German Federal Agency for Nature Conservation (BfN)


Capacity Building

An important focus of the International Academy for Nature Conservation Isle of Vilm (INA) is the transfer of specialised knowledge and methodological skills. With various training sessions and courses, we want to qualify nature conservation actors for their work and enable committed experts to expand their knowledge of current topics and instruments of international nature conservation.

Klaus Toepfer Fellowship Programme for Future Leaders in Nature Conservation from Central and Eastern Europe, the Caucasus and Central Asia

The Klaus Toepfer Fellowship Programme aims to strengthen organisations from the nature conservation sector in Central and Eastern Europe, the Caucasus and Central Asia, by developing the personal capacity of early-career conservation professionals to overcoming global biodiversity loss. The training programme catalyses personal capacity development through training on international best conservation practice and policy, management training, and personal network development.

The Klaus Toepfer Fellowship Programme is an extra-occupational training programme for emerging leaders from Central and Eastern Europe, the Caucasus and Central Asia. Twenty fellows from governmental and non-governmental institutions are trained over a period of 18 months during four modules on the Isle of Vilm, excursions, intermittent assignments and a transfer project. The programme is intended to build up management capacities, transport technical concepts and contribute to personal network development. Since 2012, the Klaus Toepfer Fellowship Programme has been implemented in cooperation with IUCN, the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity CBD, the Secretariat of CMS, UNEP-WCMC and other partner organisations. Participation in the Fellowship Programme is possible through an application process.

You can find further information on the website of the Klaus Toepfer Fellowship Programme.

"The best opportunity not only to learn but to connect with others and join a unique network of motivated inspirational individuals." – Fellow from the year 2019.


Seminar series “Nature conservation in development cooperation”: „Biodiversity conservation for human wellbeing“

The five-day seminar "Biodiversity conservation for human wellbeing" is offered annually for experts from German development cooperation at the interface between nature conservation and development. The aim is to facilitate an exchange on current developments, methods and concepts in international biodiversity conservation with relevance for development cooperation. The seminar has been jointly organised by INA, GIZ GmbH and KfW Entwicklungsbank with funding from the German Federal Ministry of the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety since 1999. 20 people can participate in the seminar and are selected through an application procedure.

Further information can be found in the current flyer and in the conference calendar.


Seminar series “Nature conservation in development cooperation“: Focus seminar on a selected topic

The five-day in-depth seminar within the framework of the seminar series "Nature Conservation in Development Cooperation" serves as a forum for the exchange of expertise and the development of concepts, guidelines and recommendations on a changing, current topic. The results should have an impact beyond the circle of participants. The annual seminar is aimed at development cooperation experts in the field of biodiversity conservation and climate change. Topics in recent years have been "Nature conservation and human rights", "Nature-based approaches to climate change adaptation", "Financing nature conservation in development cooperation". The INA is organising the seminar together with GIZ GmbH and KfW Entwicklungsbank. The 25 participants are selected through an application procedure.

Further information can be found in the current flyer and in the conference calendar.


"English for Environmentalists - Communication and Language Skills": Intensive language course for nature conservation professionals

The course "English for Environmentalists" offers the participants the chance to expand their English vocabulary in relation to nature conservation, landscape management, environmental education as well as tourism, to practice language skills and to identify and avoid typical mistakes.

For 13 years, this training programme has been conducted every 2 years in cooperation with the Alfred Toepfer Academy for Nature Conservation at the INA. The course is held in English in a small group of 16 people. Good basic knowledge of the English language is required. The tutor is a native speaker.

The next course will take place in 2021 and the recognition as educational leave in the different federal states is in process.


Module „International Nature Conservation“ in the UNEP/UNESCO/BMU international postgraduate course "Environmental Management"

The one-week module "International Nature Conservation" has been an integral part of the six-month international postgraduate training programme "Environmental Management for Developing and Emerging Countries" at the Centre for International Postgraduate Studies in Environmental Management (CIPSEM) at Dresden University of Technology (TU Dresden) for around 20 years. The annual course is a German contribution to the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and is aimed at experts from the environmental and nature conservation sector. The course enables them to take on management positions in their home countries. In the "International Nature Conservation" module, the 21 participants can expand their knowledge and skills on topics and instruments of international nature conservation. Participation is reserved for the respective scholarship holders.


Course "Biodiversity and Climate Change" as part of the International Climate Protection Fellowship

The two-day course on "Biodiversity and Climate Change" has been an integral part of the "International Climate Protection Fellowship for Young Climate Experts from Developing Countries" of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation (AvH) since 2011. It is held annually on the Isle of Vilm in cooperation with the Centre for International Postgraduate Studies in Environmental Management (CIPSEM) at Dresden University of Technology (TU Dresden). The module is dedicated to the aspects of climate change relevant to nature conservation and vice versa, and provides nature-based solutions for adapting to and mitigating climate change. Participation is reserved for the respective climate protection fellows of the AvH.


University course "Agricultural Management and Biodiversity”

The university course "Agricultural Management and Biodiversity" teaches German Master students of agricultural sciences, biology and environmental sciences the basics of agricultural biodiversity consulting and qualifies them for a successful cooperation between agriculture and nature conservation. The course is divided into three parts, consisting of a two-day introductory module, a practical block incl. a farm analysis and species mapping, and a three-day final course. BfN has been offering this course annually since 2018 in cooperation with the Institute of Agroecology and Biodiversity (IFAB).


University module "International Nature Conservation“

In the five-day module "International Nature Conservation", 25 interested students from relevant master's programmes have the opportunity to expand their knowledge of current topics and instruments of international nature conservation every year. The Module has been offered since 2010. The contents are conveyed in a clear and interactive way through simulation games, group work, lectures and films, among others. The module contributes to qualifying students for future work in international nature conservation. Master's students of the study programmes listed in the flyer can apply in autumn each year.

"The course is a great addition to the university's study programme" and "is a good opportunity to gain a broad overview of the global nature conservation challenges and to network with each other," said participants of the 2020 Master's module.


Other Effective Area-based Conservation Measures (OECM)

The materials on OECMs are aimed to develop worldwide capacity for identifying, recognising, supporting and reporting OECMs. After the training participants will, among other things, understand the background and justification of OECMs and be able to contribute to timely and comprehensive reporting to the World Database on OECMs and other relevant databases.

More information can be found on the OECMs training material page.

Last Change: 09/02/2021