Saving the world isn’t rocket science – creating structures for conserving biodiversity and ecosystem services

Saving the world isn’t rocket science – creating structures for conserving biodiversity and ecosystem services


We already know what is wrong with the world, but how can we fix it? Mankind is dependent on biodiversity and the ecosystem services it provides. We are all inextricably tied to nature, and we must consider its limits when we use it (through recreation, for food production, and when developing land). The need for sustainable use and conservation of biodiversity and ecosystem services is global, and ambitious goals have been set by international conventions to tackle the issues (e.g. Paris Climate Change Conference 2015, UN Sustainable Development Goals). However, we need adequate structures for e.g. policy making and education to be able to make a change and move towards the set goals. That is what capacity building is for: After determining the problem, a set of tools are used to reach a long term solution.


Importance of capacity building for sustainable use of nature

Capacity building = The development of scientific, technical and managerial structures of an organization, community or region to improve resource utilization. The goal of capacity building is to facilitate sustainable development via policy choices and implementation plans. It is based on an understanding of the nature of the region, and on the needs of the people living there. Capacity building can be seen as a toolbox with methods we can use to address global asymmetries in individual and institutional capacities.

Capacity building has a wide range of approaches:


Approach Goal
Education Increasing the competence of the future workforce
Access to existing knowledge Access to data on biodiversity and ecosystem services
Building the knowledge base Production of relevant scientific knowledge for policy needs
Research Connecting management needs and research
Communication Outreach to decision makers and to the public
Internationality Participation in international assessment processes
Networking Sharing knowledge, cooperation
Creating resources Securing funding and legislation changes for more effective management

What is IPBES?

What is IPBES?

The Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) sets goals for sustainability, and has created a unit in Trondheim to work on capacity building. IPBES is the intergovernmental body which assesses the state of biodiversity and of the ecosystem services it provides to society, in response to requests from decision makers. It is parallel to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

Project topics etc.

Project topics

This EiT village will use interdisciplinary teams to examine how capacity building in areas such as financing, education and management could facilitate sustainable use and conservation of biodiversity and ecosystem services. Several project topics are available and are to be combined with capacity building approaches:

  • Responsible ecotourism
  • Sustainable urban development
  • Sustainable agriculture
  • Human-wildlife conflict

Capacity building is an interdisciplinary approach, and we welcome students from all fields of science (including rocket science) to join the village!


External partners

IPBES technical support unit on capacity building based in Trondheim


Village supervisors

PhD Candidate Lara Veylit (

PhD Candidate Rune Sørås (

Professor Gunnar Austrheim (



IPBES - Building capacity

IPBES - Global Assessment Report on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services

IPCC - Climate Change and Land

IPBES - Science and Policy for People and Nature


Fakta om landsbyen - BI2098

Course code: BI2098
Village: Saving the world isn’t rocket science - creating structures for conserving biodiversity and ecosystem services
Type: Semester-based
Language: English
Village supervisors: Rune Sørås, Gunnar Austrheim, Caitlin Mandeville
Semester: Spring 2021

Infoboks nettpresentasjoner

Viktig informasjon om EiT:

  • Det unike med EiT er fokuset på samarbeidskompetanse og gruppeprosesser.
  • Undervisningsformen i EiT forutsetter at alle bidrar og er til stede hele semesteret. Derfor er det obligatorisk tilstedeværelse hver landsbydag.
  • I motsetning til mange emner er spesielt de første dagene viktig i EiT. Det er da dere i gruppa blir kjent med hverandre, og diskuterer hva hver enkelt kan bidra med. Dere skal også utarbeide den obligatoriske samarbeidsavtalen, samt begynne å utarbeide en felles problemstilling.
  • Utfyllende informasjon om Eksperter i team finner du på siden for studenter.