Successful First Summer School on Climate Change in Hue, Vietnam

2. October 2017

For the first time, 29 young academics, environmental activists, and students from five Vietnamese provinces got together for 3 days in Hue City to learn, share their knowledge and discuss about climate change and its impacts in Central Vietnam.  Beside the Mekong Delta, also Central Vietnam is very exposed to risks of climate change, like extreme rain and storms, flooding, but also droughts and extreme heat. The First Summer School on Climate Issues in Central Vietnam, funded by the Robert Bosch Foundation, was organized by the Mientrung Institute from the Academy of Sciences of Vietnam in cooperation with UfU. There were 10 speakers from four countries presenting: inter alia, Dr. Jakob Schewe from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK), Germany, Dr. Heidi Weiskel, Marine Biologist from the Environmental Law Alliance Worldwide (ELAW), USA, Chochoe Devaporihartakula from the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies (IGES), Thailand, and Dr. Katrin Brömme from the University of Bochum, Germany.

During the 3 days program, interesting debates and discussion came up, for example if Vietnam is strong enough to meet its targets from the Paris Agreement, if the objectives to increase coal power counteracts the achievement oft he targets. One oft he participants, Mr. Nguyen Thanh Huy from the Management Center of the Cham Islands Marine Protected Area, a local NGO, got to the heart of the problem by stating that Vietnam needs much more effort on climate protection, but it also needs desperately economic growth. Up to now both issues do not fit together.

The Summer School did not only include presentations from climate experts, but also elements that gave the participants the opportunity for active exchange among each other, like a World Café and short presentations from the participants on their research interests and possible solutions for climate impacts in their provinces. A further part of the Summer School focused on research approaches and model projects on climate issues in Vietnam. Here, the CPEP project on bioenergy crops cultivation on closed mining sites which is implemented by UfU in cooperation with the University of Bochum and funded by the International Climate Initiative (IKI) from the German Federal Environmental Ministry, was presented by Fabian Stolpe (UfU) and Dr. Katrin Brömme (Bochum University). The following discussion showed the high interest of the participants on more practical solutions in Vietnam.

The participants also acknowledged the good organizational work of Ms. Binh Minh from the Mientrung Institute (a former UfU fellow) with resounding applause. The participants announced that they want to stay in contact and initiated the idea of the creation of a network of Summer School attendees. With the promise to promote this idea in the Robert Bosch Foundation, Dr. Michael Zschiesche (UfU), who was mainly responsible for the development of the concept for the Summer School and the invitation of speakers and participants, closed the First Summer School on Climate Issues in Central Vietnam.

Further information and contact:

Dr. Michael Zschiesche

New Book: International Environmental Law Cases

  1. September 2017

Usually people speak of trials as being tasteless and boring whereas behind the scenes we often find the fate of people, impressive stories and human suffer as well as sensitive tragedies. Also nature could tell us those stories considering that it is being exploited and destroyed thousands of times and each day on a world wide scale.

In a unique project a group of young students from the Department of Design at the HAW Hamburg aims together with UfU to express legal conflicts through the language of graphic novels picking up the topic of nature devastation. Each story is based on a case that has been judged at court.

– The Arctic Sunrise Case, pp 13 – 103
– The Amatique Bay Case, pp 104 – 125
– Gold Mining ih the Petaquilla Mineral District, pp 127 – 214

Editors: Karl Stracke, Michael Zschiesche (UfU e.V.) ; Alexandra Kardinar, Reinhard Schulz- Schaeffer (HAW Hamburg)

Berlin 2017

If you wish to order the book, please send an e-mail to:

News from Bulgaria and Romania: Energy saving projects continue

03 August 2017

In April and May milestones of the project “Climate protection through energy efficiency” have been achieved. In Sofia students and teachers from the pilot schools presented their interim results from the project on a milestone conference. A few weeks later workshops for municipalities in Bucharest took place.

