Sharing of knowledge between universities Funding for Centers for Natural Resources and Development (CNRD) at TH Köln
For more than ten years the Centers for Natural Resources and Development at TH Köln (University of Applied Sciences) have been connecting universities worldwide with a focus on teaching and research on the management of natural resources. 34 scientific institutions are currently cooperating within the network. CNRD is now being funded for another three years through the exceed program of the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) in order to pass on its many years of experience to new exceed centers.
With the exceed program, the DAAD promotes cooperation with reference to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) between German universities and universities in countries in the global south. In 2009 the funding started with five projects – including the CNRD, coordinated by Prof. Dr. Lars Ribbe from the Institute for Technology and Resource Management in the Tropics and Subtropics (ITT). For a further funding phase, seven new projects have now been selected, which benefit from the experience of the preceding projects.
“The CNRD network has grown steadily since it was founded and today supports multilateral master -, doctoral – and online programs, conducts cooperative research projects and regularly organizes specialist conferences. In particular, it has designed a model for integrating teaching, research, transfer and application in the form of living laboratories, that are currently being implemented with numerous partners worldwide. We are pleased to pass on this management knowledge to the new exceed centers”, says Professor Ribbe, former head of the ITT and currently founding dean of the Faculty for Spatial Development and Infrastructure Systems.
In addition to the transfer of expertise, the CNRD will also continue its previous activities.
In October 2019, the Water Security and Climate Change conference series was successfully continued at the Autonomous University of San Luis Potosí, Mexico. About 160 participants from around 30 nations participated in 15 thematic sessions. The WSCC is characterized by an interdisciplinary and multi-actor approach. Thus, on the one hand, the WSCC provides a platform for scientific exchange, and on the other hand, it serves as a forum for discourse between stakeholders from policy, society and academia regarding the most pressing issues related to climate change.
The WSCC 2019 followed the concept of the previous conferences in 2016-2018 by holding numerous technical sessions on e.g. groundwater, water quality, water and energy nexus, and the impacts of climate change. But also the role of Sustainable Development Goals, urban water management, nature-based solutions, food security and social science perspectives were discussed.
Particular pleasing was the high proportion of young scientists from Asia, South and Central America as well as Africa who were able to present their research in the WSCC funded through the German Academic Exchange Service’s Exceed program. CNRD, ITT and TH Köln as co-organizers of the conference series look forward to the next WSCC in 2020/21.
From October 31st to November 2nd 2019, the members of the CNRD gathered at the Autonomous University of San Luis Potosí, Mexico, in order to present the network to external stakeholders, reflect CNRD’s results of the past as well as promoting future activities. The meeting was attended by some 25 participants from 14 nations to foster the cooperation. Particular attention was paid to the following issues: (1) The expansion of the IWRMnet, an association of CNRD members that intends to join forces in Integrated Water Resources Management and develop joint teaching modules for this purpose; (2) the promotion of the interdisciplinary Master course on Resource Efficient Cities (IMaREC), which is to be established at various universities within the CNRD network; and (3) joint activities on Natural Resources Management for Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaptation.
Furthermore, two new partner institutions were welcomed to the CNRD at this year’s ANM. These are the Asian Institute of Technology (Thailand) and the University of West Indies, Centre for Resource Management and Environmental Studies – CERMES (Barbados). At this point it is also worth mentioning that immediately after the network meeting CNRD was confirmed a further financing phase (2020-2022) by the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), in order to sustain the network activities and to support the development of new Exceed networks. We are thus looking forward to a fruitful cooperation in the future.
Scientists, policy makers and stakeholders from various sectors discuss the diverse facets of water security and its relation to climate variability and change.
The availability of water affects many of mankind’s social and economic actions and is an essential component of ecosystems. Hence, water security is one of the major challenges faced by society today, on both a global and local level. Additionally, impacts of climate change and water-related hazards are increasingly decisive for well-being, poverty, conflict or peace and have become a key component of social development.
Water security as well as climate change are cross-cutting elements of recent global agreements, such as the Sustainable Development Goals, the Paris Agreement on Climate Change and the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction. Science should and can play an important role in contributing to the achievement of these goals.
The Water Security and Climate Change Conference (WSCC) strives to go beyond science and build bridges between various disciplines and sectors as well as different groups of stakeholders. Serving as a platform for discussions about water secure societies, by providing a stimulating environment with the intention of yielding innovative ideas and grounds for implementation, the WSCC is continuing a series of successful conferences in Bangkok, Cologne and Nairobi.
