The Icelandic Ministry for Foreign Affairs, The Agricultural University of Iceland, The Soil Conservation Service of Iceland and the United Nations University have signed an agreement to operate the United Nations University Land Restoration Training Programme in Iceland (UNU-LRT).
The UNU-LRT started its life as a pilot project of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs, the Agricultural University of Iceland and the Soil Conservation Service of Iceland in 2007. It forms a part of Iceland’s development cooperation and builds on the foundation of the United Nations University Geothermal Training Programme (UNU-GTP) and the United Nations University Fisheries Training Programme (UNU-FTP).
Iceland has built up considerable expertise in the field of land restoration, starting with legislation on soil conservation, which was passed in 1907 and lead to the creation of the Soil Conservation Service. The overall objective of the UNU-LRT is to contribute to poverty eradication and environmental sustainability in developing countries through training and education of experts in areas related to desertification and land degradation. Among the challenges that developing countries face is soil degradation, desert formation, pollution and the adverse impact of climate change. From 2007, seventeen fellows have received training at the programme and six more will begin their studies April 2010.
The United Nations University, founded in 1975, is dedicated to the generation and transfer of knowledge, and the strengthening of individual and institutional capacities in furtherance of the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations. The University consists of a network of training centers and programmes in 13 countries around the world. Iceland became one of the first member countries of the United Nations to operate a training programme when the UNU-GTP was founded in 1978. The UNU-FTP was established in 1998. Since 1978 over 600 scientists and experts have graduated from the two programmes in Iceland.