DAAD East-West Dialogue programme: Balkan

UNESCO Biosphere Reserves for transboundary ecosystem management and conflict prevention

Bjeshket e Nemuna Mountains, Kosovo, © D. Aschenbrenner
Bjeshket e Nemuna Mountains, Kosovo, © D. Aschenbrenner

UNESCO Biosphere Reserves are an important tool for ecosystem-based biodiversity conservation and sustainable development. At the core of Biosphere Reserve management is the dialogue with stakeholders to ensure their participation in decision-making and for conflict resolution related to natural resource use. They promote ecosystem management to assure the provision of important ecosystem services, which influence human well-being and hence increase local and regional resilience. At the same time, sustainable management of ecosystems can be strongly influenced by social and/or political conflicts, transformation processes and risks.

In this respect, the transboundary area of Bjeshket e Nemuna/ Prokletije between Albania, Kosovo and Montenegro serves as example region of a summer school which is organized by the Centre for Econics and Ecosystem Management. In August 2019 a group of 20 students and 10 lecturers from five partnering universities are invited to participate in the summer school and explore the potentials of UNESCO Biosphere Reserves for transboundary ecosystem management and conflict prevention. From Eberswalde, students of the Bachelor Degree Programs ‘International Forest Ecosystem Management’, ‘Forestry’ and ‘Landscape Management and Nature Conservation’ can select the summer school on facultative basis as a specialization module.

Transboundary ecosystem management thought and discussed by lecturers and students of the summer school in 2018, © D. Aschenbrenner
Participants of the 2018 summer school applying the ‘Open Standards for the Practice of Conservation’, © D. Aschenbrenner

Project objectives:

  1. To increase knowledge and enhance skills of all participants by implementing an international transboundary cooperation in teaching,
  2. To develop prototypes for international practice-oriented academic teaching in transboundary ecosystem management with the involvement of conservation practitioners,
  3. To further strengthen the existing network between the participating universities resulting in long-term partnerships with a portfolio of joint teaching and research.


Lead: Centre for Econics and Ecosystem Management at the University for Sustainbale Development Eberswalde (contact: Judith Kloiber)

Partner: University of Prishtina (Kosovo), University of Tirana (Albania), University of Donja Gorica (Montenegro), Aristotle University of Thessaloniki and University of Ioannina (both Greece).

Project Duration: 2019

Financed: Germany Academic Exchange Service (DAAD)

Website: Centre for Econics and Ecosystem Management