German Federal Agency for Nature Conservation (BfN)


Conservation governance and policy

Biodiversity and ecosystems are typically common goods, and are hence critically affected by decisions – on natural resource use, land use, infrastructure development etc. – that are taken independently by a wide range of actors throughout society. Therefore, conservation leaders need to understand by which actors, through which institutional setups and according to which rules relevant decisions are taken and turned into policy. They also need to be aware of how these structures and processes can be influenced to maximize conservation benefits. In order to develop this understanding and the corresponding skills, the module will address relevant governance actors, structures and processes at the local, national and global level.

An important driver of national policy development of high interest to countries of the programme region are Multilateral Environmental Agreements (MEAs) such as the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). This international governance framework for biodiversity and particularly the CBD with its structure, function, national implementation and relationships with other MEAs will be explained and discussed.

During the fourth module participants have the opportunity to

  • Explore the relevance of governance and policy to the practice of biodiversity conservation and natural resources management at the local, national and international level.
  • Address the role and entry-points of civil society in biodiversity governance and policy.
  • Get to know Community Based Natural Resource Governance at the local level, to support sustainable natural resources management, and discuss their potential applicability to their region.
  • Familiarize themselves with current examples of legal reform processes in natural resource governance on the national level in their region
  • Learn about the role of NGOs and Academia in the governance of ecosystems and biodiversity.
  • Collect information about Biodiversity-related Multilateral Environmental Agreements (MEAs) and their national implementation, with a particular focus on the Convention on Biological Diversity and critically appreciate the international governance framework on biodiversity and natural resources.
  • Learn and practice multilateral negotiations and decision making on shared resources during a simulation game on a multilateral conflict scenario about water and nature conservation.
  • Present the outcomes of their transfer projects and look into alumni activities of the programme.


The main excursion during this module will take the fellows to national and international institutions involved in conservation governance that are based in Bonn. At the Federal Agency for Nature Conservation (BfN), as a national institution at the interface of science and policy, fellows will learn about its multifaceted support functions in national, European and global policy development and implementation. The particular importance of legal frameworks for conservation and natural resources governance will be discussed at the Environmental Law Centre of the International Union for Conservation of Nature. A visit to the Secretariat of the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS) will introduce a key institution in global biodiversity governance.


Logo of the Klaus-Toepfer-Fellowship-Programme