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ZEU researchers investigated who participates in crowdsourced monitoring in Kenya



Forest News, the world’s leading online forestry news platform, recently interviewed the ZEU researchers Suzanne Jacobs and Björn Weeser about their publication on crowdsourced water level monitoring in Kenya’s Sondu-Miriu Basin.


Crowdsourced monitoring approaches are a promising additional tool for water resources management. In order to optimize crowdsourced research frameworks in the future, the ZEU researchers Suzanne Jacobs, Lutz Breuer and Björn Weeser recently investigated who participates in a crowdsourced water monitoring project in Kenya. With their work the researchers were able to demonstrate why people participate, and which obstacles they encountered – valuable information to ensure long-term commitment and sustainable crowdsourced research projects. Read the full interview here:

Crowd-sourced – but from whom? Profiling citizen scientists in a Kenyan water monitoring project

Towards a Better Understanding of Societal Responses to Climate Change


Scholars of archaeology, geography, history and paleoclimatology lay out a new framework for uncovering climate-society interactions

In an article published in Nature, an international team of researchers presents a newly developed framework to address the challenges common to studies of the history of climate and society. By applying their framework, the team uncovers five pathways that helped pre-modern populations adapt to climate change. 

As the signs of today’s human-caused climate change become ever more alarming, research into the ways past societies responded to natural climate changes is growing increasingly urgent. Scholars have often argued that climatic changes plunge communities into crisis and provide the conditions that lead societies to collapse, but a growing body of research shows that the impacts of climate change on past populations are rarely so straightforward.

An international research team, including Dr. Elena Xoplaki from the Institute of Geography and the Centre for International Development and Environmental Research (ZEU) at Justus Liebig University Giessen (JLU), has now presented a framework for researching ‘the History of Climate and Society’ (HCS) in the renowned journal Nature.

"Although the climate changes that historical societies faced were less severe than the changes we face today, these case studies show that communities and societies were often able to adapt and persist in times of climatic change," says Dr Xoplaki. "Today, of course, different and much more ambitious adaptation measures are needed to meet the challenges of unprecedented global warming."

Another finding from the study is that scientists working on the history of climate and society make more convincing connections between climate and human history when they work together in consistent groups across disciplines, relying on consilience.




Title: Towards a Rigorous Understanding of Societal Responses to Climate Change

Authors: Dagomar Degroot, Kevin Anchukaitis, Martin Bauch, Jakob Burnham, Fred Carnegy, Jianxin Cui, Kathryn de Luna, Piotr Guzowski, George Hambrecht, Heli Huhtamaa, Adam Izdebski, Katrin Kleemann, Emma Moesswilde, Naresh Neupane, Timothy Newfield, Qing Pei, Elena Xoplaki, Natale Zappia.

Publication: Nature

DOI: 10.1038/s41586-021-03190-2


Read more (official press release, Justus-Liebig-Universität, in German)


Magdalena Tanzer joined the ZEU team


Jacob Manderbach became a new member of the ZEU team


Dr. Muralidhar Adakudlu joined the ZEU team


Congratulations to Christoph Funk for successfully defending his PhD thesis


ZEU-related economists consider legacy of Soviet Union at Allied Social Science Associations Annual Meeting 2021



Thirty years after the collapse of the Soviet Union, the successor countries still experience lasting political and economic effects of that era. ZEU-related researchers present novel empirical findings on agricultural restructuring and communist party membership at the Virtual Allied Social Science Associations (ASSA) Annual Meeting, 3-5 January 2021. 

