July 28, 2016

The 4th “Resource Efficient Cities” Workshop Series

Continuing the workshops’ series of the Curriculum Development of the Interdisciplinary Master Program “Resource Efficient Cities” (IMaREC) which started in Cairo, Egypt in June 2015, the 4th workshop took place in UASLP, San Luis Potosi – Mexico during the period 18th – 23rd July 2016. Four partner universities of the CNRD network in addition to UASLP  participated in the workshop: TH Köln, Germany; ASU, Egypt; KU, Kenya; and UGM, Indonesia.

The workshop was twofold in that it included activities of both curriculum development and research. The curriculum development workshop aimed at defining course structures, learning units and full description of the four core courses comprising the first semester of IMaREC in terms of course aims/objectives, Intended learning outcomes (ILOs), course content, teaching method(s) and assessment method(s). The research workshop aimed at promoting the concept of resource efficient cities and prioritized relevant topics of the city as a socio-ecological and thus metabolistic system. This was done by developing a systematic urban case study approach for a scalable cities, including Cairo, Egypt (mega city), San Luis Potosi, Mexico and Yogyakarta, Indonesia (medium size cities), and Kisumu, Kenya (small size city) in order to pave the road to draft relevant and specified research proposals responding to calls of bilateral or multilateral funding options.

The workshop was enriched by two open sessions with inputs from international guests of topics related to resource efficient cities such as “Urban metabolism and system theory”, “Water efficient urban systems”, and “Introducing urban sustainable model: La Pila”. Professors and students from the different faculties of UASLP joined the opening sessions and participated actively in the discussions. Furthermore, the workshop included a very interesting field trip to explore urban strategies for food production and water management in a local elementary school as a sustainable model developed by UASLP, where sustainable practices of rainwater harvesting, urban farming, greenhouse, fruit trees farm, waste water treatment, soccer field design and photovoltaic design have been implemented. The field trip also included visits to local brick makers and to a social housing development “Villa Esperanza” for exploring environmental-social design aspects and community governance.

Moreover, the workshop hosted an important event for strengthen international cooperation; based on the CNRD agreement, a bilateral agreement between ASU, Egypt and UASLP, Mexico was launched with the presence of the Egyptian Consulate of the Egyptian Embassy in Mexico and the Rector of UASLP.



Urban Gardening in Cairo, Egypt


Group picture of the workshop participants

July 11, 2016

CNRD Training of Trainers Workshop at Vietnam Academy for Water Resources in Hanoi

The Vietnam Academy for Water Resources (VAWR) hosted from June 18th to June 20th the CNRD Training of Trainers Workshop „Modern Higher Education Didactics“. The workshop was aiming to equip multipliers from the Asian CNRD partner universities with the latest approaches in higher education didactics. The workshop was conducted by two Vietnamese trainers, Mr. Nguyen Duc Danh, Ph.D. from the Ho Chi Minh City University of Education and Ms. Nguyen Thi Tuyet Mai, PhD, associated professor at the National Economics University, Hanoi.. A large number of lecturers from the VAWR and its partners participated in the workshop together with five participants from Nepal (TU), Indonesia (UGM) and Bangladesh (IUB). Beside the inputs which were taught in an interactive and participative way four participant teams were able to create a learning sequences base on the problem base learning approach. A lively discussion addressing challenges as well as the active participation led to a productive learning experience and created commitment to apply and promote problem base learning.

CNRD thanks all participants, the trainers and the representatives of the VAWR as well as the staff of VAWR for the successful workshop implementation. CNRD will continue to conduct such workshops in the future.


June 13, 2016

Call for abstracts – Water Security and Climate Change: Challenges and Opportunities in Asia

Achieving water security is one of the major challenges being faced by society today. Asia has been facing many water security
challenges since decades because of multiple drivers such as increasing population, socio economic development, urbanization,
migration, among others. Furthermore, climate change is also creating an additional threat. While significant efforts have been made
by governments in Asia to make societies water-secure; much more work is needed. There is a need for robust water security
enhancement strategies that are grounded in sound scientific evidence, and that will stand the test of time.

