E-Learning opportunities for action on biodiversity

Image
Advert for learning about biodiversity, showing a butterfly

Last edited 17 April 2024 (note that additional links and/or information were added; earlier content was not checked for updates at this time).

How can we take action for biodiversity? Fortunately, we now have plenty of learning opportunities to choose from. This blog post was inspired by an ONet Caucus Day: thank you to ONet's many dedicated volunteers! This is the second in a series: scroll down for links to parts 1 and 3.

 

IPBES regional assessments summaries
Each summary includes key messages

Learn about action for biodiversity with IPBES

  • Join us at one of ONet's virtual Caucus Days. While the agenda at Caucus Days varies, they will usually include on overview of the many opportunities to take action for biodiversity with IPBES. Upcoming dates are published on the events page and in the ONet newletter. To receive the newsletter, join ONet.
     
  • The summaries for policy makers of IPBES assessment reports include key messages to inform action for biodiversity.
     
  • Get inspiration from the IPBES Impact Tracking Database: how have others used IPBES outputs?

You might also want to follow IPBES on YouTube, Facebook, X, LinkedIn, or Instagram. And why not help promote IPBES with a colourful background for your video conferences?

 

 

Online courses

Given the thousands of online courses available today, this blog can only provide a small selection. The main selection criteria were

  1. reputable providers.
  2. access at no cost to you, thanks to generous providers or sponsors. Wherever possible, we opted for courses that provide not just the content, but also a certificate free of charge to learners.

Please note that it was not possible to test each course in full. Please help us improve this information by sharing your experiences in the comments.

 

photograph of a butterfly
photo by Augustine Mullick

Taking action for biodiversity

  • Citizen science and global biodiversity: This course "deals with the importance of biodiversity and explores how anyone can contribute to and be involved in identifying and recording wildlife, as a citizen scientist. It looks at what citizen science is, and how citizen science facilitates public involvement in scientific research activities as individuals learn and build skills."
    Introductory course. Estimated to take you 24 hours in total. Comes with a free statement of participation and a free Open University digital badge. Offered by the Open University, with the support of Dangoor Education.
     
  • Behaviour change for conservation.
    Introductory course developed to guide behavioural change practitioners, social marketers, communicators, and anyone else looking to develop or implement a behavioural change intervention for conservation gain. Estimated to take you 2.5 hours. No information on certification given. Offered by TRAFFIC.
     
  • Communicating the Value of Biodiversity: "In this course, you will learn to effectively communicate the importance of nature for humanity and for the health of the planet."
    Introductory course. Estimated to take you 3-4.5 hours. Comes with a free certificate. Offered by Learning for Nature, a UNDP e-learning programme. For the links to the French and Spanish versions, see below.
     
  • Designing for Change: Environmental Education Research and Practice: "Have you ever wondered how research in psychology, learning sciences, environmental studies, and other fields might be relevant to your environmental education work?"
    Introductory course. Estimated to take you 1-2 hours a week for 6 weeks. While access to the course is free, the certificate comes at a cost. Offered by Stanford University.
     
  • Ecosystem Services: a Method for Sustainable Development: "Ecosystem services are a way of thinking about – and evaluating – the goods and services provided by nature that contribute to the well-being of humans.This MOOC will cover scientific (technical), economic, and socio-political dimensions of the concept through a mix of theory, case-studies, interviews with specialists and a serious-game."
    Intermediate level; no prerequisites. Estimated to take you 17 hours. While access to the course is free, the certificate comes at a cost. Financial aid is available. Offered by the University of Geneva. Available with subtitles in different languages; see below.
     
  • Natural Resources Risk and Action Framework: Lack of cross-sectoral collaboration remains a significant hurdle to effectively manage natural resources like soil, water or biodiversity. In this self-paced course, participants learn how to set up and accompany stewardship partnerships to collectively manage these natural resources."
    Recommended for stakeholders from the public, private sector or civil society. Estimated to take you about 10 hours. Comes with a free certificate. Offered on a learning platform implemented by the German GIZ.
     
  • Ecosystem Restoration (2023): "you will learn to develop a step-by-step ecosystem restoration plan and apply effective restoration solutions in your national and subnational context." Note that another version of the course is also available.
    Introductory course. Estimated to take you 3-5 hours per module for 8 modules. Comes with a free certificate. Offered by Learning for Nature, a UNDP e-learning programme. For the links to the French and Spanish versions, see below.
     
  • Protected Areas and Sustainable Development: "This module discusses how ecosystem services can best be incorporated into protected area management, and in so doing contribute to sustainable development. The lessons will improve your knowledge of the links between managing protected areas for biodiversity conservation and for ecosystem services."
    Recommended for protected area managers, conservation practitioners, and conservation policymakers. Estimated to take you 4 hours. Comes with a free certificate of completion. Offered by The Nature Conservancy, the Convention on Biological Diversity, NBSAP Forum, and UNDP. The course is part of a series on National Biodiversity Strategies and Action Plans.
     
    • Protected Areas Management in Africa: "This course is about areas dedicated to nature conservation, 'protected areas', in Africa. It focuses on how they work and why they are so important in maintaining the health of the environment in a fast developing world, and in particular, in Africa. It will help you understand the challenges of conservation in Africa and how protected areas can help to deal with it, from the local to the international level." Note that this course also discussed several multilateral environment agreements in practice.
      Introductory course. Estimated to take you 60 hours to complete. Comes with a free certificate of success upon achieving a minimum grade. Developed by IUCN-PAPACO (African Protected Areas & Conservation Program of the International Union for Conservation of Nature) and its partners. For the link to the French version, see below. This course is part of the free Online Certificate in Protected Area Conservation granted by Senghor University upon passing a proctored exam.
       