In a session organised by the Association for Comparative Economic Studies (ACES) on Thirty Years since Dissolution of the Soviet Union, Prof. Dr. Martin Petrick speaks about “Post-Soviet Agricultural Restructuring: A Success Story After All?”. He only partially considers the agricultural individualisation campaigns promoted by international advisors and donors in the 1990s as a success to date, as corporate farming organisations continue to be the backbone of agriculture in several of the successor states. Dr. Nozilakhon Mukhamedova provides evidence for a “feminisation” of agriculture in Tajikistan that provided women access to key positions e.g. in water management after the former male leaders migrated abroad. JLU-researcher Dr. Mukhamedova also has an affiliation with the Tashkent Institute of Irrigation and Agricultural Mechanisation Engineers in Uzbekistan, a core partner of the SDG Nexus Network (SDGNN) coordinated by ZEU. SDGNN-researcher Dr. Vladimir Otrachshenko based at ZEU co-authors two conference papers related to the long-term effects of communism on trust and life satisfaction among the current population. While these effects have often been negative, the studies shows that in the successor countries today, on average, individuals with connections to the former Communist party are more satisfied than individuals without such connections.

In conjunction with 62 associations in related disciplines known as the Allied Social Science Associations, the American Economic Association (AEA) holds a three-day meeting each January. With about 13,000 attendants in regular years, it is one of the most important and impactful social science conferences worldwide. Due to the covid-19 pandemic, attendants convene fully online in 2021.

Conference programme:



(Photo by Martin Petrick)


















Prof. Dr. Martin Petrick
Tel.: +49 641 9937051

Dr. Elena Xoplaki elected as Fellow of the European Academy of Sciences


We are pleased to announce that Dr. Elena Xoplaki was recently elected as a Fellow of the  European Academy of Sciences (EurASc)

EurASc is a fully independent international association of distinguished scholars that aims to recognize and elect to its membership the best European scientists with a vision for Europe as a whole, transcending national borders, and with the aims of strengthening European science and scientific cooperation. Another objective is to take advantage of the expertise of its members in advising other European bodies for the betterment of European research, technological application and social development. It is completely independent from any national entity in its membership, election processes, deliberations and actions. 

Expert network MedECC receives the North-South Prize 2020 of the Council of Europe


The Mediterranean Experts on Climate and Environmental Change (MedECC) network has been awarded the North-South Prize 2020 by the Council of Europe. Dr. Elena Xoplaki from the Institute of Geography and the Centre for International Development and Environmental Research (ZEU) at Justus Liebig University Giessen (JLU) is a member of the MedECC Steering Committee. At MedECC, she works together with other JLU members to ensure that the risks associated with environmental and climate change in the Mediterranean are presented in a transparent and scientific manner and provide a basis for policy decisions. The MedECC network of more than 600 scientists from 35 countries in the Mediterranean region and Europe has produced the first scientific assessment of the impacts of climate and environmental changes in the Mediterranean region.

The jury's statement for the North-South Award says that MedECC represents a leading and inspiring example of the potential for cooperation between states and societies to address the challenges of climate change and environmental sustainability. The jury also believes that MedECC is an excellent example of how the vision of the Mediterranean as a shared space of peace, development and human rights can be realised.

"Especially in times of Corona, it is essential not to lose sight of the other global challenges such as climate change and the Global Sustainability Goals," said JLU President Prof. Dr Joybrato Mukherjee. "I warmly congratulate Dr. Xoplaki and the others involved in MedECC on this award. It makes their important work for climate protection and sustainability visible and also strengthens global cooperation in science and society - which is exactly what is needed now more than ever."

The Council of Europe's North-South Prize has been awarded annually since 1995 to two nominees who have distinguished themselves through their exceptional commitment to promoting North-South solidarity - one from the North and one from the South. Together with MedECC, the "International Commission against the Death Penalty" (ICDP) was awarded this year.

(C): Xoplaki
Robert-Wichard-Pohl-Award 2021 goes to Prof. Michael Düren


We are pleased to announce that the renowned Robert Wichard Pohl Award for outstanding contributions to physics will be awarded to Prof. Michael Düren (Member of the Board) in 2021. This honors his experiments in the field of particle and hadron physics as well as his commitment as a science mediator in civil society and his competent support for a global energy transition.

