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Bundesamt für Naturschutz

Klaus Toepfer Fellowship: 19 nature conservation leaders successfully trained

International Academy for Nature Conservation
Putbus/Insel Vilm
19 nature conservation leaders from 13 countries successfully completed the 18-month Klaus-Toepfer Fellowship programme this week. The International Academy for Nature Conservation Isle of Vilm (INA) of the Federal Agency for Nature Conservation (BfN) offered the training programme for the fifth time.

“The Klaus Toepfer Fellowship offers participants a unique opportunity to learn about new conservation concepts and tools, develop their management skills, and network with each other, network with alumni, BfN, and experts from leading conservation organizations,” says Gisela Stolpe, head of the INA. Over the past 1.5 years, the fellows, young professionals, some with leadership responsibilities, have expanded their knowledge of key conservation topics as well as their management and leadership skills in four modules. They have also worked intensively on a project relevant to their own work. The topics of the transfer projects, such as financing for climate-adapted land use in Kyrgyzstan, climate-resilient management of protected areas in Turkmenistan, strategic environmental assessment in Croatia, conflict resolution for brown bear conservation in Ukraine, and the creation of a biodiversity law in Armenia, demonstrate the timeliness and relevance of the work. In their projects, the Fellows were able to successfully apply new knowledge and learned methods.

Due to the Corona pandemic, the course was held exclusively online for the first time.

The Klaus Toepfer Fellowship Programme is an international continuing education programme for experts from Eastern Europe, the Caucasus and Central Asia. In four ten-day training modules on the Isle of Vilm, it imparts professional knowledge and leadership skills to promising specialists from the region. The 19 participants in this year's cohort have already been working successfully for governmental and non-governmental organizations for several years and are distinguished by their great commitment. They were selected for the training programme through a three-stage application process, also with regard to their leadership potential. The participants implement what they have learned in their home countries and home organizations, thus ensuring that the programme has a broad impact.


Under the patronage of Prof. Dr. Klaus Toepfer, former Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), BfN offers a training programme for young leaders in nature conservation from Central and Eastern Europe, the Caucasus and Central Asia. Partners are the World Conservation Union IUCN, the World Conservation Monitoring Center of the United Nations Environment Programme (UN Environment WCMC), the Secretariat of the Bonn Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species (CMS) and the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). The Klaus Toepfer Fellowship Programme is funded by the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Nuclear Safety and Consumer Protection.

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