    • Animal Behaviour in Conservation: "Equip yourself with the skills to assess human-caused impact on diverse species. Learn to apply behavioural principles to design more effective conservation actions."
      Introductory course, recommended for those with an undergraduate degree in a field related to biology, or a minimum of one year of academic or professional experience in wildlife conservation. Estimated to take you 4-6 hours a week for 5 weeks. While the course is available for free, the certificate comes at cost. Offered by Wageningen University & Research.
       
    • Open Online Course on Gender and Environment: "Discover what you can do to promote gender equality and women’s empowerment in biodiversity, climate change, land degradation, international waters, chemicals and waste."
      Recommended for specialists, development practitioners, policy makers, government official, and everyone curious and interested. Estimated to take you 6 hours to complete. Comes with a free certificate. Developed by the Global Environment Facility (GEF), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the GEF Small Grants Programme (SGP), and UNITAR/UN CC:Learn, with further contributing partners. For the links to the Spanish and French versions, see below.

     

     

    Planning and coordinating for biodiversity

    • Landscape Approach 101: "The Landscape-based Approach is increasingly recognized as an effective mean to address challenges in food security, ecosystem conservation, and climate change. This e-course explains key features of landscape approach, governance and showcases."
      Introductory course. Estimated to take you 4-5 hours. No information on certification provided. Offered by the World Bank Group. Note that you will need to log in or open a free online account with the World Bank Group's Open Learning Campus to access the course.
       
    • Integrated Land-Use Initiatives: Theory and Practice: "Drawing upon the World Bank’s Guide to Integrated Land-Use Initiatives and the "Landscapes 101” course [see above], this e-course includes greater emphasis on cross-cutting themes such as social inclusion and adaptive management and identifies continuing challenges."
      Introductory course. No time estimate given. No information on certification provided. Offered by the World Bank Group. To access the course, follow the steps described on the landing page, then click to open the content on the World Bank Group's Open Learning Campus: the course will open in a separate tab. The alternative links require a free online account with the World Bank Group's Open Learning Campus:
    • Landscape Ecology: "This is the first MOOC to teach Landscape Ecology. Participants learn theory, methods and tools to understand the landscapes we live in and to solve landscape-related environmental problems."
      Intermediate level, recommended for those with high-school algebra, basic knowledge in geographic information systems (GIS) and statistics (or willingness to invest additional effort), basic knowledge in the field of ecology, and the ability to understand and interpret maps. Estimated to take you 2-4 hours a week for 14 weeks. While the course is available for free, the certificate comes at cost. Offered by ETH Zurich.
       
    • Identifying and delineating Key Biodiversity Areas: "Key Biodiversity Areas (KBAs) are sites contributing significantly to the global persistence of biodiversity. [...] This course is designed to provide you with the knowledge and skills necessary to identify and delineate KBAs consistent with the KBA Standard."
      No information on the course level provided. Estimated to take you 10 hours. Comes with a free certificate. Developed by the KBA Partnership. The button for enrollment only works after you sign up for an account. For links to the Portuguese, French and Spanish versions, see below.
       
    • Integrated Spatial Planning: "You will learn how countries can use spatial data to achieve nature, climate, and sustainable development ambitions simultaneously."
      No information on the course level provided. Estimated to take you 3-5 hours per module for 5 modules. Comes with a free certificate of course completion. Organised by United Nations Development Programme, GEF Global Biodiversity Framework - Early Action Support, and PacMARA, supported by further contributors and donors. For links to the French and Spanish versions, see below.
       
    • Using Spatial Data for Biodiversity: "In this micro-course, you will learn about the value of remote sensing for monitoring biodiversity conservation and sustainable development, learn how to use the UN Biodiversity Lab (UNBL) to visualize and analyze spatial data, and gain an understanding of how countries around the world are using spatial data to take action for nature."
      Introductory course. Estimated to take you 4 hours in total. Comes with a free certificate of course completion. Offered by Learning for Nature, a UNDP e-learning programme. For links to the French, Spanish, Russian, and Portuguese versions, see below.
       
    • Sustainable Consumption and Production: "This course introduces the concept of sustainable consumption and production (SCP). It also describes how to integrate SCP concepts into conservation and development planning and management processes, such as those associated with National Biodiversity Strategies and Action Plans (NBSAPs) and UN Sustainable Development Goals."
      No description of the level provided. Estimated to take you 3 hours. Comes with a free certificate. Also available on ConservationTraining.org, where it is part of a series on National Biodiversity Strategies and Action Plans. For links to the French and Spanish versions, see below.
       
    • Danube Floodplain Online Course: "According to the recent management and scientific evidence bringing river to its natural path of flooding, is the best possible solution to tackle multiple water, drought, biodiversity and land management related challenges of our time. Danube Floodplain project shows this is possible. In the online course we tackle the cross-cutting water management tools developed for the Danube region, and applicable across its boundaries. We tackle the historical floodplain loss, flood risk, and on application case studies we discuss the win-win measures."
      Introductory course, open to everyone, and especially recommended for young and mid-level professionals from local, regional or national water authorities and disaster risk reduction area, the SMEs working in flood, water management sector, and students –the future managers. Estimated to take you 2-5 hours a week for 6 weeks. The course comes with assessments and you can track your achievement; information on certification is unclear. Coordinated and produced by Global Water Partnership Central and Easter Europe (GWP CEE), and with contributions from Danube Floodplain partners, within the framework of the Danube Transnational Programme. Note: although this course uses the same e-learning software, you need to register separately from edx.org.