The prize is awarded annually for contributions to physics with interdisciplinary importance and is endowed with EUR 5,000.


Homepage Deutsche Physikalische Gesellschaft (DPG)

Call for Contributions - Online-Workshop „Digitale Nachhaltigkeitslehre: Innovative Lehrpraxis und Didaktik in Zeiten der Krise"


Datum: Do., 25.3.2021 (14:30 – 18:00) – Fr., 26.3.2021 (09:00 – 15:00)

Veranstaltende: Arbeitskreis Umweltpolitik und Global Change der Deutschen Vereinigung für Politikwissenschaft; Zentrum für internationale Entwicklungs- und Umweltforschung (ZEU) der Justus-Liebig-Universität Gießen


Der DVPW Arbeitskreis Umweltpolitik und Global Change (AK-Umwelt) und das Zentrum für internationale Entwicklungs- und Umweltforschung der Justus-Liebig-Universität Gießen laden ein zum interaktiven Austausch über Chancen und aktuelle Herausforderungen der digitalen Nachhaltigkeitslehre. Gelungene Nachhaltigkeitslehre soll vieles sein: innovativ, praxisorientiert, interaktiv, aktivierend, reflexiv und transformativ. Im Ergebnis sollen Kompetenzen zum vernetzten Denken, zur Perspektivübernahme, zum kritischen Hinterfragen und zum praktischen Transfer von nachhaltigkeitsbezogenen Lehrinhalten stehen. Dabei geht es aus der Perspektive der praktischen Lehrgestaltung um weit mehr als um die Vermittlung von Fachwissen. Lehrende sind herausgefordert, neue Denk-, Orientierungs- und Handlungsräume in der universitären Nachhaltigkeitslehre zu erschließen und den Studierenden in innovativen Lehrformaten mittels kreativer Methoden zu vermitteln.

Die COVID-19-Pandemie befördert die Entwicklung, Weiterentwicklung und Verbreitung digitaler Lehr- und Lernformen, auch und gerade im Bereich der Nachhaltigkeitslehre. Gleichzeitig ist die Nachhaltigkeitslehre aufgefordert, sich inhaltlich mit den Ursachen und Wirkungen der COVID-19-Pandemie zu befassen. Zwar wurden an deutschen Hochschulen bislang wenige eigenständige Nachhaltigkeitsstudiengänge etabliert – dennoch zeugen die wachsende Anzahl und Vielfalt innovativer und digitaler Lehrangebote im Bereich Nachhaltigkeit davon, dass das Thema zunehmend einen zentralen Aspekt in der Hochschullehre ausmacht.

Der Online-Workshop trägt dieser Entwicklung Rechnung und führt den vom AK-Umwelt im Jahr 2019 initiierten Austausch über Fragen politikwissenschaftlicher Nachhaltigkeitslehre fort (Ergebnisse des ersten Workshops am 14./15.11.2019 in Magdeburg hier).

Der Schwerpunkt des Online-Workshops liegt auf dem Thema „digitale Lehrpraxis und Didaktik“. Die Veranstaltung will engagierte Lehrende im Bereich der digitalen Nachhaltigkeitslehre zusammenbringen und das gegenseitige Lernen und den Erfahrungsaustausch über Fragen der Konzeption, Anwendung, Reflexion und Übertragbarkeit verschiedener didaktischer Lehrkonzepte und Methoden in der digitalen Nachhaltigkeitslehre befördern.

Die zentralen Dimensionen des praxisorientierten Austauschs sind: (I) Erfahrungen mit und aus digitaler Nachhaltigkeitslehre, (II) Didaktik in der digitalen Nachhaltigkeitslehre, (III) die Internationalisierung digitaler Nachhaltigkeitslehre und (IV) COVID-19 und Nachhaltigkeit als Gegenstände der digitalen Nachhaltigkeitslehre.