During the conference in Sofia it was easy to see that the knowledge transfer that was among others realized through a study travel to Berlin and teacher trainings in Bulgaria has worked well. The schools showed a lot of dedication to the project. Some of them had put together several energy teams instead of just one. One student even programmed a virtual panoramic view of his school for their presentation. In one school the energy team performed measurements every day for weeks in order to create a building energy pass.

It was conspicuous that the probably poorest pilot school, the Hristo Masimov School, showed the most dedication to the project because it had already taken some energy saving measurements.

You could see from the posters the students made and from the pedagogical execution of the project that the guidelines from UfU had been used a lot. The Bulgarian partner had translated and distributed them.

In Bucharest the participants of two workshops for municipalities worked on the implementation of an incentive system for schools within the project.

During a smaller workshop only with the pilot municipality with Mures German experiences with measures for the participation of the community in environmental projects were presented and discussed.

One day later the bigger “Workshop”, the conference for municipalities, took place. Also in Bucharest students told the audience about what they had learned and they made it clear that the support of the authorities was vital to the success of the energy saving projects – not least because a Romanian energy efficiency law obliges schools and ministries to take part in energy efficiency measures of the country.

In the further course of the conference schools and representatives of the municipalities exchanged ideas on potential incentive systems.

Furthermore, in the afternoon wishes and goals of the participants of the conference were collected and matched with responsibilities to the individual project actors.

In both cities , Sofia and Bucharest, students performed measurements in the room of the event to emphasize the practical aspect of the energy saving project.

First Summer School 2017: Climate Change Issues in Central Vietnam

01 August 2017

With the support of Robert Bosch Foundation Stuttgart/Germany, the Mientrung Institute for Scientific Research (MISR) in cooperation with the Independent Institute for Environmental Issues (UfU, Berlin/Germany) organizes the first summer school on climate protection, climate change and consequences in Central Vietnam.

Time: 29, 30 September and 1 October 2017
Venue: Green Hotel, Le Loi Street, Hue City
Language: English and Vietnamese
Programme: in english

Participants: We are interested in your contribution! Please apply!

– max. 30 years of age, living and working from Ha Tinh province to Quang Ngai province
– employee of NGO’s, institutes and universities
– good English reading, writing and speaking skills

Participants from outside Hue City will be supported with reimbursement of travel costs and free accommodation in Hue City during the summer school.

How to apply:

Step 1: The Candidates have to write a short statement on one of two following questions:
a) Which issue related to climate-change in Central Vietnam still needs to be solved? Please justify your choice.
b) Please formulate a research question on relevant climate change issues in Central Vietnam that still needs further investigation. Please justify your choice.

Step 2: Send your statement via e-mail to: and with the e-mail subject “Application for summer school of climate protection and climate change in Central Vietnam”. The statement should be written within 2 A4-pages.

Deadline: 20/08/2017


New UfU Project mobilizes the Co-Benefits of Climate Change Mitigation

21 April 2017

With the ratification of the Paris climate agreement from 2015, member states of the UNFCCC made the committment to implement national plans for climate change mitigation and adaptation (NDCs). The promotion of renewable energies is an important part of these plans, but is also essential to meet development targets.

From a „yes“ to wind- and solar power does not only profit the climate: The priorization of renewables goes along with social and economic opportunities, the so-called co-benefits.

These opportunities include public health, the protection of natural resources, improved energy safety, accelerating access to electricity, improved investment opportunities and local value-creation.

Climate and energy policies in countries with a fastly growing energy demand, like India, South Africa, Vietnam and Turkey are currently at the crossroads. Their decisions on energy investments can create path dependencies for decades to come.

In national discussions about future energy policies, co-benefits are important arguments which can support the decision for more renewable energies. They can contribute positively to enter a sustainable and climate-friendly development path.

Here it is especially important that co-benefits do not stay abstract and un-specific, but are tailored to meet the political and social needs in the individual countries.