     

     

    Monitoring biodiversity

    You might also be interested in the recordings of the Esri Conservation Webinar Series previously promoted on ONet.

    • Ecological monitoring: "This course is about ecological monitoring, an essential aspect of protected areas management. Following this 4-module MOOC, you will acquire a good basis on what monitoring is and how it should be conducted."
      Introductory course. Estimated to take you 40 hours to complete. Comes with a free certificate of success upon achieving a minimum grade. Developed by IUCN-PAPACO (African Protected Areas & Conservation Program of the International Union for Conservation of Nature) and its partners. For the link to the French version, see below. This course is part of the free Online Certificate in Protected Area Conservation granted by Senghor University upon passing a proctored exam.
       
    • New technologies: "This MOOC will introduce the context of these technologies applied to conservation, existing techniques, prerequisites for their implementation, their scientific and / or technical basis, their opportunities and limitations, their uses in the field etc. Some basics in regards to communications, data storage, software and energy availability will be explained, and new developments such as blockchain will be presented along with examples from the field."
      Introductory course. Estimated to take you 40 hours to complete. Comes with a free certificate of success upon achieving a minimum grade. Developed by IUCN-PAPACO (African Protected Areas & Conservation Program of the International Union for Conservation of Nature) and its partners. For the link to the French version, see below. This course is part of the free Online Certificate in Protected Area Conservation granted by Senghor University upon passing a proctored exam. Also see the course 'The intersection between AI and the climate and biodiversity crisis' listed below.
       
    • Environmental DNA: Sensing the Diversity of Life and Assessing Ecosystem Health: "The first MOOC on environmental DNA (eDNA) analysis for biodiversity monitoring and conservation. Learn how to detect, identify and monitor species in a non-invasive way to improve our assessments of diverse ecosystems, so we can find better ways to protect them."
      Intermediate course, recommended for those with basic knowledge of biological and ecological concepts. Estimated to take you 1-2 hours a week for 7 weeks. While access to the course is free, the certificate comes at a cost. Offered by ETH Zurich.
       
    • Aeroecology: Exploring Biodiversity with Radar: "Learn the principles of radar and how radar data can tell us about the diversity and abundance of organisms. Explore how to apply radar to provide novel approaches to the study of complex questions in biodiversity research."
      Intermediate course; some experience or strong interest in radar technology, biodiversity science, conservation or ecology will be useful. Estimated to take you 9 hours. While access to the course is free, the certificate comes at a cost. Financial aid is available. Offered by the University of Leeds.
       
    • Remote Sensing and Mapping for Coral Reef Conservation: "This course is designed to provide marine managers, conservation practitioners, scientists, decision makers, and GIS professionals with the necessary background to decide if remote sensing products can help in their conservation work, and which products are best suited to their needs. It highlights the Allen Coral Atlas, an exciting new online platform with high-resolution imagery and global benthic and geomorphic maps of the world’s coral reef habitats. The course also delves into fine-scale mapping of live coral cover to address conservation challenges in the Caribbean."
      Recommended for marine managers, conservation practitioners, scientists, decision makers, and GIS professionals. Estimated to take you 2.25 hours. Comes with a free certificate of completion. This course was developed by Arizona State University’s Center for Global Discovery and Conservation Science, the National Geographic Society, Planet, the Reef Resilience Network, The Nature Conservancy Caribbean Division, the University of Queensland’s Remote Sensing Research Center, and Vulcan Inc. The button for enrollment only works after you sign up for an account.
       
    • Planning for Conservation: Using the Conservation Standards: "In order to achieve our conservation goals, the conservation community must determine the extent to which our actions are working – and we must be able to diagnose why some actions succeed while others do not."
      No information on the level provided. Estimated to take you 3-4 hours. Comes with a free completion certificate, and a plan completion certificate. Offered by the Conservation Measures Partnership, the Conservation Coaches Network, FOS, and The Nature Conservancy. The button for enrollment only works after you sign up for an account. This course is based on the Open Standards for the Practice of Conservation; you might also be interested in the course on the IUCN Green List in part 1 of the e-learning catalogues.
       
    • Measures Demystified: "This self-paced courses provides conservation practitioners with the opportunity to explore, at their own pace, the process of considering the audience and conservation context for monitoring programs, as well as reviewing the fundamentals of articulating program logic and experimental design for cost effective data collection, which we collectively refer to as 'measures.'"
      No details on the level provided. Estimated to take you 2.75 hours. Comes with a free certificate of completion. Offered by The Nature Conservancy. The button for enrollment only works after you sign up for an account.

     

     

    Taking action for biodiversity and on climate change

    Alongside the following courses, you may also be interested in the reports produced jointly by IPBES and IPCC at their co-sponsored workshop: the synopsis included with the workshop report, and the full scientific outcome. For their work, IPBES and IPCC shared the Gulbenkian Prize for Humanity in 2022.

    • Climate Action in Biodiverse Landscapes: "This online course will boost your knowledge and skills to help you move from analysis to action in order to develop climate smart landscapes across the world."
      Introductory course. Estimated to take you 4-6 hours a week for 4 weeks. While access to the course is free, the certificate comes with a charge. Offered by Wageningen University & Research. This course is part of the Sustainable & Inclusive Landscapes Professional Certificate that comes at a fee.
       
