– under the auspices of UNESCO
Fighting land degradation and restoring degraded land by strengthening institutional capacity and motivating individuals in developing countries to deal with these issues.
The Land Restoration Training Programme is a part of the GRÓ Centre, the International Centre for Capacity Development – Sustainable use of Natural Resources and Societal Change, which is a UNESCO Category 2 Centre. GRÓ-LRT works with partner institutions that have been identified as playing a significant role in land restoration and sustainable land management in developing countries. The Programme offers postgraduate training for working professionals from the developing countries in the broad field of restoration of degraded land and sustainable land management, and aims at assisting developing countries in capacity development within this field. The programme was founded in 2007 through an agreement between the Icelandic Ministry for Foreign Affairs, the Agricultural University of Iceland and the Soil Conservation Service of Iceland, as a part of the government’s development cooperation efforts. The Programme was a United Nations University Land Restoration Training Programme (UNU-LRT) from 2010 to 2019. On 1 January 2020 the Programme became a part of the UNESCO GRÓ Centre and goes by the name GRÓ-LRT.
The core activity of GRÓ-LRT is an annual six-month training programme in Iceland on land restoration and sustainable land management. The programme is divided into two main parts. The first half of is dedicated to lectures, practical training, field visits, exercises and group work where the focus is on active participation of each fellow. In the second half of the training, the focus is on individual research work which is tailored to the academic and practical background and needs of the fellows and their institutions. GRÓ-LRT also provides financial and technical support to develop and deliver short courses in partner countries. These courses are designed and run in cooperation between specialists from GRÓ-LRT and the partner institutions, often engaging the expertise of former fellows from the six-month training programme.
The GRÓ-LRT programme is built on the knowledge and expertise gained within Iceland, which faced severe land degradation problems in the beginning of the 20th century. Nationally concerted efforts for over 100 years, aimed at halting soil erosion and restoring lost and degraded woodlands, has created much knowledge and experience which is of great relevance to a number of countries in all parts of the world.