Bernese Award for Environmental Research


Main Prize

The 2003 Bernese Award for Environmental Research was presented at the University of Bern’s Dies academicus, with the Main Prize going to biologist Sven Bacher. He received the award for his post-doctoral thesis proposing new ways of biological control of weeds and pests. In his work, Sven Bacher studied alternatives to conventional chemical pesticides. The findings open up innovative and practical possibilities of biological control of weeds and pests. The research makes an important contribution to reducing the environmental impact of chemicals, and to sustainable ways of dealing with harmful organisms.

Recognition Awards

Recognition Awards go to, respectively:

  • Theologist Sandra Begré, vicar of the Evangelical Reformed Church in Bern, for her work on animal ethics in terms of livestock and meat production in the light of Old Testament texts – are they objects of rule or fellow creatures? (Herrschaftsobjekt oder Mitgeschöpf? Tierethik im Problembereich von Nutztierhaltung und Fleischproduktion im Horizont alttestamentlicher Texte.) Questions of livestock and meat production are central and current problems in animal ethics. The author highlights these problematic areas in the context of the relevant biblical texts from the Old Testament and of ethical questions. The author links the understanding of biblical texts and traditions, and ethical judgments of today. To do so she discusses current legal and environmental issues, and proposes concrete political and ethical alternatives to the present situation in meat production and livestock farming.

  • Katrin Nussbaumer, for her work on enforcement mechanisms in international environmental law – choice and configuration in regard to different contractual objectives. (Durchsetzungsmechanismen im Umweltvölkerrecht – Wahl und Ausgestaltung im Hinblick auf unterschiedliche Vertragsziele.) The author sets out to investigate the question: how can contemporary environmental law be enforced? In the still young, rapidly developing field of international environmental law, over 100 multilateral treaties have been adopted in the past decades on various aspects of natural resource management. The author investigates the effectiveness and sustainability of various enforcement mechanisms, using among others the example of the Kyoto Protocol on Climate Change (1997). The study concludes that institutional performance monitoring, which requires regular reporting on the state of fulfilment of an agreement, is the most appropriate enforcement mechanism for contemporary environmental law.