    • Environment, climate change and health for practitioners and actors guiding policy change: "Environmental risks to health are responsible for a large fraction of the overall disease burden. Decision makers need to be aware of the most important environmental exposures, exposure-disease links and available options and solutions for creating a healthier environment."
      Recommended for key decision makers at national, regional and municipal levels, etc., community health workers, UN country representatives and country staff, and nongovernmental organizations planning or performing country work. Estimated to take you about 2 hours. Comes with a free record of achievement and a digital badge. Offered by the World Health Organization.
       
    • The intersection between AI and the climate and biodiversity crisis: This course "explores how AI-based technologies can be harnessed to help fight climate change and accelerate biodiversity conversation."
      Recommended for
      learners who have an interest in AI and its positive, and negative influences on the climate and biodiversity crisis. Estimated to take you about 1 hour. Comes with a free certificate. Offered on a learning platform implemented by the German GIZ, and developed by AI Ethics in cooperation with Constanza Gomez Mont of C Minds. Also see the course 'New Technologies' listed above.

    Protecting the world’s forests is crucial for the climate. Forests absorb vast amounts of carbon dioxide and can be a source of greenhouse gas emissions when destroyed or damaged. Countries established the ‘REDD+’ framework to protect forests as part of the Paris Agreement.

    • Fundamentals on REDD+: "Fundamentals on REDD+ covers the basics of REDD+, from the elements required under the UNFCCC to how to prepare and implement REDD+ at the national level including financial resource available."
      Introductory course. Estimated to take you 12 hours. Comes with a free certificate from UN-REDD and UNITAR. For links to the Spanish and French versions, see below. Part of the REDD+ e-Academy that also includes the course Advancing on REDD+ described below.
       
    • Advancing on REDD+: Further to the introductory course described above, "Advancing on REDD+ discusses in more detail the other three REDD+ elements, to which it adds the importance of engaging in the process the relevant stakeholders and the principles of a good governance."
      Advanced course. Estimated to take you 12 hours. Comes with a free certificate from UN-REDD and UNITAR. For links to the Spanish and French versions, see below. Part of the REDD+ e-Academy that also includes the course Fundamentals on REDD+ described above.
       
    • Nature-based Solutions for Disaster and Climate Resilience: "What are ‘Nature-based solutions’, or NbS? How can they help build resilience to disasters and climate change impacts? Why is NbS relevant? How can I apply NbS in my work and everyday life?"
      Introductory course, designed to be accessible for everyone; explicitely recommended for practitioners in relevant areas, policy makers, engineers and urban planners, businesses, and youth and educators. Note that  "the content within the course is dense and complex, structured at a higher level; so we expect most of our learners to be at an undergraduate or master’s level". Estimated to take you one hour on average for each of the seven units; according to information on edX, however, the course could take you longer for each unit (edX schedules one unit a week). Comes with a free certificate from UNEP. Offered by through PEDRR, a global alliance of UN agencies, NGOs and specialist institutes, and through the SDG Academy. Alternatively, you can sign up directly on edX. See below for further languages. Please note that placed on this course may be limited and that the course may become available on additional platforms in future, according to information from PEDRR.
      Note that nature-based solutions are also known as ecosystem-based adaptation: also see the courses below.
       
    • Building Climate Resilience through Ecosystem-based Adaptation Planning: "This course will highlight the key concepts, tools, examples and steps for integrating Ecosystem-based Adaptation (EbA) in the National Adaptation Plans (NAP) process. Hence, it has been formulated as a companion to the Guidelines, and we suggest it should be taken as such."
      Introductory course, recommended for anyone interested in understanding the process of integrating Ecosystem-based Adaptation (EbA) into National Adaptation Plans, especially technical specialists and experts, policymakers, government officials, and academic and wider public stakeholders. Estimated to take you 3 hours. Comes with a free certificate of completion. This course is a learning initiative of UNITAR offered through UN CC:Learn.
      Note that ecosystem-based adaptation is also known as nature-based solutions: also see the course above.
       
    • Ecosystem-based Adaptation: Working with nature to adapt to a changing climate: "The course will equip learners with transferable and replicable skills in designing and implementing Ecosystem-based Adaptation (EbA) initiatives by offering targeted training on key principles, risk assessments, monitoring, and governance."
      Intermediate level. Estimated to take you 1-2 hours a week for 9 weeks. Comes with a free certificate of completion. This course was produced by a collaboration between Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), IUCN, the International Union for Conservation of Nature, and the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD), with further funding partners; it is offered through the SDG Academy. The video transcripts in the course are also available in French and Spanish.
      Note that ecosystem-based adaptation is also known as nature-based solutions: also see the course above.
       
    • Corals & Climate Adaptation Planning: Adaptation Design Tool: "This course is designed to help coral reef managers incorporate climate-smart design into their management activities by considering the effects of climate change on ecosystem stressors and implications for effective management."
      Designed for coral reef managers and decision makers. Estimated to take you 2 hours. Comes with a free record of completion. Based on materials developed by
      the Climate Change Working Group of the interagency U.S. Coral Reef Task Force and The Nature Conservancy. The button for enrollment only works after you sign up for an account.

     

     

    Taking action on invasive alien species

    Invasive alien species are one among the five direct drivers of biodiversity loss, yet often underappreciated, underestimated, and unacknowledged. In 2023, IPBES published the Thematic Assessment of Invasive Alien Species and their Control — the largest study ever of its kind. For more information and materials, see our dedicated page.

