The MSc. Programme on “Managing Science-Policy Interfaces on Biodiversity & Ecosystem Services for sustainable development in West Africa – SPIBES” is an integral part of the commitment of WABES to strengthen the capacity of West African experts, and by so doing reinforce their contribution to IPBES. Launched in December 2017, SPIBES is a two-year (4 semesters) interdisciplinary programme designed to provide students with extensive, high-quality understanding, knowledge and skills required to participate actively in science-policy interfaces such as IPBES and accelerate the achievement of UN sustainable development goals (SDGs) in West Africa.

SPIBES is open to qualified candidates in ECOWAS member countries, who have a strong background and interest in the sustainable management of biodiversity and ecosystem services through science-based policy and decision-making. Prospective students should be passionate about biodiversity conservation and be eager to engage in biodiversity-related science-policy interfaces such as IPBES at global, regional, sub-regional and national scales.

SPIBES is hosted jointly by the Climate, Natural Resources and Innovation (FD-CRNI) programme of the African Center of Excellence on Climate Change, Biodiversity and Durable Agriculture (CEA- CCBAD), and the Department of Sociology (FDS) of the University Félix Houphouët-Boigny (UFHB) Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire. The programme was established in cooperation with key global partners on sustainability issues such as ZEF/ University of Bonn, UN Environment World Conservation Monitoring Center (UNEP-WCMC), UFZ (Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research UFZ), West African Science Service Center for Climate Change and Adapted Land Use (WASCAL), CoKnow Consulting, Germany, University of Senghor, Egypt.

English is the language of instruction for SPIBES. After successful completion of this full-time programme, students are awarded MSc. Degree by the host university, University Félix Houphouët-Boigny (UFHB), and a certificate of completion from WABES. SPIBES offers fellowships to scholars/successful applicants from West Africa. The fellowship covers payment of tuition fees, field research budget, stipend for living expenses and a round-trip airline ticket. Students with own or third party funding may also be considered in exceptional cases.

The program will:

  • provide students with a general understanding of Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services / Nature`s contributions to people and their relevance from disciplinary and interdisciplinary perspectives;
  • facilitate interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary thinking to develop and enable a new generation of scientists to tackle global environmental challenges;
  • generate knowledge on the operation and development of (international) policy processes and decision making and;
  • Provide relevant scientific tools and methods to translate scientific findings into policy decision support tools.