This conference is a plattform for engaging leading experts in the region and beyond in discussions on water security issues in Asia in order to facilitate the path towards water-secure societies. The conference is organized by the exceed centers CNRD (Cologne) and SWINDON (Braunschweig) together with the Asian Institute of Technology.

call for abstracts


Prof. Andreas Haarstrick
Scientific Coordinator, Exceed Excellence Center,
TU Braunschweig, Germany
+49 (0) 531-391-3935;

Prof. Mukand S. Babel
Water Engineering and Management
Asian Institute of Technology

Important dates

Registration open: 20 June 2016
Deadline for receiving abstracts: 30 July 2016
Notify authors of selection: 15 August 2016

June 1, 2016

Conference on Forced Migration – environmental and socioeconomic dimensions

The Centers for Natural Resources and Development (CNRD) together with the other four Centers for Excellence in Development Collaboration (exceed) are pleased to invite you to the 1st Exceed Conference “Forced Migration – environmental and socioeconomic dimensions” that will be held on the 19th and 20th of October, 2016 in Berlin, Germany. During the Conference, participants will have the opportunity to present posters on their own. For this purpose, we welcome students, researchers and professionals to submit an abstract until June 15, 2016.

Flyer_Call for Abstracts

Registration and call for abstracts are online on https://exceed.global/
We would be happy to welcome you in Berlin!


April 22, 2016

CNRD representative Dr. Nadir Elagib on a visit to Sudan and Oman

In order to initiate new cooperations and to present the CNRD network to the public, Dr. Nadir Elagib was travelling to Sudan and Oman in March 2016. From March 13-16, he participated in the International Water Conference 2016 (IWC2016) on “Water Resources in Arid Areas: The Way Forward”, which was organized by the Water Research Center at Sultan Qaboos University. His presentation was entitled “Hydro-sociological framework of farmer-drought feedback: Darfur as a case study”. The paper was co-authored by Ammar Ahmed Musa from King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals (KFUPM), Saudi Arabia, and Dr. Hussein M. Sulieman from Gadarif University, Sudan. The conference attracted a large number of keynote speakers, presenters and poster presenters from worldwide to discuss issues distributed in several issues related to surface and sub-surface water hydrology, desalination, water quality and pollution, water conservation and agriculture, wasterwater treatment and reuse, rainwater harvesting, climate change and water resources management. Field visits were also arranged for the participants, including a trip to the Wadi Dayqah Dam. The dam is intended for floodwater use in irrigation, potable domestic water supply, reducing the risk of flood damage and development of tourism sector. It has a reservoir area of 350 ha when it is full with a storage capacity of about 100 MCM.

Wadi Dayqah Dam

Wadi Dayqah Dam

Dr. Nadir Elagib met the director of the Water Research Center at Sultab Qaboos University, Dr. Osman Abdalla. Together, they explored areas of potential collaboration in research, projects, education and project funding in addition to opportunities to get the Water Research Center involved in the CNRD network.

A visit to his home country Sudan concluded Dr. Elagibs trip. There, he met Dr. Khalid Shamboul, Head of Monitoring and Inspection Directorate at the Higher Council of Environment, Urban & Rural Promotion. Venues for collaboration were recognized in view of the diverse projects that the council is involved in and that match the Institute for Technology and Resources Management in the Tropics and Subtropics at TH Köln, which is the coordinating point of the CNRD project.


Meeting with Dr. Osman Abdalla



March 29, 2016

DNRD Spring Seminar 2016

The DNRD Spring Seminar is a platform for our ITT PhD students to inform on their research and preliminary results. The seminar aims at producing fruitfull discussions among peers, and in this way helping our students to improve their work and their capacities.

The seminar takes place on April 7th, 2016 and April 14th, 2016 in room ZS-7-10 at TH Köln, IWZ, 7th floor.