    • Have you seen an alien?: "This course aims at raising awareness, increasing knowledge and involving the public in monitoring invasive alien species (IAS) in Europe, promoting people’s engagement in IAS management, and supporting the implementation of the EU Regulation 1143/2014 on IAS."
      Introductory course. No estimate of duration provided. Comes with a free certificate. Offered by the European Commission. Available in multiple EU languages.
       
    • Introduction to Invasive Species Online Training: "The goal of the course is to increase the awareness and implementation of responsible actions related to invasive species prevention and management by government staff, contractors, and volunteers working on provincial public lands." Please note, while concepts introduced in this course are likely widely applicable, it draws on examples relevant to British Columbia, Canada.
      Introductory course. Estimated to take you 3-5 hours. Receive a free downloadable certificate upon passing a quiz. Developed by the BC Inter-Ministry Invasive Species Working Group (IMISWG).
       
    • The Invasive Species Council of BC eLearning course catalogue. While these courses draw on examples from British Columbia, Canada, some are relevant to a wider audience: for example, an introduction to invasive alien species and training on community science. Furthermore, training for pet owners, gardeners, forestry practitioners and professionals, land use professionals, tourism professionals, marina operators and staff, anglers, and seaplane operators.

    Of course, invasive alien species are different in different geographic regions. The courses listed above were selected for relevance to a global audience. Nowadays, several e-learning opportunities are availabe for specific regions: for example training by the Midwest Invasive Species Information Network (MISIN) on species identification, or Canada's Invasive Species Centre's Spotted Lanternfly Training. You may want to search online for available training in your region.

    The courses 'Marine Protected Areas' listed below, 'Species conservation', and 'One Planet, One Ocean' listed in part 1 of the course catalogue include chapters on invasive alien species.

     

     

    photograph of a butterfly
    photo by Joshua J Cotten

    Taking action with resilience and systems thinking

    • Systems practice: "Learn to use a systems thinking approach to move from 'impossible' to impact."
      Introductory course. Estimated to take you several hours a week over 8 weeks. Comes with a free certificate. Offered by the Acumen Academy with support by the Omidyar Group.
       
    • Using Systems Thinking to Tackle the Climate and Biodiversity Crisis: "Discover how switching to a systems mindset could help overcome the global environmental challenges we face today."
      Introductory course. Estimated to take you 3 hours a week for 2 weeks. While the course can be accessed for free for 2 weeks, longer access and a certificate come at a cost. Offered by the University of Reading.
       
    • Understanding Resilience Thinking: "This course introduces the concept of resilience and shows how you can use resilience assessments to address pressing conservation and development challenges. You will learn about the key steps for conducting resilience assessments, how to develop resilience assessments using existing frameworks, and how to use these results to develop effective sustainable development and conservation actions."
      Introductory course, aimed at policymakers, managers and practitioners working in the sustainable development and conservation planning sectors, but is open to everyone. Estimated to take you 3 hours. Comes with a free certificate. Offered by Learning for Nature, a UNDP e-learning programme. The course is also available on ConservationTraining.org, where it is part of a series on National Biodiversity Strategies and Action Plans.
       
    • Applying Resilience Thinking to National Biodiversity Plans: "The module discusses how resilience thinking can be used to help facilitate delivery of the global biodiversity and development agendas. With a focus on national biodiversity plans, the course will show you how resilience thinking can inform policymaking, planning, and implementation to deliver on the Aichi Biodiversity Targets and the Sustainable Development Goals."
      Introductory course, aimed at policymakers, managers and practitioners working in the sustainable development and conservation planning sectors, but open to everyone. Estimated to take you 3 hours. Comes with a free certificate. Offered by Learning for Nature, a UNDP e-learning programme. The course is also available on ConservationTraining.org, where it is part of a series on National Biodiversity Strategies and Action Plans, and estimated to take you 6 hours.
       
    • MOOC Series: Designing Resilient Regenerative Systems: "This innovative Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) hybridizes sustainability science, systemic design and transformative action. It provides you with worldviews, tools, illustrations and transformative networks to build your capacities and engage in systemic innovation of complex systems."
      Introductory series, accessible to a very diverse audience, for current science or engineering students in diverse disciplines, for designers, architects, landscape planners, programmers, urban planners, and also for people of praxis, for those of use who have been working for many years and who want to re-connect, expand and redirect. Estimated to take you 3-5 hours a week for 6-11 weeks for each course, including break weeks. While access to the courses is free, the certificates come at a cost. Offered by ETH Zurich.
      1. Worldviews – From Sustainability to Regeneration (approx. 2-4 hours a week for 12 weeks).
      2. Beyond Systems Thinking (approx. 3-5 hours a week for 6 weeks).
      3. Systemic Design (not currently available; scheduled for June 2024).
      4. Real-world Transformative Design Praxis (not currently available; scheduled for September 2024).

     

     

    Taking action for coral reefs, and coastal and marine ecosystems

    • Resilience-Based Management: "The Resilience-Based Management (RBM) Mentored Course is designed to provide marine managers and practitioners a comprehensive overview of the concepts of resilience and how they can be applied to coral reef management."
      Recommended for marine managers and practitioners. Estimated to take you 5 hours. Comes with a free certificate.
      Developed in collaboration with the Resilient Reefs Initiative, Great Barrier Reef Foundation, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Coral Reef Conservation Program, and International Coral Reef Initiative. For links to the Spanish, French, and Bahasa Indonesia versions, see below. The button for enrollment only works after you sign up for an account.
       
