New UNESCO Chair will strengthen observation and education in UNESCO Biosphere Reserves and World Heritage sites
A newly established UNESCO Chair on World Heritage and Biosphere Reserve Observation and Education was launched at the Heidelberg University of Education (Pädagogische Hochschule Heidelberg), in Heidelberg, Germany on 25 November 2016. It is the 11th UNESCO Chair in Germany and the 5th Chair contributing to the achievements of the Man and the Biosphere (MAB) Programme.
The purpose of the Chair is to promote an integrated system of research and its application, training and education, based on modern geo-information technologies and geo-ecological methods, in order to analyse, model and visualize environmental changes at UNESCO designated sites. It will facilitate collaboration between high-level, internationally recognized researchers and teaching staff of the university and other institutions in Germany, as well as elsewhere in Europe and in other regions of the world.
Dr Lutz Möller, Deputy Secretary-General of the German Commission for UNESCO, emphasized that this Chair will promote the sustainable development and communication of almost 670 UNESCO Biosphere Reserves and over 1,000 UNESCO World Heritage sites. This Chair will provide important, practical support for monitoring, risk analysis and intervention planning, through problem-oriented and transdisciplinary research undertaken in collaboration with UNESCO sites managers.
‘In order to protect UNESCO World Heritage sites and biosphere reserves, we are developing new concepts and methods of environmental research and communication and are helping to make valid approaches widely available’, explained Professor Dr Alexander Siegmund, Chair holder and Head of the Department of Geography – Research Group for Earth Observation at the Heidelberg University of Education. ‘We are using digital geo-media, such as satellite data, but also geo-ecological laboratories and field methods to analyse, model and visualize the development of UNESCO sites, especially in developing countries. In this way, the UNESCO Chair supports the preservation, management and sustainable development of these sites, and at the same time raises awareness of their universal value’.
As with existing chairs, the Chair on World Heritage and Biosphere Reserve Observation and Education will strengthen academic cooperation with universities and research institutions in emerging and developing countries, but also within Germany and Europe.
Source: German Commission for UNESCO (in German)
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