combine knowledge with action.  

In 2022, all units within this young organization became fully operational. 61 key staff in Switzerland, Kenya, Madagascar, Peru and Laos put its Strategy for 2022-2024 to the test and working together, sought and tested solutions to our complex, interconnected problems.  


You can read more about this in the Wyss Academy Annual Report for 2022, which is now online.


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

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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

A team of researchers led by the University of Bern, NCCR PlanetS and the Wyss Academy for Nature, including Dr. Marie-Estelle Demory has shown in a study how one of the major challenges of our time – anthropogenic climate change – now even affects our view of the Cosmos


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:


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?

On June 17, 2022 the CDE hosted together with the Wyss Academy and the Canton of Bern a workshop to define possible pathways with different stakeholders from tourism, municipalities and local businesses. 👉 

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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.

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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.


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.

Image by Matthew Smith

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


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: 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."

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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

Image by Noah Buscher

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

Image by Markus Spiske

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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