Schedule for presentations; Date: Thurs., 14.04.2016
Mr. Nazmul Huq Unlocking the Potentials of Water-Ecosystem-Livelihood Nexus for Climate Change Resilience: A Study on Wetland Agricultural Community in Southern Bangladesh Prof. Dr. Lars Ribbe Prof. Dr. Antje Bruns (University of Trier)
Mr. Tekalegn Ayele Woldesenbet Assessing the impact of land cover and climate change on water resources availability on upper Blue Nile River basin, Ethiopia Prof. Dr. Lars Ribbe Prof. Dr. Jürgen Heinrich (University of Leipzig)
Ms. Viet Ha Nguyen Pro Urban water planning in Vu Gia – Thu Bon river basin Prof. Dr. Sabine Schlüter Prof. Dr. Klaus Frohberg (University of Bonn)
Ms. Paula Villegas Gonzales Integrated modeling of the Mojana eco-region as a contribution to the management of water resources Prof. Dr. Johannes Hamhaber Prof. Dr. Nelson Obregon Neira
Dr. Jorge Alberto Escobar Vargas
Schedule for presentations; Date: Thurs., 14.04.2016
Mr. Muhammad Khalifa Development of an Integrated Model for Water Basin Water-Food Security Nexus in the Blue Nile Basin Prof. Dr. Lars Ribbe Prof. Dr. Karl Schneider (University of Cologne)
Ms. Ngoc Uyen Nguyen Thi Harmonizing multi-sectorial water management with minimum inflow requirements in a human impacted Central Vietnamese river basin Prof. Dr. Lars Ribbe Prof. Dr. Karl Schneider (University of Cologne)
Ms. Teresa Arce Mojica Developing a methodological approach for assessing ecosystem vulnerability in Mexico in the context of Disaster Risk Reduction Dr. Udo Nehren Prof. Dr. Dieter Anhuf (University Passau)
Mr. Tun Tun Thein Development and application of a methodology for low flow assessment in the Mekong River basin Prof. Dr. Lars Ribbe Prof. Dr. Mariele Evers (University of Bonn)


March 29, 2016

Karibu Kenya! Welcome to Kenya!

To learn Kiswahili was not included in the Master Thesis Plan, but after the first month of her field research in the Kirinyaga County in Kenia, Giomar Hidalgo has learnt more than expected. Supported by a CNRD scholarship, she is conducting research for her master thesis “Land Degradation in the Agro-Ecological Zones of the Thiba Catchment: Potentials for Payment of Watershed Services in Restoration Measures and Adaptation Strategies to Climate Variability” (Supervisors: Dr. Rui Pedroso (ITT), Prof. Dr. Lars Ribbe (ITT), Prof. Dr. James Kung’u (Kenyatta University) on site.
“The opportunity to make field research abroad is providing me a lot of valuable knowledge, due to the direct contact with the farmers and local institutions. The people are very cooperative when they hear that I am an exchange student and that I am doing my research in Soil and Water conservation practices”, says Gio. 

Working with the water Representative User Association Committee

Working with the water Representative User Association Committee

We say Good Luck for your future research in Kenya!

On the field Mt. Kenia Forest

On the field Mt. Kenya Forest

March 14, 2016

Interview with CNRD Alumni Dr. Bhone Nay Htoon

Bhone Nay Htoon, Dr.rer.nat.

Bhone Nay Htoon, Dr.rer.nat.

We are happy to announce that ITT Alumni and CNRD stipendiary Bhone Nay Htoon, Dr.rer.nat., received his PhD degree. He concluded his doctoral research in 2015 and graduated the Dr.rer.nat. degree in January 2016. With the help of the CNRD scholarship program and the international master education in the program TERMA VN (Technology and Resources Management in the Tropics and Subtropics – Focus Vietnam), he got an excellent framework to study water resources management through a holistic approach considering both technical and socioeconomic problems of resources use with a focus on Vietnam. With his PhD, he joins the league of experts who are needed to deal with multiple problems of water resources management and who have knowledge of the practices of project funding and international cooperation.

To give an insight in his academic career, we got the chance to ask him some questions on his personal and professional development.

Please explain your focus during your studies at ITT:

Three years after my B.Agr.Sc graduation in 2010, I had the chance to join the International M.Sc. program TERMA VN at ITT, TH Köln, Germany, and Vietnam Academy for Water Resources. Water Resources has always been my area of interest and I was lucky to get financial support through a DAAD and CNRD scholarship. During my studies, I also did research focusing on irrigation water productivity in central Vietnam in the German Government funded international research project “Land Use and Climate Change Interaction” (LUCCi) at ITT. My M.Sc. thesis focused on economically and agronomically higher water use efficient rice production in Vietnam.

How did you benefit from your time and your degree at ITT?

ITT provided me with the chance to participate in cultural exchanges. I could stay one year in Vietnam and one year in Germany. Also, I got the chance to work for the LUCCi project, therefore, I’ve learned a lot on international project collaborations and international cultural exchanges. In terms of technical and theoretical knowledge, I got a very good understanding on how to approach a problem from a systematical point of view.

