UNESCO Chair «Natural and Culture Heritage for Sustainable Mountain Development»

The UNITWIN/UNESCO chairs programme supports over 800 university chairs worldwide that address UNESCO’s key priority areas. Since mid-2016, Stephan Rist (CDE and Institute of Geography, University of Bern, Switzerland) and Boniface Kiteme (CETRAD, Kenya) have jointly held the UNESCO Chair on Natural and Cultural Heritage for Sustainable Mountain Development.

The UNESCO Chair «Natural and Cultural Heritage for Sustainable Mountain Development» develops strategies of inter- and transdisciplinary cooperation with a special focus on co-production, co-mediation and co-application regarding the conservation of natural and cultural assets as resources and their valorization in sustainable mountain development.

The purpose of this UNESCO Chair is to

  • Establish an international network for the protection of large mountain areas
  • Apply novel inter- and transdisciplinary approaches to conserve the natural and cultural heritage of mountain regions and support its valorization with a view to sustainable development
  • Educate and train professionals and academics in mountain regions
  • Promote sharing of knowledge and information among different world heritage sites
  • Foster awareness of World Heritage sites in the European Alps and mountains worldwide, focusing on the North–South context and using open access online tools

The UNESCO Chair is managed by the UNESCO World Heritage Swiss Alps Jungfrau-Aletsch Management Center together with the Institute of Geography and the Centre for Development and Environment (CDE) at the University of Bern and the Centre for Training and Integrated Research In ASAL Development (CETRAD) in Nanyuki, Kenya. Chair-holders are Professor Stephan Rist (CDE) and co-holder Boniface Kiteme (director of CETRAD).

With its co-holder based at CETRAD in Nanyuki, Kenya, the Chair is ideally positioned to strengthen collaboration between Swiss Alps Jungfrau-Aletsch and World Heritage sites in African mountain regions and other regions of the world. In 2018, this collaborative network was expanded to include a protected area in Chile and Bolivia.

In addition to the consortium of chair partners, an international network with 20 cooperation partners has been established for cooperation in teaching, research and applied projects in the field of World Heritage and sustainable mountain area development. This network includes universities, colleges and UNESCO institutions. The partners of the UNESCO Chair and UNESCO Chairs in Switzerland are working together with the UNESCO World Heritage Jungfrau-Aletsch.

News of the UNESCO Chair can be found here.

UNESCO Chair Newsletter #1
Newsletter #1: UNESCO Chair: Natur- und Kulturerbe für nachhaltige Gebirgsentwicklung (german)

UNESCO Chair Newsletter #2
Newsletter #2: Traditions and perspectives insights into Sustainable Mountain Development