Bringing Sustainability Science to Cambodia – Education for Sustainable Development

A Sustainable Development and Sustainable Land Management curriculum has been co-developed at the Royal University of Agriculture in Cambodia in collaboration with the CDE to be used at higher education institutions.

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About the project

The Royal University of Agriculture (RUA) Cambodia and the Centre for Development and Environment (CDE) of the University of Bern co-developed a curriculum on Sustainable Development (SD) and Sustainable Land Management (SLM). The curriculum has the aim to build inter- and transdisciplinary competences among young researchers who will, in close cooperation with land users, engage in more sustainable agricultural production through appropriate natural resource management.

Aim of curriculum: To provide students in higher education with necessary knowledge, skills, and attitude on SLM, climate change and disaster risk to contribute to sustainable development in view of the three UN conventions (UNCCD, UNFCCC, UNCBD) and the SDGs. Curriculum development is not just about selecting the right contents and methods to be taught. Indeed, in addition to thematic and methodological skills, students should develop a number of other competences that will enable them to become agents of change, as well as to move from knowledge to action.

Target Group of curriculum: RUA BSc and/or MSc students, BSc students of other Agriculture-Focused Higher Education Institutions, government officials and NGO staff.


  • To provide students with relevant definitions, concepts and frameworks in land degradation, sustainable land management, climate change adaptation & mitigation and disaster risk reduction in the context of sustainable development, particularly the SDGs.
  • To provide students with tools and methods to document, assess and evaluate SLM practices at farm and landscape levels.
  • To enable students to support farmers/implementation projects (government, NGOs, etc.) in the adoption and adaptation of SLM practices
  • To provide students with the necessary competences (knowledge, professional skills, attitude) for the future job market connected with the three UN conventions and SDGs. 

Project results

Development of curriculum content: The curriculum is divided into 6 chapters, and encompasses 64 hours in total, divided into 32 lectures and 32 hours practice.

  • Chapter 1: Introduction to Sustainable Development, Land Degradation and Sustainable Land Management
  • Chapter 2: SLM Technologies and Approaches, and Ecosystem Services
  • Chapter 3: SLM and Climate Change 
  • Chapter 4: Mapping land degradation and SLM by using different tools
  • Chapter 5: Decision-support tools for SLM and assessment of ecosystem services
  • Chapter 6: Closing of lecture series

The project produced a teaching manual and teaching-learning materials in English and in Khmer for lecturers. These materials support the implementation of the SD & SLM course. 

Professional development of lecturers: CDE researchers carried out two training of trainers for lecturers on the curriculum. Lecturers were exposed to innovative ways of teaching and learning. 

Launch of the curriculum: The curriculum was officially launched in January 2020 at the “High-level Launch Event of the Sustainable Development and Sustainable Land Management Curriculum for the Royal University of Agriculture and Agriculture-focused Higher Education Institutions Cambodia’’ in Phnom Penh. 

Estimated impact

The elaborated curriculum will educate Cambodian students – of whom a great part will be engaged in supporting development of agriculture and ensuring food security in the future – on sustainability issues and therewith capacitate the young generation to address today’s challenges of food security, climate change, resource degradation, and poverty. With this, it will contribute to national efforts to meet the Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development – and in particular SDG 4 on “Quality Education” and SDG 15 on “Life on Land”.

Flyer_Curriculum Sustainable Development and Sustainable Land Management – Cambodia
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Involved partners:  

  • Centre for Development and Environment (CDE), University of Bern, Switzerland
  • Centre for Agricultural and Environmental Studies of the Royal University of Agriculture Cambodia (RUA), Cambodia

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Funding: ETH, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich, Switzerland


Project duration: 2019 - 2020

Isabelle Providoli
Isabelle Providoli
CDE Centre for Development and Environment
Senior Research Scientist
isabelle.providoli( at )
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