How did you proceed after your degree at ITT?

Soon after my M.Sc. at ITT, I was employed as a PhD. Student at University of Bayreuth, working for the DFG funded TERRECO project. I worked as scientific assistant for the Department of Agroecosystem Research, BayCEER, Uni Bayreuth, and Research assistant of Department of Plant Ecology, University of Bayreuth.

Please specify shortly the topic and the results of your PHD thesis

My PhD thesis is the follow up of my M.Sc. work of ITT, TH Köln. During my M.Sc., I worked on water use efficiency of rice from Agricultural economic and Agronomic perspectives. For my PhD, I worked on water use efficiency of rice from agronomic as well as ecosystem perspectives, by balancing crop yield, crop water use, carbon dioxide and the water cycle of agroecosystems. The main finding of the PhD study is that water saving rice production methods can save water but release significantly large amount of CO2 through soil and plan respiration process. On the other hand, conventional flooded paddy rice consumes a lot of water and emits CH4 gases, but very few CO2 was released through respiration processes. Therefore, to maintain higher agronomic water use efficiency (i.e., grian yield/water use) of rice with less negative ecosystem impacts (i.e., balanced green house gas emission, ecosystem carbon and water cycle), we need a detailed regional analysis of Greenhouse gas emission, trade-offs, water and carbon cycle trade-offs of different water saving rice production methods and conventional paddy rice production methods.

March 9, 2016

Curriculum Development for MSc program “Resource Efficient Cities”

The 3rd workshop on the Curriculum Development of the Interdisciplinary Master Program “Resource Efficient Cities” (IMaREC) was hosted by ASU in Cairo, Egypt during the period 29th Feb – 3rd March 2016. Three partner universities of the CNRD network have participated in the workshop: TH Köln, Germany; KU, Kenya; and UASLP, Mexico.

The opening public seminar introduced IMaREC – as a part of CNRD activities – to more than 80 students (undergraduate and postgraduate), staff members and a representative of the DAAD Cairo office. Three initial presentations by professors from TH Köln, KU, and UASLP invited discussion on sustainable urban development, urban system metabolism, and the resource efficient city.

The workshop took place in a very constructive and friendly atmosphere and concluded by an excursion to SEKEM organization for organic industries as a role model for sustainable development. With inputs on system theory, creative thinking methods and didactics, the group produced a full curricular structure and the requirements of the M.Sc. program in terms of study tracks, levels, modules, credits, and awards. The drafted setup is built from core modules, three major track lines, a set of tools and methods modules, aligned with an interdisciplinary project module. The full program description with all technical terms and the detailed module handbook are currently under development to apply for approval with the authorities before end of March 2016 and subsequent accreditation, with the target to launch the full program this fall at ASU in Cairo, and to later roll it out to the CNRD partners.

IMaREC workshop participants

IMaREC workshop participants

November 30, 2015

CNRD scholarship holder successfully defended his PhD thesis

We are happy to announce that CNRD stipendiary Dr. Arun Kumar Pratihast received his PhD degree on the 12th of October, 2015, in line with his public defense at Wageningen University, Netherlands. Next to the supervisor Prof. Dr. M. Herold (Wageningen University), Prof. Dr. Lars Ribbe, ITT Executive Director and CNRD coordinator, co-supervised his thesis “Interactive community-based tropical forest monitoring using emerging technologies”. Dr. Pratihast made a highly important contribution to the investigation of community-based data and forest degradation monitoring. The main goal of the thesis was to develop an approach that combines emerging technologies and community-based observations for tropical forest monitoring. The overall conclusion is that emerging technologies, such as smartphones, Web-GIS and social media, incorporated with user friendly interface improve the interactive participation of local communities in forest monitoring and decrease errors in data collection. The results show that community-based monitoring can provide data on forest carbon stocks, forest area changes as well as data that help to understand local drivers of emissions. The thesis also shows, in theory and in practice, how local data can be used to link with medium and high resolution remote sensing satellite images for an operational near real-time forest monitoring system at a local scale.

Dr. Aruns results have been of major use for the LUCCi project. One of his case studies was located in Vietnam, the other one in Ethiopia.


PhD defense Dr Pratihast