  1. Erfahrungen mit und aus digitaler Nachhaltigkeitslehre: Was zeichnet innovative digitale Lehr- und Lernkonzepte in der politikwissenschaftlichen Nachhaltigkeitslehre aus? Wie lassen sich solche Konzepte an Hochschulen erfolgreich entwickeln, umsetzen und verbreiten? Was sind förderliche Bedingungen und worin bestehen Hürden?
  2. Didaktik in der digitalen Nachhaltigkeitslehre: Inwiefern können digitale Lehr- und Lernformen die Praxis der Nachhaltigkeitslehre bereichern? Was sind Chancen und Grenzen von MOOCs oder Blended Learning Konzepten? Was sind die Bedingungen für erfolgreiches selbstorganisiertes Lernen in der digitalen Nachhaltigkeitslehre? Wie kann diesen Bedingungen in der Konzeption und Durchführung von digitaler Nachhaltigkeitslehre Rechnung getragen werden? Welche besonderen didaktischen Anforderungen stellen digitale Veranstaltungsformate in der Nachhaltigkeitslehre an die Dozent*innen?
  3. Internationalität: Wie kann die digitale Nachhaltigkeitslehre der Komplexität ihres Gegenstands und seinen unterschiedlichen Raum- und Zeitbezügen angemessen Rechnung tragen? Was sind erfolgreiche Beispiele für internationale Studiengänge, digitale Lehrvernetzung und Kooperation (z.B. Global Classroom)? Was sind die Voraussetzungen und Hürden für interkulturelles Lehren und Lernen in der digitalen Nachhaltigkeitslehre?
  4. COVID-19 und Nachhaltigkeit als Gegenstände der digitalen Nachhaltigkeitslehre: Inwiefern beeinflusst die COVID-19 Pandemie als Gegenstand und Kontextfaktor die Ausgestaltung digitaler Nachhaltigkeitslehre? Wie können verschiedene Perspektiven auf die Krise gewinnbringend integriert und vermittelt werden? Wie nachhaltig sind digitale Lehrmethoden und -strategien in der Nachhaltigkeitslehre selbst und inwiefern leisten sie einen Betrag zum Umgang mit der Krise? 

Als Ergebnis des Workshops soll eine Datenbank von Best Practice Beispielen (Tool Box) entwickelt werden, welche der AK Umwelt allen Lehrenden im Bereich Nachhaltigkeitslehre als Open Source zur Verfügung stellt.

Anmeldung und Vorschläge für Beiträge


Die Teilnahme am Online-Workshop steht allen Interessierten offen. Die Anmeldung erfolgt über eine Online-Anmeldemaske.

Die Teilnahme ist mit und ohne eigenen Vortrag möglich. Wir laden ausdrücklich dazu ein, eigene Lehrkonzepte im Bereich der digitalen Nachhaltigkeitslehre im Rahmen des Workshops vorzustellen. Wir bitten bei der Anmeldung um eine kurze Beschreibung des vorgeschlagenen Lehrbeispiels (max. 2000 Zeichen). 

Teilnehmende, die einen eigenen Beitrag vorstellen möchten, bitten wir um Anmeldung bis 15. Januar 2021.

Online workshop on "Sustainable Livestock Development in Central Asia" on Friday 4 December 2020



Cattle bazaar in Almaty
Cattle bazaar in Almaty

 (C): Sarah Robinson

Partners from the SDGnexus Network including the Center for International Development and Environmental Research (ZEU) at Justus Liebig University, the University of Central Asia (UCA) and the Tashkent Institute of Irrigation and Agricultural Mechanisation Engineers (TIIAME), will hold an online workshop on livestock production in Central Asia on the 4th December 2020 to present current work and discuss future collaboration.

In order to stimulate exchange on research in the Central Asian livestock sector amongst members of the Network, researchers active in this topic at Justus Liebig University present recent research in this area, including value chains, climate impacts and SDG trade-offs associated with different pathways to livestock sector development. Central Asian partners, based in Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan, introduce their current projects and future research plans in the sector. Exchange and discussion during the workshop will help to identify synergies in terms of topics, concepts, data and insights, and contribute to the development of a research agenda on livestock within the SDGnexus Network.