In 2019, WSCC is convened by the Universidad Autónoma de San Luis Potosí on behalf of the Exceed network, which consists of more than 90 universities worldwide. More information in www.watersecurity.info
Effectively contributing towards the achievement of the IWRM principles in the future, strengthening the relationship between partners from various countries and contexts by exchanging personal skills, knowledge and approaches as well as understanding the common challenges educators encounter, were the objectives of the “Training of Trainers Workshop on Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM)” at the Independent University, Bangladesh (IUB) in October 2018 which was supported by CNRD.
The consultative workshop was co-organized by the School of Environmental Science and Management (SESM) at the Independent University, Bangladesh (IUB) and the ITT. In five days experts and faculty members from the ITT; the SESM IUB; the University of Gadjah Mada, Indonesia; the University of Khartoum, Sudan; and the Vietnam Academy for Water Resources, Vietnam were trained on innovative learning methods including an e-learning tool as well as developing relevant learning outcomes and effective assessment for IWRM courses. With the help of several case studies the concepts, policies, tools and issues presented in the IWRM modules and problem and research-based learning in IWRM were illustrated. The participants presented some of the on-going IWRM capacity building initiatives undertaken in their respective countries, proposed follow-up plans for translating, customizing and disseminating the manuals at national level and had the chance to carry out a brief participatory discussion in a field situation on a boat trip from Ashulia to Sadarghat.
The workshop was inaugurated by Professor M. Omar Rahman (Honorable Vice Chancellor, Independent University, Bangladesh) and facilitated by Susanne Glaeser (Team Leader, Center for Teaching Development at TH Cologne, Germany) and Günther Straub (Coordinator, Center for Natural Resources and Development, Germany).
Additionally, opening remarks were delivered by Dr. Saleemul Huq (Director, International Center for Climate Change and Development (ICCCAD) at IUB) and Dr. Md. Abdul Khaleque (Dean, SESM, IUB) outlined the key components of the CNRD-IUB partnership and set emphasis on the importance of the training. A keynote speech was presented by Dr. Mashfiqus Salehin (Professor, Institute of Flood and Water Management at Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (BUET)) in which he delineated the current IWRM practices and challenges in Bangladesh.
From 08 to 12 October this year’s CNRD Annual Network Meeting (ANM) took place in Cologne, Germany. Almost 60 CNRD members, the CNRD advisory board, cooperation partners, as well as ITT companions from 27 countries discussed the strategy and structure of the network as well as future perspectives. During the week the CNRD partners had many opportunities to identify and discuss common interests and strengthen future collaborations. In an interdisciplinary session, the CNRD members were joined by a group of ITT Alumni in order to create synergies and to intensify the rooting of CNRD.
We are especially happy about the confirmation of many new CNRD partners – such as the German Jordanian University (Jordan), National University of Sciences and Technology (Pakistan), Qatar University (Quatar), Sultan Qaboos University (Oman), University of Cuenca (Ecuador), Pontifica Universidad Católica de Chile (Chile), University of Costa Rica (Costa Rica), State University of Rio de Janeiro (Brazil), Universidad de La Frontera (Chile), University of Zambia (Zambia), Yezin Agricultural University (Myanmar). This further expansion of the network corresponds to the open character of the CNRD, testifies the success of the cooperation and gives further impetus for the future.
We are pleased to announce that abstracts can now be submitted for the Water Security and Climate Change (WSCC) Conference 2018; organized by Kenyatta University, the International Network on Sustainable Water Management in Developing Countries – SWINDON (TU Braunschweig), the Centers for Natural Resources and Development – CNRD (TH Köln) and the Food Security Center – FSC (University Hohenheim).
The WSCC 2018 takes up the “bridge-building” aspect of the WSCC 2017 and preserves continuity by serving as a platform for discussions towards water secure societies. The environment shall be a stimulus for discussing new and innovative ideas with special attention to SDGs dealing with “Zero Hunger and Food Security”, “Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation”, “Clean Water and Sanitation”, “Sustainable Cities and Communities”, and “Combat climate change and its impacts”.