    • Coral Reef Resilience: "Explores the ecology of coral reef ecosystems, threats to reefs, principles and attributes of social-ecological reef resilience, guidance for assessing and monitoring reefs for resilience, concepts and applications of resilience-based management, and strategies available for managing the resilience of reefs."
      Recommended for marine resource managers and practitioners. Estimated to take you 5 hours and 45 minutes. Comes with a free certificate. Offered by ConservationTraining.org which is run by The Nature Conservancy. The button for enrollment only works after you sign up for an account.
       
    • Coral Reef Restoration: "This course is designed to provide coral reef managers and practitioners with best practice guidance for common coral reef restoration techniques."
      Recommended for coral reef managers and practitioners. Estimated to take you 7 hours. Comes with a free certificate.
      Developed through a partnership between The Nature Conservancy’s Reef Resilience Network and the Coral Restoration Consortium. For the link to the Spanish version, see below. Self-enrolment in the French version is currently not possible.The button for enrollment only works after you sign up for an account.
       
    • Coral Reefs: Introduction to Challenges and Solutions: "Explore the one of the world’s most unique ecosystems, tropical coral reefs, while understanding the key threats to reef health and their solutions."
      Introductory course. Estimated to take you 2-4 hours a week for 7 weeks. While the course is available for free, the certificate comes at cost. Offered by The University of Queensland.
       
    • Tropical coastal ecosystems: "Do you want to develop the skills and knowledge needed to help preserve tropical coastal ecosystems? These habitats provide goods and services for hundreds of millions of people but human activities have led to their global decline."
      Introductory course. Estimated to take you 4-5 hours a week for 9 weeks. While the course is available for free, the certificate comes at cost. Offered by The University of Queensland.
       
    • Marine protected areas: Covers MPA definition and key concepts; planning of MPAs; management, governance, funding and valorisation; management, enforcement and reporting; MPAs and marine biodiversity; The future of MPAs: perspective and opportunities.
      Introductory course. Estimated to take you 40 hours in total. Comes with a free certificate of success upon achieving a minimum grade. Developed by IUCN-PAPACO (African Protected Areas & Conservation Program of the International Union for Conservation of Nature) and its partners. For the link to the French version, see below. This course is part of the free Online Certificate in Protected Area Conservation granted by Senghor University upon passing a proctored exam.
       
    • Management Effectiveness for Marine Protected Areas: Provides "guidance and key considerations that can be used throughout the management cycle of a MPA, MPA Network, or other effective conservation measure (OECM) to help increase the chances of achieving its socio-economic and conservation objectives."
      Recommended for marine managers and conservation practitioners. Estimated to take you 1.5 hours. Comes with a free certificate.
      Developed through a partnership between The Nature Conservancy’s Reef Resilience Network and the United Nations Environment Programme. The button for enrollment only works after you sign up for an account.
       
    • The Fisheries Capacity Building Program for the Gulf of California and Northern Pacific: this series of courses addresses FishPath, an approach to setting fisheries on the path to sustainability. While it meets specific needs of the Mexican fishing authorities, it may also prove informative to fisheries management elsewhere. These are introductory courses. The courses are also available in Spanish. They have been produced by The Nature Conservancy; see the individual course descriptions for underlying materials and partners. The buttons for enrollment only work after you sign up for an account on the learning platform. The FishPath Network New Member On-Boarding is not included with the following list, as it is not available to guests.
      • Fisheries Compliance and Enforcement: "an overview of monitoring, control and surveillance (MCS) in fisheries."
        Estimated to take you 4 hours. Comes with a free certificate of completion.
      • FishPath Tool Training: "The FishPath Tool is an online, publicly available resource to support improved fisheries management design. In this course, learn how to use the FishPath Tool and understand all the interactive features."
        Estimated to take you 2 hours.
      • General Fisheries Legal Framework: "This module will provide you with the knowledge and skills to be able to understand and describe the general legal framework for fisheries in Mexico."
        Estimated to take you 5 hours. Comes with a free certificate of completion.
      • Essential Ecosystem Approach to Fisheries Management: "This module consists of 4 individual courses, providing you with the knowledge, tools and skills to be able to apply the ecosystem approach to fisheries management (EAFM)."
        Estimated to take you 2.5 hours. Comes with a free certificate of completion.
      • Leadership for Fisheries Management: This "module will provide you with the knowledge and skills to lead change in the fisheries management approaches in Mexico."
        Estimated to take you 2.5 hours. Comes with a free certificate of completion.

    Also see the courses on invasive alien species for marina operators and staff, the course on remote sensing and mapping for coral reef conservation, and the course on corals & climate adaptation planning listed above.

     

     

    photograph of a butterfly
    photo by Arjun MJ

    Taking action for forests and terrestrial landscapes

    • Introduction to forest and landscape restoration: "This course has been developed to introduce the key concepts and process of forest and landscape restoration."
      Introductory course. Estimated to take you 45 minutes. Comes with free digital certification. Offered by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. For the links to the French and Spanish versions, see below.
       
    • Tropical Forest Landscapes 101: Conservation & Restoration: "Conserving and restoring tropical forest landscapes offers an opportunity to address pressing environmental and social challenges. Effective conservation and restoration initiatives support multiple objectives, including ecosystem functioning, climate change mitigation and adaptation, food security, and economic growth."
      Introductory course. Estimated to take you 19 hours. While the course is available for free, the certificate comes at cost. Financial aid is available. Offered by Yale University.
       
    • Monitoring forest and landscape restoration: "This course has been developed to equip practitioners with the capacity to design, plan and implement monitoring systems for FLR interventions."
      No information on the level given. Estimated to take you 45 minutes. Comes with free digital certification. Offered by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. For the links to the French and Spanish versions, see below.
       