Please find the Agenda for the workshop here.                   

If you are interested in participating, please write to Dr Sarah Robinson to obtain a link:

The SDGnexus Network, supported by the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) with funds of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation (BMZ) , is  a global community of universities, research centres, and stakeholders that aims to strengthen higher education for enabling effective and innovative contributions to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the United Nations. 



Prof. Dr. Martin Petrick
Tel.: +49 641 9937051

Dr. Sarah Robinson
Tel.: +33 5610594442



Invitation to Anyone Interested



 Transboundary Geopar Management in Iran and in the Caucasus


Programme download


Invitation Virtual Opening Ceremony




The SDGnexus Network, as one of seven Centers of Excellence for Exchange and Development (exceed) funded by the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), is a global community of universities, research centers, and stakeholders that aims to strengthen higher education for enabling effective and innovative contributions to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the United Nations. We cordially invite you to join our Opening Ceremony and we welcome you to learn more about the objectives and goals of the network, get to know our Core Partner Institutions, and discover the SDG-related activities in our focal research regions Latin America and Central Asia. Please do not hesitate to contact if you have any questions regarding the event or the SDGnexus Network.


Livestream on

Doctorate successfully completed

Date: 20/10/20


We warmly congratulate our former project colleague Kerstin Kümpel on her successful defence
with regard to allocations in the municipal financial equalisation at the Faculty of Economics
at JLU. Consequently, Kerstin works as a Referee in the Hessian Ministry of Finance.



Dr. Alicia Correa Barahona joined the ZEU team


Past pandemics and climate variability across the Mediterranean



The influence that meteorological, climatological and environmental factors had on historical disease outbreaks is often speculated upon, but little investigated. Here, Lutherbacher et al explored potential associations between pandemic disease and climate over the last 2,500 years in Mediterranean history, focusing on ancient disease outbreaks and the Justinianic plague in particular.
The authors underscore variation in the quality, quantity and interpretation of written evidence and proxy information from natural archives, the comlexity of identifying and disentangling past climatological and environmental drivers, and the need to integrate diverse methodologies to discern past climate-disease linkages and leverage historical experiences to prepare for the rapid expansion of novel pathogenic diseases. Although the difficulties entailed in establishing historical climate-pandemic linkages
persist to the present, this is a research area as urgent as it is complex and historical perspectives are desperately needed.


Euro-Mediterranean Journal for Environmental Integration (2020) 5:46

Florian Ellsäßer became a new member of the ZEU team


António Guterres (UN Secretary-General) and Petteri Taalas (World Meteorological Organization) to present WMO’s United in Science 2020 report

Date: 10/09/2020


This afternoon at 17:00 UN Secretary-General António Guterres and the Secretary-General of the World Meteorological Organization, Petteri Taalas, will present WMO’s United in Science 2020 report.
The report has been edited by ZEU member Juerg Luterbacher:

The press conference is available live on:

UN Web TV:




Dr. Vladimir Otrachenko joined the ZEU team


Welcome to Christoph Funk as new member of the ZEU team


Prof. Teuber was appointed to the Future Commission on Agriculture
Prof. Dr. Ramona Teuber from the Institute for Agricultural Policy and Market Research at the Justus Liebig University in Giessen (JLU) will in future contribute her expertise in the field of market theory in the agricultural and food industry to the Federal Government's Agriculture Commission for the Future. With the involvement of practitioners, scientists and social actors - in particular environmental, animal welfare and consumer associations - the commission is to develop practical recommendations for productive and resource-saving agriculture. It is about developing an overarching common understanding of how more animal welfare, biodiversity, climate and environmental protection can be brought together with the fundamental tasks of securing harvests and economic viability - especially for the many family farms. The aim is to help resolve the conflicting goals between: economically viable food production versus climate and environmental protection, price awareness versus increasing consumer expectations.
Source: IDW News (in German) Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture, Press Release (in German)


