Events at CDR

Through our events we spark public debates on how we can achieve a sustainability transition.

3 June 2019 Generational Crises in Smallholder Farming

Smallholders feed the world, but will they continue to do so in the future? Farming populations are ageing, and most rural youth aspire to careers outside of farming. Are young people unwilling to start or are their parents unwilling to stop? Access to land, possibility to farm for a market, or to complement farm with non-farm income contribute to the aspirations of rural youth. In future, generational renewal will depend on a reversal of current chronic governmental neglect of smallholder farming.

We invited Ben White (International Institute of Social Studies, The Hague, Netherlands), Tatjana Fischer (Institute of Spatial Planning, Environmental Planning and Land Rearrangement, BOKU Vienna), and Margit Fischer (Perspektive Landwirtschaft, Platform for Extra-Familial Farm Transfer) to discuss with us. Friedbert Ottacher (Horizont 3000 and Ottacher Consulting) led through the evening.

Speaker presentations

Ben White

Tatjana Fischer

Margit Fischer

Streaming part 1

Streaming part 2

10 Octobre 2018 Sind wir der Hecht im Karpfenteich? SDG14 and how we treat life below water

On the occasion of the World Food Day, we talked about challenges and opportunities of fisheries and aquaculture.

Rebecca Metzner (Fisheries and Aquaculture Department, FAO, Rome), Marc Mößmer (ARGE Biofisch), and Herwig Waidbacher (Institute of Hydrology and Aquatic Ecosystem Management) discussed with Almut Knaller (Tourism board Weissensee, Carinthia), Laura Hundscheid (Susfish+ project), and the interested public. Maiada Hadaia (OEAD) led through the evening.

This event was organized in collaboration with Michaela Hickersberger (Ökosoziales Forum Europa) and Florian Leregger (IUFE) and supported by ADA.

Pictures: Dorothea Neubacher, Ökosoziales Forum, and Rosana Kral, CDR.

15 May 2018 appear in practice co-event: Organic Agriculture in Action

How can organic agriculture be reflected in higher education?

We discussed challenges and opportunities with Astghik Sahakyan (International Center for Agribusiness Research and Education Foundation, Armenia), and Charles Ssekyewa (Mountains of the Moon University, Fort Portal, Uganda). Astghik and Charles work in two current appear projects with Bernhard Freyer, Division of Organic Farming, and his colleagues Phillipp Dietrich and Milena Klimek towards anchoring organic agiculture in the curricula of universities.

This event was organized in collaboration with Phillipp Dietrich and Milena Klimek and supported by OEAD and ADA.

Pictures: Julia Lichtkoppler-Moser, OEAD

9 May 2018 Workshop SDG 2 “Zero Hunger”: Scientific challenges for and mission of BOKU?

The Centre for Development Research (CDR)-BOKU organised on May 9th a workshop on the implementation of SDG2 “Zero Hunger”.

The aim of the workshop was to point out that global food and nutrition security requires an integrated approach, which presents a major challenge to different scientific disciplines and international and national policies.


Hamid El Bilali - Zero Hunger: Need for a systemic approach to agriculture, food security and nutrition
Barbara Stadlmayr - How can we ensure the quality of tomorrow's diet?
Thomas Lindenthal - SDG 2 umsetzen - aber richtig - einige Gedankenanstöße

FIAN - Agenda 2030 zu nachhaltiger Entwicklung

16-18 April 2018 SDG Workshop: Challenges for Life Sciences Universities

The Sustainable Development Goals of the UN sketch a vision of how the world could look like: ending poverty and hunger, safeguarding resources, a better life for all. Like all of us, also the Life Sciences universities are called upon to contribute to the implementation.

To address how they can do this in research, training and societal dialogue, BOKU hosted a three-day international workshop in spring 2018. Several CDR researchers and partners served on the organizing committee of this unique event.


Speaker presentations

Mans Nilsson

Mary Amuyunzu-Nyamongo

Arjen Wals

Georg Gratzer

Pictures: Wolfgang Leitl, BOKU-ZID

11 December 2017 Water, Food, Energy - One Planet for All?

Everybody needs water, food and energy - but we just have on planet and limited resources. How can we best use them?