The new UfU project COBENEFITS starts here by offering ministries, public authorities and non-governmental organizations in its project countries a „tailor-made“ consulting to this topic.

In collaboration with national knowledge partners in India, South Africa, Vietnam and Turkey, the project elaborates country specific co-benefits of climate policies, with emphasis on the opportunities presented by renewable power generation.

Read more about the project


Project starts: Bio-energy crops on post-mining sites in Vietnam

20 November 2015

On November 19, 2015, the kick off event for the new UfU climate protection project took place in Hanoi, Vietnam. A small delegation from the German Parliament (Klaus Mindrup, SPD, and Karsten Möring, CDU, both environmental committee), the director of the department for resource and water protection of the German Environmental Ministry Dr. Helge Wendenburg, the head of the devision for soil protection of the German Environmental Ministry Andreas Bieber, the vice president of the Vietnamese Environmental Administration (VEA) Dr. Tung, and 50 Vietnamese and German experts attended the event.

Prof. Dr. Dang Thi Cam Ha, director of the Institute for biotechnology of the Vietnamese Academy of Sciences pointed out that Vietnam needs exactly this project for the solution of complex challenges in the field of climate protection. The VEA vice president Dr. Tung refered in ist opening speach to the Vietnamese Green Growth Strategy and highlighted the importance of the project for the implementation of the new agreement between the German and the Vietnamese Environmental Ministries. Klaus Mindrup (SPD) stated that Germany will support Vietnam to meet the needs of climate adaptation in accordance with the International Climate Inititiative funded by the German Environmental Ministry. Dr. Helge Wendenburg highlighted the landmark character of the new project.

A remarkable result of the kick off workshop was that the post-mining site register that is planned to implement within the project fits perfectly to the work of the Centre for Environmental Information and Documentation (CEID) that started to prepare data collection for such a register already last year. Also the CEID aims to use this data for the planning of reclamation measures on post-,mining sites in Vietnam, meaning that the UfU project contributes to the work of the Vietnamese steakholders. Together with CEID director Dr. Nguyen Quoc Khanh a modell for reclamation of sites can be developped.

In the future, the register will provide information not only for the Vietnamese environmental administration, but also for other authorities like contruction and land-use planning adminisrations and the public. The register is the basis for future decissions on environmental protection and reclamation in the context of mining activities in Vietnam. Furthermore, the planned cultivation of bio-energy crops and their use contribute to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and climate protection.

One of the key objectives of the project is the implementation of transparent and comprehensive communication between Vietnamese experts and stakeholders through the semiannual organisation of expert workshops on the project topics (climate protection, bio-energy, post-mining sites) to strengthen good governance and the integration of cross-sectoral expertise in the project.

Read more about the project

Participants of the Colloquium on the 10 year anniversary of colaboration in environmental protection between the Vietnamese Environmental Ministry and the German Federal Ministry for Environment

New Strategic Partnership between Germany and Vietnam

Participants of the Colloquium on the 10 year anniversary of colaboration in environmental protection between the Vietnamese Environmental Ministry and the German Federal Ministry for Environment

27 October 2014

On the occasion of the 10 year anniversary of official relations between the Ministry for Resource Protection and Environment (MONRE) of Vietnam and the German Federal Ministry for Environment (BMUB), both sides reinforced their commitment to further enhance their cooperation. Secretary of State Adler of the BMUB emphasized the interest of Germany to expand the strategic partnership with Vietnam also to the topic of environmental protection. The strategic partnership has been in existence since 2011.UfU has been actively involved in the relationship between MONRE and the BMUB since 2004.

