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September 29, 2017

The MOOC on “Disasters and Ecosystems: Resilience in a Changing Climate’ has been relaunched!

Recent events, such as flooding in South Asia and Texas in the United States have led to a great amount of discussion about the role that urban sprawl and the loss of green spaces and wetlands played in aggravating these disasters. It is critical that we learn more about the links between development and disasters through improved ecosystem management. This is what the Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) on “Disasters and Ecosystems: Resilience in a Changing Climate” is about, and we are re-launching it with new materials and interviews with global leaders.

When UN Environment and the TH Köln – University of Applied Sciences first launched the MOOC on “Disasters and Ecosystems: Resilience in a Changing Climate” in January 2015, no one could have anticipated its success. The first round of the course had over 12,000 participants from 183 countries. The participants took the initiative to create their own online community with now over 13,000 followers, where people share their stories of working with ecosystems to build resilience. For example, in India, Heba Anna Philip prepares farming communities for floods by introducing growbags that provide vegetables even if their fields are under water. And, in Pakistan, Dr. Naeem Shahzad at the National University of Sciences and Technology developed a new graduate programme based on what is covered in the course.

Erik Solheim, UN Environment Executive Director, in this MOOC, tells the story of Ravi Sangarappilai at the Disaster Management Center in northern Sri Lanka who started a campaign to improve coastal protection by planting hectares of mangroves. The MOOC also includes exclusive interviews from Inger Andersen, Director General of the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Robert Glasser, Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Disaster Risk Reduction.

The MOOC explores the linkages between ecosystems, disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation. It aims to enhance knowledge and skills for tackling these complex issues and how they can be operationalized through ecosystem-based solutions for promoting disaster risk reduction, climate change resilience and adaptation.

It is designed for disaster managers and practitioners, natural resources managers, climate change adaptation professionals, development planners, project implementers, policymakers and students from around the globe. 

The MOOC has been launched on September 18, 2017. You will have access to 6 units of the “leadership track” and will receive our certificate free of charge upon completion. The course will take approximately 20-30 hours to complete. It is self-paced (no time pressure) and available for the next six months. The expert track will start on November 20, 2017 live from Bali, Indonesia, where you will have access to 15 more units with more in-depth learning. This MOOC is hosted on the Asian Disaster Preparedness Center (ADPC) platform.

You can sign up under:

September 29, 2017

The ITT Academic Day is coming up on October 4th!

On October 4th 2017, ITT welcomes the new students of the master programs Renewable Energy Management (REM), Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) and Natural Resources Management and Development (NRM).
On this day the ITT will open its doors to grant students the opportunity to get to know professors and staff, as well as get an insight into the various services and facilities of the institute.

Where: Campus Deutz – 4th Floor “O” wing (ZO-4)
When: Between 14:00 and 16:30

An official welcome by the director of the ITT is scheduled from 17:00 to 17:30 at HS 4 (Lecturer Hall 4, Hörsaal 4).

After welcoming the new generation of students we want to say goodbye to our previous students who graduated within the last 12 months. In addition a best master thesis award will be awarded to a student from each master program.

The graduation ceremony will take place in HS 4, this ceremony is open for all students, graduates and their friends and families. Afterwards the graduates, their friends and families are invited for a “get-together” gathering in room ZS-8-8 with some drinks and snacks.

September 11, 2017

The Atlas workshops of Agdz, Morocco

The Joint Student Project continues – lecturers and students of three universities meet in Morocco from 10 to 18 September 2017

The ‘Atlas workshops of Agdz’ are nested in a project funded by the German Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Auswärtiges Amt) and executed in the DAAD programme  ‘Higher Education Dialogue with the Muslim World’. The model region of Agdz – a town located in the rural South Moroccan region of Souss-Massa-Draâ – was a main historical crossroad for the caravan routes from Marrakesh to Timbuktu and an important meeting point of different cultures. This is documented by the impressive loam (adobe) architecture and the 3,000-year-old Ahwash ritual of the Berber tribes. Agdz is seen as an Open Science Lab, where Moroccan and German scientists, artists and students work together on questions related to sustainable rural development and cultural identity. Rural exodus, ageing societies, loss of cultural heritage, and inefficient use of natural resources are the most pressing challenges of this area. From 10 to 18 September 2017 a student group from the ITT will visit the region in the frame of a joint student supervised by Udo Nehren, Claudia Raedig, and Silke Lichtenberg.  The German-Moroccan team   will meet at the Faculty of Science and Technology in Errachidia of the University Moulay Ismail (UMI). Based on the concept of inquiry-based learning, the mixed student group will carry out field studies in Errachidia and Agdz related to the topics of oasis agriculture, water resources management, rural development, and the role of women in higher education, science and art.

Preparation for an Ahwash ceremony during the joint student project in the Kasbah Caid Ali, Agdz

Preparation for an Ahwash ceremony during the joint student project in the Kasbah Caid Ali, Agdz

River oasis and traditional loam architecture in Agdz

River oasis and traditional loam architecture in Agdz

July 26, 2017

ITT co-organizes session at the World Water Congress 2017

The World Water Congress, organized by the International Water Resources Association (IWRA), the National Water Commission of Mexico (CONAGUA) and the National Association of Water and Sanitation Utilities (ANEAS) every 2-3 years, took place in Mexico this year from May 29th to June 2nd, 2017. Around 1000 experts from around the world met for knowledge exchange under the guiding theme “Bridge Science and Water Policy Making”. The Institute for Technology and Resources Management in the Tropics and Subtropics (ITT) of the TH Köln, together with Technische Universität Braunschweig and Asian Institute of Technology organized a special session on “Water Security and Climate Change: Challenges and Opportunities for Asia” referring to the conference organized under the same title in 2016 in Bangkok. The CNRD network was represented by Lars Ribbe and Alexandra Nauditt from ITT and by Tran Duc Trinh from Vietnam Academy of Water Resources.