Presentation - An elusive quest? 25 years of search for the right farming model in post-Soviet Central Asia

Date: 23/07/2020


Prof Dr Martin Petrick gave a seminar talk at the Virtual Seminar Series on Applied Economics and Policy Analysis in Central Asia hosted by Westminster International University in Tashkent (WIUT), the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) and the Leibniz Institute of Agricultural Development in Transition Economies (IAMO)

Further information on the seminar series:

Youtube Video

Whether agriculture should be organised in large or small farms matters a lot for the Central Asian countries that emerged after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Collective agriculture during Soviet times used to be based on hired labour and was known for its endemic inefficiency. Central Asian governments were generally hesitant to break up the former state and collective farms and slow to establish private property rights. The presentation focuses on the “inverse relation” (IR) between farm size and land productivity and examines how it was affected by land market liberalisation and farm restructuring. The analysis is based on a novel data set collated from official sources representing provincial averages by farm type for Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan for 1992-2014. The authors Martin Petrick and Nodir Djanibekov use parametric and non-parametric regression to quantify the relationship between farm size and crop yields. They find that within groups of individual and corporate farms, yield levels increase with farm size, so that the IR is rejected. Yield levels between farm types and within households are consistent with conventional arguments supporting the IR. The authors observe a convergence towards productive medium-sized farms due to gradual land market liberalisation. Commercial individual farms endowed with about 100 ha arable land emerge as the most productive farm type, with little scope for productivity-improving land redistribution.




Congratulations to Chadidscha Schoepffer for successfully defending her PhD thesis

Date: 28/05/2020


Chadidscha Schoepffer formerly employed as  project coordinator at the ZEU, successfully defended her PhD thesis entitled "Verfassungsgerichtsbarkeit in Senegal. Eine Analyse der Grundlagen, Entwicklung und Stellung verfassungsgerichtlicher Kontrolle in der Republik Senegal".

She was supervised by Prof. em. Dr. Brun-Otto Bryde (former judge at the Federal Constitutional Court) and Prof. Dr. Thilo Marauhn.


Flying Less Pledge


As part of the Hessen-wide initiative "CO2 neutrale Landesverwaltung", scientists and students at the Justus Liebig University Giessen (JLU) established the working group "Klimaneutrale Uni". The objective of this group is to propose adequate measures for achieving climate-neutrality of JLU. The Klimaneutrale Uni is currently working on developing measures related to energy-efficient facilities, reduction of academic flights, sustainable management of green areas and university canteens, and sustainability in education, among others. The Center for International Development and Environmental Research (Zentrum für internationale Entwicklungs- und Umweltforschung, ZEU), launches the Flying Less Initiative to stimulate the choice of sustainable travel alternatives and reduce the number of academic flights.

Read more

Organising, preparing and coordinating an e-learning module



ZEU members have been active in developing e-learning modules for many years, such as the module course “Land governance for sustainable land use in Africa”. Senior researcher Dr. Nozila Mukhamedova at the Professorship for Agricultural, Food and Environmental Policy of JLU interviewed ZEU colleague Dr. Irina Solovyeva about her experience in organising, preparing and coordinating this e-learning module. Irina also shared her personal experience and the latest expertise in setting up virtual learning environments. The interview was conducted in Russian in order to make it available for the current SUSADICA programme (Structured doctoral programme Sustainable agricultural development in Central Asia) and new cooperation partners of the SDG Nexus network in Central Asia. The interview includes English subtitles.