We invited Dominik Ruffeis (Institute of Hydraulics and Rural Water Management), Johannes Schmidt (Institute for Sustainable Economic Development) to discuss with CDR's Maria Wurzinger (Centre for Development Research and Division of Livestock Sciences) and with us.

13 June 2017 Water, Where Art Thou? Climate Change and Global Water Sharing Challenges

While states withdraw from the Paris Agreement, our climate continues to change.
Rising temperatures and growing populations can lead to conflict around water.

We invited Ashok Swain (Uppsala University, Sweden) to discuss with us. He is a leading scholar in the field of natural resources and conflict and visited BOKU Vienna to teach as a guest professor.

29 May 2017 Organic, Sustainable, Happy?

Environmentally sound, socially acceptable, economically feasible - organic agriculture promises much, but can it guarantee food supply? Mitigate climate change? And does it add to a nation’s happiness?

We discussed with Sonam Tashi (Royal University of Bhutan) and Richard Onwonga (University of Nairobi). The event was held in cooperation with the Division of Organic Farming.

5 April 2017 Citizen Science

Scientists: socially challenged coffee-addicts in ivory towers. You don’t agree? Neither do we. Citizen science now! We invited Anna Lawrence (University of the Highlands and the Islands, UK) and Daniel Dörler and Florian Heigl (Institute of Zoology) to discuss with us.

9 November 2016 Sustainable Development Goals: Transform or perish?

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) just celebrated their first birthday. As states who adopted the agenda, we committed ourselves to striving after these - quite ambitious - goals. What remained one year after the initial enthusiasm of having reached an agreement that holds us all to account, developed and developing countries? Have the SDGs even started to arrive in society, politics, science and education?

We discussed with Karolina Begusch-Pfefferkorn (Federal Ministry of Science, Research and Economy), Hubert Dürrstein (FT, representing the rectorate), Norbert Feldhofer (Federal Chancellery), Andreas Melcher (IHG) and Helga Pülzl (InFER) how BOKU can contribute through its research and higher education, the role of science and what is being done in Austria.

Follow the links to access the evening's summary, Helga Pülzl's presentation on the effectiveness of international agreements and the snapshots on SDG implementation in Austria by students of the course "sustainable land use in developing countries", CDR partners and staff, and BOKU multimedia services.

19 Septembre 2016 From fragility to resilience: enabling vulnerable people to cope with shocks

Living conditions in rural areas are often precarious, especially for the 500 million smallholder farmers who produce the vast majority of food worldwide. Depending on scarce natural resources and fragile ecosystems, their livelihoods are further threatened by different shocks, e.g. natural disasters, land-use conflicts, political unrest. In this workshop, we addressed how farmers can strengthen their adaptive capacities and increase their resilience to shocks. We explored which inherent mechanisms of food systems lead to fragility and how farmers can manage the transition from vulnerability to resilience. Follow the links below to access a summary and the speakers' presentations.

Conference summary

From fragility to resilience

Building resilience for disaster-prone Hindu Kush Himalayan communities

17 June 2016 World Day to Combat Desertification

One third of the earth’ surface is affected by desertification. Climate change exacerbates the effects of drought, threatening food production. With 17 “desert days” (temperatures above 35°C) in 2015, the consequences of global changes are evident in Austria, too.

How can we halt the conversion of arable land into desert that is lost for agriculture? Can we reverse desertification processes in spite of climate change? How can we use and manage drylands more sustainably? These were some of the questions addressed at the conference.

Follow the links below to access a summary and the speakers' presentations.

Conference summary

Conference Programme

Climatic changes in Austria

Surviving in the desert and semi-desert

Fighting desertification and working towards food security with traditional farming systems

Water management options in dryland farming systems

Remote sensing and water resource management

Climate adaptive architecture in desert regions

Can crops adapt to desertification?

Livestock in drylands: a viable production?