Between the 15th and the 22nd of October, UfU organized three workshops on the topics of “Standard Setting in Soil Protection, “Industrial Watermanagement”, which served at the same time as the “2nd German-Vietnamese Water Forum”, as well as a colloquium for the presentation of new environmental projects in Vietnam with the participation of the UfU and the GIZ. The one-week session brought 250 persons from state agencies, NGOs, scientific institutes and ministries together. In the years to come, UfU is still going to play an important role in environmental protection in Vietnam. For instance, in the context of the session it was announced that UfU shall from 2015 onwards implement a project on energy crops in contaminated areas of Vietnam, which will form part of the international climate initiative.

At the colloquium, eight persons received honors for their outstanding contribution to the cooperation with Vietnam in environmental protection in the last 10 years. Secretary of State Gunther Adler honored among others Dr. Pham Ngoc Han as well as Dr. Michael Zschiesche, both from UfU, for their great achievements in the field of environmental protection for the German-Vietnamese partnership. He emphasized that exceptional relations can only be realized through exceptional commitment. According to the Secretary of State, the two UfU-members have been pioneers in that regard, which deserved his special thanks.

In the context of the one-week gathering of the Vietnamese and German institutions, it was again underscored that in 2015 an appropriate agreement for a new strategic partnership in environmental protection shall be prepared. The agreement shall be signed during a visit of the Vietnamese Environmental Minister in Germany. UfU will actively contribute to this occasion.

The UfU employee Dr. Ngoc Han Pham (2nd left) received honours for his outstanding contribution to the cooperation with Vietnam in environmental protection in the last 10 years, with the German secratary of state Gunther Adler (left), the German ambassador in Vietnam Jutta Frasch (2nd right) and the Vietnamese Deputy Environmental Minister Bui Catch Tuyen (right)

The UfU Director Dr. Michael Zschiesche (middle) received honours for his outstanding contribution to the cooperation with Vietnam in environmental protection in the last 10 years, with the German secratary of state Gunther Adler (left), the German ambassador in Vietnam Jutta Frasch (right) and the Vietnamese Deputy Environmental Minister Bui Catch Tuyen (2nd right)

UfU hosts International Dialogue Conference and ELAW Annual Meeting

The Indian environmental lawyer M.C. Mehta was one of the keynote-speakers during the opening-conference. The founder of the Indian Environmental Court has received, among other honours, the Goldman Environmental Prize and the UNEP Global 500 Award.

20 September 2014

In a one-week international dialogue-conference, participants from 38 countries elaborated on possibilities to utilize legal instruments and participation to reach more justice in the context of resource protection. Among the participants were persons from every continent (except Australia). UfU (department environmental law & participation) and the Heinrich Böll Foundation prepared and designed this year’s conference. For UfU, this conference was not only a great honour but it was also content-wise a highlight to discuss world-wide aspects of participation and legal protection. More than 130 participants took part in the opening event in Berlin entitled “Legal Remedies for Resource Equity”, which utilized formats intended to stimulate participation such as “fish-bowl” and “market-place”. The opening conference was followed by the Environmental Law Alliance Worldwide (ELAW) Annual Meeting including a three days networking and training meeting of international environmental lawyers and activists. For the first time in its history, the network convened in Germany.

At the opening conference on the 15th of September 2014 in Berlin, the world-wide renowned environmental lawyer M.C. Mehta from India called in his key-note for the establishment of an international environmental court in order to effectively address the many cases of cross-border environmental damage. The conference speakers were, furthermore, able to illustrate that it is despite many violations of environmental law possible to achieve improvements through civil-societal engagement and environmental instruments. The case studies from countries such as Kenya, Malaysia, Panama, India, Guatemala, Mexico, China and the Ukraine were further detailed on posters and demonstrated the various dimensions of legal conflicts. Barbara Unmüßig, who was a key-note speaker as well and serves as the Executive Director of the Heinrich Böll Foundation, emphasized in her speech how dangerous can be to actively oppose international corporations and the interests of national governments. According to a study of a British NGO, several hundred people have died world-wide alone in conflicts concerning land-use-rights since 2002.

The dialogue-conference took place in Berlin and Lenzen/Brandenbug.

Read more about the project