Further information

Presentation - "Limits to Ideal Free Distributions in Pastoralist Systems" by Dr. Sarah Robinson

Date: Wednesday, March 11, 2020, 13-15h

Location: Zeughaus, first floor, room Ze-S4

The research looks at the spatial distribution of livestock in two arid regions of Central Asia under different economic conditions and property rights regimes. Economic theory suggests that exclusive property rights allow land users to capture maximum rents through exclusion of others, and to avoid the tragedy of the commons.  In contrast, ecological theory predicts a spatial matching of consumers and resources called an ideal free distribution which allows consumers to maximise their food intake in a shifting environment. We hypothesise that an ideal free distribution of domestic livestock would be the outcome of a pastoralist system in which property rights are weak or absent and economic costs to movement low. We mapped livestock distributions at case study areas in Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan, testing metrics related to resource matching using water supply and vegetation data sets. We found that in Turkmenistan livestock owners respond to water and vegetation availability, enabled by large herd sizes, cheap fuel, collective herding institutions and weak cadastral boundaries. In Kazakhstan, herd fragmentation and high costs of site occupation have caused migratory systems to break down, reducing the role of resource density in herder decision making and resulting in a mismatch between grazing pressure and available resources.


Sarah Robinson has worked on rural livelihoods and pastoralist systems in Central Asia since 1997, focussing on the interaction of biological, economic, and political factors on pastoralists and wildlife. She has recently worked on the project ‘Revitalising animal husbandry in Central Asia: A five-country analysis’ at Leibniz Institute of Agricultural Development in Transition Economies (IAMO) and is a visiting researcher at the Interdisciplinary Centre for Conservation Science at Oxford University.

Workshop: "Post-War Land Use Change in Colombia"



The Workshop "Post-War Land Use Change in Colombia" took place on the 4th to 6th of September 2019 in the Senate Hall of the main building of the Justus Liebig University in Giessen.

The 22 participants from Colombia and Germany discussed the relations between land use and land rights in connection with the ongoing conflicts in Colombia. The Colombian guest professor at JLU, Prof. Dr. Ivan Lizarazo, had in cooperation with Prof. Dr. Lutz Breuer initiated the workshop to work on interdisciplinary solutions.

The president of the JLU, Prof. Dr. Joybrato Mukherjee, emphasised at the beginning of his opening speech that the topic of the workshop was at the heart of the conflict and therefore of great importance. The professors Dr. Francisco Gutierrez Sanin and Dr. Fabio Leiva of the Universidad Nacional in Bogotá, who flew in especially for this event, advanced the workshop with their comprehensive insights into their home country and their expertise.

Post-War Land Use Change in Colombia_1

In addition, many researchers from different disciplines gave talks in which the scientists linked their personal research focuses with the workshop topic so that the multidisciplinary of the meeting became clear. Furthermore, using methodological approaches, the participants developed concepts on topics such as water management, changes in land use and deforestation in Colombia. The scientists now want to develop further research questions that were raised within their newly founded groups and initiate new projects. The results shall contribute to the further development of the peace process in Colombia.

Post-War Land Use Change in Colombia4




Congratulations to Sarah Hüller for successfully defending her PhD thesis


Sarah Hüller successfully defended her dissertation “Linking Agriculture and Tourism - A Qualitative Study on the Status and Perspectives of the Kazbegi Region in the Greater Caucasus” to earn her doctoral degree today.

The study was developed and implemented within the framework of the interdisciplinary research project "Scenario development for sustainable land use in the Greater Caucasus, Georgia (AMIES II)", which was a cooperation of JLU and three Georgian Universities. 

Thanks to the thesis reviewers Prof. I.-U. Leonhäuser (first supervisor, ZEU) and Prof. J. Aurbacher (second supervisor,  Chair for Agricultural Production Economics).

Thanks are also due to the Volkswagen Foundation for generously supporting the project.

Steffen Müller: Successful PhD Defence


Steffen Müller, formerly employed as a project coordinator at ZEU, successfully defended his PhD thesis entitled "Integriertes Wasserressourcenmanagement - Rechtlich-administrativer Rahmen in Deutschland und Europa vor dem Hintergrund internationaler Vorgaben".