The expeditions of scientist couple Agnes and Alfons Gabriel into Iranian deserts


10 March 2016 Future Forests

10 March 2016 Future Forests

What can we do to render the use and management of forests more sustainable, ecologically sound and fair? How can education and training support this transition? These were the questions that CIFOR principal scientists Anne Larson, based in Peru, and Esther Mwangi, leader of the Nairobi hub, discussed with Georg Gratzer, head of BOKU's Mountain Forestry Programme, and a mixed audience.

19 November 2015: Soils don't cry

19 November 2015: Soils don't cry

This evening's topic was land degradation. After an introduction by Franz Breitwieser from the Austrian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Michael Hauser (CDR) led through the discussion with Waltraud Rabitsch (Austrian Development Agency - ADA) and Mark Schauer (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit - GIZ).

29 September 2015: Can Grassroots Innovation bring Global Solutions?

Ann Waters-Bayer, Prolinnova/KIT, Netherlands and Lemlem Sissay Fetene, international consultant, Vienna discussed on the podium. Birgit Habermann from BOKU-CDR, led through the evening on the potential of grassroot innovations.

2 December 2014 Lake Tana Workshop

2 December 2014 Lake Tana Workshop

The CDR meets partners, members and interested people to characterise major socio-ecological transitions in the Lake Tana catchment, Ethiopia.

The workshop aimed at highlighting transition drivers and likely consequences for people, natural resources and livelihoods. We identified linkages between management choices, natural resources, policies and larger economic developments. Our goal was to enrich the Lake Tana research agenda and shape BOKU's contribution to it.

By following the links below, you can access information presented at the workshop.

Water quality as a challenge for supply and sanitation

Ethiopian higher education and research team up with development

Transforming livelihoods by adding value to fisheries resources

Ethiopia at turning point

Fisheries, aquaculture and fish ecology at Lake Tana

Integrating different stakeholder interests into water management

Crossbreeding local cattle with exotic dairy breeds: problem or solution?

Digital Photogrammetry: Acquiring land information

Carbon estimation of forests in the Amhara region

Diminishing grazing land versus increasing demand for animal produce

Changing perceptions of farmers’ roles in tree management

5 November 2014: Ethiopia’s economic boom and the future of agriculture

After an introduction by Aurelia Calabró (Unit Chief of Agro-Industires and Technology, UNIDO), the Ethiopian Minister of Industry, H.E. Mebrahtu Meles, illustrated the recent economic boom of his country. Ethiopia wants to become a middle-income country by 2025. Therefore, the Ethiopian government channels impressive investments into agriculture, industries, and education. In turn, agriculture is expected to fuel economic growth. The implications for farming and the rural economy were discussed with the audience.

27 October 2014: Peak Soil - A Threat to African Food Security?

African soils diminish rapidly, yet local and global food demands are growing fast. Business as usual is not an option, but how can we safeguard the "thin skin" of our planet? Gradual adaptation or radical transformation of governance? Along these lines, professors Method Kilasara (Sokoine University, Tanzania), Sophie Zechmeister-Boltenstern and Axel Mentler (both from BOKU's Institute of Soil Research) discussed with Michael Hauser (CDR-BOKU).

05 - 08 May 2014 GROWING TOGETHER - Agrinatura Science Days

The conference “GROWING TOGETHER – family farming and agricultural sciences transforming world food systems” was organised by the Centre for Development Research. Please find more information in the programme.

Visit the website of AGRINATURA- the European Alliance on Agricultural Knowledge for Development.

25 - 27 August 2013 European Forum Alpbach

25 - 27 August 2013 European Forum Alpbach

The Centre for Development Research was invited to co-organise a parallel session at the Alpbach Political Symposium in August 2013. The overarching topic of that year's forum was “Experiences and Values”.

The CDR-organised session was devoted to “Hunger – Values – Politics“, and took place the second day of the forum. The main purpose was to discuss underlying value systems in political, economic and social domains.

Given mixed experiences of the past, the participants explored what change in values is needed to achieve sustainable and equitable food systems in the future and how to balance interests in the light of global inequalities.

Click here for more information about the European Forum Alpbach.