    • Introduction to Forest Monitoring Tools for Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities: "In this self-paced course you will gain basic information about  popular forest mapping and monitoring tools and understand how they can help Indigenous Peoples and local communities better manage their lands, territories and resources."
      Introductory course. Estimated to take you 3-5 hours per module for 6 modules. Comes with a free certificate of completion. Offered by Learning for Nature, a UNDP e-learning programme, in partnership with NASA’s Applied Remote Sensing Training Program (ARSET). For the link to the Portuguese version, see below.

     

     

    Taking action for biodiversity in cities

    • Bringing Urban Nature Into the Cities of Tomorrow: "Learn why bringing nature into cities is essential for future urban planning, and how to do it successfully."
      Introductory course, recommended for city officials and urban planning professionals, including designers and developers. Estimated to take you 2 hours a week for 2 weeks. While the course can be accessed for free for 2 weeks, longer access and a certificate come at a cost. Offered by the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, in partnership with the EIT Community New European Bauhaus and the New European Bauhaus initiative, funded by the European Union.
       
    • Urban Rewilding: Restore Your Local Ecosystem: "Would you like to see your neighbourhood become more liveable and sustainable? To alleviate city-specific challenges – from urban heat islands to mental health issues – we need to first change our minds. From wanting to control nature to leveraging its power, we need to allow nature to do what it does best: grow. [...] With gardens, parks and ponds, with indigenous plants and animals, we will see both ecosystems and our living environment restored."
      Introductory course. Estimated to take you 3-5 hours a week for 3 weeks. While the course is available for free, the certificate comes at cost. Offered by Wageningen University & Research.
       
    • Smart Urban Green Infrastructure: "Understand how carbon-smart green infrastructure can mitigate climate change impacts in urban areas."
      Introductory course, designed for urban mobility and transportation professionals, urban planners, and other professionals working in this field at any stage of their career. Estimated to take you 3 hours a week for 5 weeks. While the course can be accessed for free for 2 weeks, longer access and a certificate come at a cost. Offered by EIT Urban Mobility, co-funded by the European Union, and Aalto University.
       
    • Urban Ecology Design: "Learn how to contribute to a more biodiverse, nature-inclusive and sustainable built environment by using nature-based solutions in your designs and policies."
      Introductory course. Estimated to take you 3-4 hours a week for 6 weeks. While the course is available for free, the certificate comes at cost. Offered by Delft University of Technology. Note that this course is instructor-led on a course schedule.

     

     

    Taking action in food production and agriculture

    Unsustainable food production and agriculture are major factors in the biodiversity crisis.

    • A series of three e-learning courses on Sustainable Food Systems (SFS). Recommended for development practitioners and policy-makers working on the development of sustainable food systems; farmer representatives, support services providers, consumers, and agribusiness representatives will also benefit. See the list of courses for the required time. Comes with free digital certification for each course. Offered by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.
    • Sustainable Food Security: The value of systems thinking: "Learn how to solve the 'Rubik's cube' of systems thinking and how it's applied to improve the environmental sustainability of food production systems!"
      Introductory course, recommended for participants with secondary schooling or in the first or second years of an undergraduate degree. Estimated to take you 8-10 hours a week for 6 weeks. While the course is available for free, the certificate comes at cost. Offered by Wageningen University & Research.
       
    • Genebanks have a role to play in preserving plant genetic diversity, especially crop genetic diversity.
      Genebank management relevant to pre-breeding: "This course gives an overview of what it takes to establish and manage a genebank, providing an outline of genebank operations with particular respect to pre-breeding. [...]"
      No information on the level given. Estimated to take you 45 minutes. No certificate available. Offered by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.
       
    • From Waste to Value: How to Tackle Food Waste: "Discover the causes and impact of food waste, and learn how you can tackle it on a personal, community, and national level."
      Introductory course, recommended for everyone. Estimated to take you 3 hours a week for 3 weeks. Comes with a free certificate of achievement. Offered by EIT Food and the University of Reading, with funding from the European Union. For the link to the Spanish version see below.
       
    • Food Waste Prevention: "The course aims to raise awareness and build capacities for effective food waste prevention at different stages of the food chain, including processing and manufacturing, retail, restaurants and other food services, as well as households."
      Introductory course. Estimated to take you 5 hours. Comes with a free certificate. Offered by UN CC: e-Learn with cooperation and support from the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency. For the link to the Portuguese version, see below.
       
    • The Regenerative Agriculture Revolution: "Build your knowledge of sustainable farming methods and the skills and policies needed to transition to a regenerative model."
      Introductory level. Estimated to take you 3 hours a week for 2 weeks. While access to the course for 2 weeks is free, longer access and a certificate come at a cost. Offered by EIT Food and co-funded by the European Union.
       
    • Grassroots Evidence for Agroecology: "The aim is to provide a clear idea of what an evidence-based case is and increase the capacity of grassroot organisations to propose and develop cases that persuade audiences about the efficacy and importance of agroecology."
      Introductory level. No time estimate provided. Comes with a free course completion certificate. Offered by the Agroecology Fund in collaboration with Statistics for Sustainable Development (Stats4SD). Note that you will need to register for a free account before your are able to view the course. The course is also available in Spanish and French by selecting your preferred language at the start.

    You might also be interested in The Fisheries Capacity Building Program for the Gulf of California and Northern Pacific listed above.

