New course of studies established: Biosphere Reserves as Learning Locations for Sustainable Development

HNEE, October 2020
UNESCO biosphere reserves are model regions and learning sites for sustainable development. However, many areas around the world are still a long way from achieving this goal. Well-trained managers are needed here. With a new English-language master’s degree program, students at the Eberswalde University for Sustainable Development (HNEE) will receive the required know-how.

Biosphere Reserves Management (BIOM) – this is the name of the English-language Master’s program offered for the first time this winter semester at the Eberswalde University for Sustainable Development (HNEE). The first English language Master’s program in the world that specifically deals with management in biosphere reserves is part of the service offering of the Biosphere Reserves Institute at the HNEE. Founded in 2019, the Institute aims to support UNESCO Biosphere Reserves in better fulfilling their mission as learning sites for sustainable development by embedding them in teaching, research and advisory services.

This winter semester 20 students have started at the HNEE. About half of them come from abroad. “Central contents are the understanding of interactions between ecological and social systems, the knowledge of political framework conditions as well as the learning of important management instruments and excellent communication and cooperation skills”, explains Dr. Katja Arzt, coordinator of the new study program. With a view to the current world situation, the loss of biodiversity, structural problems of many rural areas and climate change, the new study program at the HNEE is a contribution to finding solutions. “Sustainability has long since ceased to be a niche concept, but rather a demand on all areas of human life. This is reflected in the adoption of the United Nations’ sustainability goals. The UNESCO biosphere reserves are ideal places to put these into practice,” says Erik Aschenbrand, newly appointed professor at the HNEE for international nature conservation and UNESCO biosphere reserves.

A French counterpart has already been in place at the University of Toulouse since 2012: “We welcome the fact that there is now also an English-language program at the HNEE, in which we will be active as partners. I am convinced that BIOM will be as successful as our offer, not least because we have found that the majority of our students have found significant jobs in the field of nature conservation and sustainable development,” says Catherine Cibien, member of the French National Committee of the UNESCO program “Man and the Biosphere” (MAB).


Overview of contents of the HNEE Masters Program Biosphere Reserves Management (BIOM)
Master program at the University of Toulouse
UNESCO Program “Man and the Biosphere” (MAB)