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Bundesamt für Naturschutz

Klaus-Toepfer Fellowship

Promoting excellence and leadership among emerging nature conservation leaders 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 overcome global biodiversity loss. The training programme catalyses capacity development through training on international best conservation practices and policies, management training, and the development of personal networks.


The application period for the 2020–2021 cycle of the Klaus Toepfer Fellowship Programme is closed. Due to the health concerns relating to the coronavirus (COVID-19), the modules planned for 2020 and 2021 will take place online if necessary, with a modified module conception.

The Klaus Toepfer Fellowship Programme is implemented by the German Federal Agency for Nature Conservation (BfN) – the central scientific authority of the German federal government for both national and international nature conservation – in partnership with IUCN, the CBD Secretariat, the Secretariat of the CMS and UNEP-WCMC. The programme is funded by the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU).

The Klaus Toepfer Fellowship Programme is

  • a unique extra-occupational training programme for established conservation professionals from both governmental and non-governmental organizations,
  • putting a broad focus on biodiversity policy,
  • promoting professional excellence,
  • focusing on technical skills, management skills and leadership skills,
  • considering the ecological, historical and political linkages among the transition countries of the Eurasian region,
  • fostering a professional network in support of regional cooperation in biodiversity conservation,
  • combining highly interactive seminars held in English language, field trips and assignments, e-learning as well as a transfer project.
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