     

     

    Taking action in tourism

    • Tour Guiding 8: Nature and Adventure Guiding: "You will learn about different kinds of nature-based tourism and what to keep in mind when organizing and conducting those tours."
      Recommended for for tour guides and prospective tour guides and anyone interested in the topic. Estimated to take you about 1 hour. Comes with a free certificate of participation. Commissioned and developed by GIZ Sector Project Cooperation with the Private Sector – Component Tourism for Sustainable Development. This course is part of a tour guiding learning pathway: after completing all modules in the pathway, you will receive a digital credential (a digital badge). For links to the relevant content, see the course website. For the link to the French version, see below.
       
    • Protected areas valorisation and sustainable tourism: "This MOOC is about the sustainable use or valorisation of natural resources in protected areas. The main goal of this course is to introduce some of the commonly-used ways to sustainably valorise protected areas (and their resources), thereby contributing to their long-term conservation. It will focus on two complementary approaches: the first part of the MOOC will cover the benefits (direct or indirect) provided by natural resources in protected areas, while the second part will focus on sustainable tourism and its benefits, costs, opportunities and threats."
      Introductory course. Estimated to take you 40 hours to complete. Comes with a certificate of success upon achieving a minimum grade. Developed by IUCN-PAPACO (African Protected Areas & Conservation Program of the International Union for Conservation of Nature) and its partners. For the link to the French version, see below. This course is part of the free Online Certificate in Protected Area Conservation granted by Senghor University upon passing a proctored exam.
       
    • Sustainable Tourism: Society & Environmental Aspects: "Wageningen University and Research invites you to this integral introduction of the exciting and complex phenomenon that is tourism. Ranked top 10 best online courses by Class Central, join us to gain an understanding of the scope next to the social and environmental implications of tourism. Take on the challenge of a more critical reflection of this industry, steeped in comfort and enjoyment, and help drive its sustainability!"
      Introductory course, recommended for business owners, people working in tourism, and travellers. Estimated to take you 5-7 hours a week for 6 weeks. While the course is available for free, the certificate comes at cost. Offered by Wageningen University & Research.
       
    • IUCN Academy is offering several courses on ecotourism developed by IUCN and WWF, in connection with MEET. These introductory courses are recommended for professionals involved in protected areas management and professionals working for Inbound Tour Operators, including Tour Leaders and Tour Guides, and destination management organisations, NGOs and municipalities: for details, see the graphic in each course description. These courses come with a free certificate of completion each.
      • Designing an Attractive Ecotourism Itinerary: "Learn how to design innovative, unique, authentic, sustainable, and market-oriented ecotourism products, following the Mediterranean Experience of Ecotourism (MEET) product criteria." Estimated to take you 5-8 hours.
      • Guiding and Storytelling for an Impactful Ecotourism Experience: "Explore the roles of tour leaders and tour guides in all aspects of the ecotourism experience. Discover how to integrate thematic interpretation into guiding and tour leading to enhance ecotourists' understanding of protected areas and cultural heritage." Estimated to take you 2-5 hours.
      • Building and Managing Effective Partnerships in Ecotourism: "Learn about the importance and benefits of an effective local participatory governance structure. Discover how to set up and manage a well-functioning Local Ecotourism Cluster (LEC)." Estimated to take you 2-5 hours.
      • Compelling Marketing of Ecotourism: "Join this course to build your skills and get the tools necessary for marketing MEET ecotourism products and providing valuable customer experience." Estimated to take you 1-2 hours.
         
    • Ecotourism in Protected Areas: "This course is offered by the MEET Network for Mediterranean Protected Areas that are seeking to develop ecotourism with a collaborative, market-oriented approach."
      Introductory course. No estimate of time provided. Comes with a free certificate of completion. Authored by IUCN and WWF, in connection with MEET, and support from further partners. The button for enrollment only works after you sign up for an account.

    The following learning pathways include the several courses listed, each. They are recommended for tourism professionals in management positions, and anyone interested in the topic. Each course is estimated to take you about 1 hour to complete. Each course comes with a certificate of participation and a digital certificate (an open badge). These courses were commissioned and developed by GIZ Sector Project Cooperation with the Private Sector - Component Sustainable Development through Tourism. For the links to the French versions, see below.

    Also see the course on invasive alien species for tourism professionals listed above.

     

     

    Taking action in the fashion industry

    • Fashion Values: Nature: "Understand biodiversity in the context of fashion and create a plan for fashion that protects Earth’s ecosystems."
      Introductory course. Estimated to take you 3 hours a week for 4 weeks. While access for 4 weeks is free, longer access and a certificate come at a cost. Offered by the London College of Fashion.
       
    • Fashion's Future: The Sustainable Development Goals: "Explore the fashion industry’s impact on people and planet, what the Sustainable Development Goals are, and the link between them."
      Introductory course. Estimated to take you 3 hours a week for 4 weeks. While access for 4 weeks is free, longer access and a certificate come at a cost. Offered by Fashion Revolution.

     

     

    Courses in languages other than English

    If you know of more courses in languages other than English, please share them in the comments.

    Spanish

    Also see below for courses available in multiple languages or subtitles in different languages, including Spanish.

     

    French

    Also see below for courses available in multiple languages or subtitles in different languages, including French.

     

    More languages

     

     

    This post is the second in a series:

    • Part 1 covers learning opportunities about IPBES and learning opportunities in biodiversity and conservation.
       
    • Part 2 covers information and courses on taking action for biodiversity.
       
    • Part 3 covers learning opportunities in biodiversity law and finance.

    Do you know of other courses on IPBES and biodiversity? Please add them in the comments!

     

    Header photograph by Rod M.