The expert track of the MOOC on “Disasters and Ecosystems: Resilience in a Changing Climate” by the UN Environment program and the TH Köln is going live next week! 15.01.2018
Disaster has multifold impact e.g., losses of lives, devastating impact on infrastructure, damage ecosystem and undermine the development. On the top of this, Climate change is expected to aggravate existing disaster risks in many regions of the world. There is a need for increased awareness amongst practitioners, policymakers and researchers on the latest advances in disaster risk reduction (DRR) and climate change adaptation (CCA). The idea of this MOOC is to deepen the knowledge on ecosystem management, resilience and transformation, climate change adaptation to bring into practice for disaster risk reduction and for sustainable development.
This track is for professionals and students who seek more in-depth learning and skill development in applying ecosystem-based tools for disaster risk reduction and adaptation. The Expert Track consists of 15 units with video- presentations and accompanying self-study booklets, quizzes and a peer reviewed final assessment. The Expert Track runs over four weeks, with four hours per week.
The CNRD completed its 7th Annual Meeting, from the 20th to 24th November 2017 in Bali, Indonesia. This year’s network meeting, hosted by the Universitas Gadjah Mada (UGM), brought together 17 CNRD university partners and the Adivsory board to plan the activities for 2018 and to revise the network fundamentals for a sound future perspective. The development of a sustainable network concept was a prevalent topic throughout the 5 days, and was adressed in the welcome notes by the vice-president of the TH Köln, Sylvia Heuchemer, the dean of the Faculty of Geography at UGM, Muh Aris Marfai and CNRD project lead and director of ITT, Lars Ribbe.
Three new CNRD partners were confirmed during the ANM, namely the University of Cape Coast, Ghana, the University of Wisconsin – Stevens Point, USA and the Shahid Beheshti University, Iran. The fact that all new partners will be integrated into the activities 2018 is a milestone in the consolidation of a prospering network. New working groups were formed and common interests have been transferred into joint workshops and other activities.
CNRD Members in an ideation session to create concepts for a sustainable network.
Lars Ribbe, Director of the ITT (TH Köln) moderating a value-creation session
Members in a user-centric workshop to derive the core values of the CNRD Network
Members in a user-centric workshop to derive the core values of the CNRD Network
Members in a user-centric workshop to derive the core values of the CNRD Network
Recent events, such as flooding in South Asia and Texas in the United States have led to a great amount of discussion about the role that urban sprawl and the loss of green spaces and wetlands played in aggravating these disasters. It is critical that we learn more about the links between development and disasters through improved ecosystem management. This is what the Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) on “Disasters and Ecosystems: Resilience in a Changing Climate” is about, and we are re-launching it with new materials and interviews with global leaders.
When UN Environment and the TH Köln – University of Applied Sciences first launched the MOOC on “Disasters and Ecosystems: Resilience in a Changing Climate” in January 2015, no one could have anticipated its success. The first round of the course had over 12,000 participants from 183 countries. The participants took the initiative to create their own online community with now over 13,000 followers, where people share their stories of working with ecosystems to build resilience. For example, in India, Heba Anna Philip prepares farming communities for floods by introducing growbags that provide vegetables even if their fields are under water. And, in Pakistan, Dr. Naeem Shahzad at the National University of Sciences and Technology developed a new graduate programme based on what is covered in the course.
Erik Solheim, UN Environment Executive Director, in this MOOC, tells the story of Ravi Sangarappilai at the Disaster Management Center in northern Sri Lanka who started a campaign to improve coastal protection by planting hectares of mangroves. The MOOC also includes exclusive interviews from Inger Andersen, Director General of the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Robert Glasser, Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Disaster Risk Reduction.
The MOOC explores the linkages between ecosystems, disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation. It aims to enhance knowledge and skills for tackling these complex issues and how they can be operationalized through ecosystem-based solutions for promoting disaster risk reduction, climate change resilience and adaptation.
It is designed for disaster managers and practitioners, natural resources managers, climate change adaptation professionals, development planners, project implementers, policymakers and students from around the globe.
The MOOC has been launched on September 18, 2017.You will have access to 6 units of the “leadership track” and will receive our certificate free of charge upon completion. The course will take approximately 20-30 hours to complete. It is self-paced (no time pressure) and available for the next six months. The expert track will start on November 20, 2017 live from Bali, Indonesia, where you will have access to 15 more units with more in-depth learning. This MOOC is hosted on the Asian Disaster Preparedness Center (ADPC) platform.