The Congress ended with a call for action titled the “Cancun Declaration

Prof. Dr. Lars Ribbe (Director, ITT), Prof. Dr. Rabi H. Mohtar (Texas AM University), Prof. Dr. Mukand Babel (AIT, Thailand), Alexandra Nauditt (Senior Researcher, ITT) and other representatives from the CNRD exceed Committee were speakers in the special session under the topic “Water Security in a changing world”. The session’s goal was to present and share the main outcomes of the previous conference “Water Security and Climate Change – Challenges and Opportunities for Asia” that was attended by over 150 scientists from Asia in November 2016.

Prof. Dr. Lars Ribbe was explaining about CNRD Exceed Committee, its focus areas and the relation to the WSCC Conference

“Empowering Young Water Professionals through Engagement in Global Water Community”

Amrita Gautam, Ph.D. Research Scholar at ITT and Nepal’s representative in the World Youth Parliament for Water (WYPW), was one of the panelists in the special session “Empowering Young Water Professionals through Engagement in Global Water Community”.

This session strongly emphasized the role of youth in the global water resources discussions. Aslam Khan, the advisor of the Pakistan chapter for youth, stated that water is the most important component of all SDGs and that he believes young professionals have the enthusiasm and energy to contribute to meeting these SDGs. Networks of youth should be further developed, and indeed, Alice Colson provided an announcement of IWRA´s forthcoming Young Professional Chapter. To provide evidence of youth’s important involvement, four young professionals shared their experiences and work on water related issues such as climate change, community based water quality monitoring and the Water Youth Network.

Special session on “Water Sanitation and Health: Ensuring Drinking Water”

Water is vital for human health. Water is an essential and necessary component for all aspects of life, including drinking and providing adequate hygiene and sanitation. Unfortunately, the provision of these two services can be expensive and difficult to attain and maintain, particularly in rural areas where communities are far from centralized service areas. In this panel, speakers considered drinking water allocation case studies in Chile, as well as two different parts of Mexico (Oaxaca and San Luis Potosi).

The first speaker analyzed the efficacy of water and land use planning processes in Chile. Mr. Cristian Palma Infante and his colleagues created a qualitative and quantitative approach to analyze the connection between water planning and land use planning to see if each plan took the other into consideration. This approach is useful for objectively determining the level of integrated planning for water and could have interesting implications in other places.

Moving from Chile to Mexico, Juan Carlos Tejeda-Gonzalez presented his work on how to improve integrated drinking water planning for rural areas in the Altiplano. This research involved a strategic environmental assessment of the planning process for areas that are underserved by the government. Based on this research, it was determined that stakeholder engagement at the local level has the potential to create lasting, community-driven solutions. However, currently achieving meaningful stakeholder engagement is difficult in Mexico, where necessary forums for such engagement are not always available.

These case studies all managed to effectively weave in the importance of bridging the gap between science and policy by focusing on the importance of institutional, legal, and social aspects of water delivery services for human health.

July 26, 2017

The ITT was represented at the National Model United Nations (NMUN) in New York!

Delegates of ITT (TH Köln) in the General Assembly Hall @UN-Headquarter for NMUN NY 2017 Left to right: Uyen Nguyen, Amrita Gautam and Alexander Biesinger represented the Committees UNEA, WHO and UNICEF respectively

National Model United Nations (NMUN) conferences are held annually in New York City and Washington, DC. Every year over 5,000 college/university students, more than half from outside the United States, come to New York City in spring to discuss current global issues. This year, TH Köln took part for the first time in the NMUN Conference which was held in New York from 18th to 22nd March, 2017.

Each University was given a ‘country assignment’ and TH Köln got selected to work for the country assignment ‘Nepal’ in the head delegation of our PhD Candidate Amrita Gautam. Though there were 10 delegates in the initial phase of selection, only 3 delegates could attend the conference and actively participate due to the US Ban for 7 Muslim countries and some other travel issues. Nevertheless, 6 delegates from ITT submitted the position papers for the committees GA1, GA2, UNDP, UNEA, UNICEF and WHO. At the conference, the delegates covered various relevant topics for the member state Nepal including the mitigation of public health effects of climate change, access to clean and safe water, the promotion of the social inclusion of children, the implementation of the Paris Agreement, the sustainable use of the oceans, seas and marin resources, as well the improvement in coordination of health services in outbreaks and emergencies.

In addition, the representatives of TH Köln attended the NMUN NY Opportunity Fair on 21st March to promote and provide information regarding the master programs and events of ITT for the interested participants in the given time-frame.

Delegates in discussion standing in front of famous bronze sculpture within UN Premises -‘Sphere with Sphere’, 1991/1993 by Arnaldo Pomodoro: Gift by Italy in 1996

ITT (TH Köln) represented at the Opportunity Fair @Sheraton Hotel, NMUN- New York 2017

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