DAAD East-West Dialogue 2020: University Dialogue with countries of the Western Balkan

UNESCO Biosphere Reserves as model sites for sustainable development

Due to the travel restrictions to contain the Coranavirus pandemic, the DAAD Summer School originally planned for 2020 (see also DAAD East-West Dialogue 2019) was unfortunately cancelled. Alternatively, the project team decided to implement two packages of digital measures which supported the two main project topics as well as our original project objectives:

Meeting des Projektteams am Skutarisee (Albanien), November 2019, © J. Kloiber
Meeting of project team at Shkoder Lake (Albania), November 2019, © J. Kloiber

A. Integration of Conservation Standards into academic teaching and research

The Teaching Adaptive Management Network (TAM) in Europe offered a platform for all universities that have established a course for Adaptive Management/Conservation Standard (AM/CS) or are interested in establishing one. TAM supports networking and exchange of experience as well as the development of further cooperation between the participating universities and with the associated coaching network CCNet Europe. The following measures were implemented remotely resp. virtually:

  • Individual technical support to partner universities;
  • Development of teaching materials (real-world application);
  • Strategic Planning TAM Europe and European TAM-Meeting.


B. Potentials of UNESCO Biosphere Reserves as model sites for sustainable development

In consultation with the biosphere.centre, the following measures were implemented along the second thematic priority:

  • Assessment of the status quo and possibilities for integrating the topic into the academic teaching and research of the partner universities;
  • Conception of contents and coordination of methodological tools;
  • Production of digital teaching materials;
  • Post-processing, including a standardized design framework;
  • Set-up of the Youtube channel Biosphere.Share which was launched in November 2020.

Contributions on the history of protected area concepts, milestones of international agreements for nature conservation and sustainable development and the foundation of the UNESCO MAB programme provide an introduction to the topic, followed by explanations of management, functional zoning schemes or possible organizational structures of biosphere reserves. Further presentations provide information on ecosystem-based planning approaches, public participation or green economies. The topics were prepared in the form of slide casts (presentations with audio commentary and pictures of the teacher), statements or ‘selfie videos’, on-site interviews or mini-documentaries. The individual contributions are bundled in a standardized framework design as an online course and exchanged among the project partners.


Project objectives:

  1. Further education of the partners through international cooperation in teaching;
  2. Fostering practice-oriented academic teaching in ecosystem management with the involvement of conservation practitioners;
  3. Strengthening the existing network to introduce long-term partnerships with a portfolio of joint teaching and research.


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

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

Project Duration: 03 – 12 2020

Website: Centre for Econics and Ecosystem Management

The project is financed by the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD)
by means of the German Federal Foreign Office