Prof. em. Dr. Hans Hurni

Professor Emeritus

Unit Land Systems and Sustainable Land Management

Postal Address
University of Bern
Centre for Development and Environment (CDE)
Mittelstrasse 43
CH-3012 Bern

Areas of professional focus

  • Natural resource management
  • Sustainable development appraisal
  • Development of multi-level stakeholder approaches
  • Soil erosion process assessments
  • Soil and water conservation experimentation
  • Nature conservation
  • Interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary research
  • Methodological development


  • Senior scientist, Centre for Development and Environment, University of Bern (since 2016)
  • Founding Trustee, University of Central Asia (since 2017)
  • Independent Member of Board of Governors, International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD), 2014-2020
  • Founding president (2009-2013) of the Centre for Development and Environment (CDE), University of Bern
  • Initiator and Co-Director, together with Urs Wiesmann, of the Swiss National Centre of Competence in Research (NCCR) North-South (2001-2013) on research partnerships for mitigating syndromes of global change
  • Member of the Swiss delegation to the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD), “Rio+20”, including preparations (since 2011), negotiation, and representation of Switzerland at the conference (June 2012)
  • Project initiator of Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) support for Water and Land Resource Centres (WLRC) in the Horn of Africa and East Africa (2011-2019)
  • Dr h. c. in Agronomy, University of Haramaya, Ethiopia (2009)
  • Responsible for sustainable development research and education at the University of Bern (2010–2012)
  • Lead author of Global Chapter 1 of the International Assessment of Agricultural Knowledge, Science and Technology for Development (IAASTD, 2005–2008)
  • Initiator of, and contributor to, the World Overview of Conservation Approaches and Technologies (WOCAT) programme (since 1992)
  • Co-leader of the Eastern and Southern Africa Partnership Programme (ESAPP, since 1998)
  • Editor-in-Chief, since 2012 together with David Molden, of Mountain Research and Development (MRD, 1999-2016)
  • Initiator and leader of the Soil Conservation Research Programme (SCRP) in Ethiopia (1981–1998)
  • Initiator and co-leader, together with Eva Ludi, of the Simen Mountains Baseline Study, Ethiopia (SMBS, 1994–2000)
  • Dr phil.-nat. in Science, University of Bern (1980)

Further professional interests

  • Research management
  • Organisational development
  • Conflict transformation negotiations
  • Geographic information systems (GIS)
  • Process modelling

Field experience

Ethiopia, Thailand, Madagascar, Eritrea, Sri Lanka, Yemen, Cameroon, Kyrgyzstan, and professional visits to over 30 countries


German, English, French; and some Amharic, Italian, and Russian