He did his research project at the Franz von Liszt-Institute for International and Comparative Law, supervised by Prof. Thilo Marauhn

Update 18/12/202

The dissertation has recently been completed and can be ordered now from Cuvillier Publishing House.

Saltanat Sabitova: Successfully her Defended PhD Thesis at ZEU


Saltanat successfully defended her PhD thesis titled "Implementation of the Kyoto protocol and post-Kyoto commitments in Kazakhstan: legal implications for land use".

The thesis was one of the results of the PhD programme "Land Use, Ecosystem Services and Human Welfare in Central Asia" for Central Asian junior scientist, funded by the VolkswagenStiftung.

The aim of the study was to explore to what extent the land use, land-use change and forestry (LULUCF) activities could be implemented in Kazakhstan within the legal framework of the Kyoto Protocol and the Paris Agreement. The research addresses political, legal and institutional problems of Kazakhstan's participation in the global climate change regime.

Impacts of home gardening on human nutrition in developing countries yet to be clarified:


ZEU members participate in workshop on ‘Home Gardens as a Coping Strategy in Crises and Humanitarian Emergencies’




The international workshop ‘Home Gardens as a Coping Strategy in Crises and Humanitarian Emergencies’ took place on the 2nd and 3rd April at the Welthungerhilfe headquarter offices in Bonn, Germany. The workshop was organised by the Leibniz Institute of Vegetable and Ornamental Crops (IGZ), led by Tilman Brück, as well as Professor Martin Petrick, member of ZEU and Dr. Heinz Peters from Welthungerhilfe. In total, more than 35 experts, from more than 10 countries from Europe, Asia and Africa, participated. 

The overall objective of the workshop was to advance knowledge of home and school gardens, resilience, food security, and related interventions. To do so, researchers and practitioners, who are working on the topics of home gardens in emergencies gathered at the workshop to deepen the understanding of how informal small-scale home gardening acts as a coping strategy to strengthen food and nutrition security as well as resilience of vulnerable households living under extreme uncertainty. Furthermore, the role of school and home gardens and its possible effects beyond food security, such as women empowerment, were also discussed. According to the workshop results, the evidence is still incomplete whether home gardening initiatives do improve the nutritional status of households in developing countries. However, several high-quality studies are currently underway to shed further light on this question. Prof. Dr. Martin Petrick, Gracia M. Glas and Tina Koch participated as ZEU members in the workshop.

The workshop in Bonn was the second meeting within the Home Gardens for Resilience and Recovery (HG4RR) network, after the Kick-off Workshop was held on the 13th and 14th of December 2018 in Kathmandu. HG4RR aims to establish an international network of experts of researches and practitioners to enhance knowledge on topics related to home gardens, resilience and food security.

For more information.

Prof. Dr. Breitmeier appointed as a new board member

Date: 20/03/19

Prof. Dr. Helmut Breitmeier was unanimously elected as a new member of the Executive Board on 13 February 2019 by the Center Council. Congratulations from the whole ZEU team, we are looking forward to a good teamwork.

Prof. Dr. Martin Petrick is the new Programme Director of MSc. "Transition Management"

Date: 19/03/19

Prof. Dr. Martin Petrick, professor of agricultural, food and environmental policy at Justus Liebig University Giessen, has been appointed by the Dean of Studies, Prof. Dr. Matthias Frisch (Faculty Agricultural Sciences, Nutritional Sciences, and Environmental Management), as the new Programme Director of the Master Programme "Transition Management".

Pavlina Miteva joined the ZEU team


Alumni Event 2019



In 1998, the Center for international Development and Envi­ron­mental Research (ZEU) was founded as the successor of various other research institutions. This makes it the oldest center at Justus Liebig University. Now, after 20 years, alumni had a chance to celebrate with their ZEU, to meet friends, acquaintances and former principals, and to gain insight into the Center’s current activities.

Photo album