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GRÓ – International Centre for Capacity Development, Sustainable use of Natural Resources and Societal Change under the auspices of UNESCO

Four capacity development and training programmes are operating in Iceland within Gró – Centre for Capacity Development, Sustainable use of Natural Resources and Societal Change. The programmes were all established for the purpose of building human resource capacities in developing countries in fields where Icelandic expert knowledge is available. The main purpose of the programmes is to foster new knowledge, capabilities and solutions in developing countries which enhance progress, with emphasis on the system of governance of the countries and their institutions. The programmes are thus founded on the ideology of sustainable development and on the future vision of the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

The programmes have for decades been one of the main pillars of Icelandic international development cooperation and are funded as such. More than 1300 practicing professionals from over 100 developing countries have graduated from the programmes

Gró is the first multidisciplinary Category 2 Centre in UNESCO’s network and focuses on the following areas:

  • Promoting sustainable use and management of living aquatic resources (Fisheries Training Program (Gró - FTP));
  • Promoting gender equality, women’s empowerment and social justice (Gender Equality Training Program (Gró - GEST));
  • Promoting the utilisation and sustainable management of reliable, economically viable, and environmentally sound geothermal energy resources (Geothermal Training Program (Gró - GTP));
  • Promoting restoration of degraded land and sustainable land management (Land Restoration Training program (Gró - LRT)). 

Further information can be found on Gró webpage.

Logo of GRÓ

Regional Geothermal Exploration Project in East Africa

A Geothermal Exploration Project, with joint co-financing of NDF, was implemented by MFA (ICEIDA until 2016) from 2012-2019. The purpose of the project was  to mitigate and distribute the risk associated with geothermal exploration thus contributing to the acceleration of geothermal development in the region.

The main objective was to assist the East African Rift Valley States (EARS) in completing the exploratory phase of geothermal development and build capacity and expertise in the field of geothermal utilization and related policy.

The project activities were based on specific requests from EARS governments, and included the following:

1. Reconnaissance and geothermal exploration leading up to exploratory drilling

2. Technical assistance and capacity building

a. Training, e.g. through the UNU Geothermal Training Programme

b. Institutional capacity building

c. Policy and legal framework for geothermal utilization

Fisheries cooperation in West Africa

Sierra Leone

Collaboration started in 2018 and aims to sustainably improve livelihoods and conditions in coastal communities and promote sustainable use of marine resources, combat illegal fishing, and increase revenues from the fisheries resource. The budget is a total of 3,0 million dollars for 3 years, 2018-202

The expected key outcomes of the project are:

  • Improved capacity of Sierra Leonean institutions to manage fisheries sustainably.
  • Improved post-harvest fish handling and processing, leading to higher value and income.
  • Improved livelihoods of selected fishing communities, through investments in economic and social infrastructure.

Major outputs of the programme are:

  • Training of 8 fisheries experts from Sierra Leone at UNU-FTP’s 6-month fisheries training programme in key identified themes.
  • At least 5 individuals from key fisheries institutions and ministries trained in Vessel Monitoring Systems (VMS).
  • At least 3 individuals from key fisheries institutions and ministries trained in Law of the Sea.
  • Other capacity building and knowledge sharing as may be identified and required.
  • Technical assistance in systematic and accurate data collection, analysis, and database management.
  • Other technical assistance provided.
  • Improved fuel saving fish smoking ovens, with reduced smoke pollution, piloted in landing sites.
  • Micro-credit pilot scheme for post-harvest processing equipment, including fish smoking ovens and fishing gear as may be applicable.
  • Improved processing and storage methods and infrastructure set up as may be applicable.
  • Water and sanitation (WASH) facilities at landing sites.
  • Improved hygiene in food processing facilities and communities.
  • Reduced plastic waste in fishing communities. Pilot projects in landing sites for marine and landing site litter removal.

This programme is implemented under a Partnership Agreement between the two countries within the project scope of Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 14, Conserve and Sustainable Use Oceans, Seas and Marine Resources for Sustainable Development, in Sierra Leone.

The Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources (MFMR) is Iceland’s main partner in Sierra Leone and oversees coordination and facilitates liaisons with other ministries and key institutions in the country, coordinating interactions with other institutions and ministries.

Liberia

The partnership commenced in 2018 and aims to sustainably improve livelihoods and conditions in coastal communities and increase the institutional capacity of fisheries authorities to sustainably use marine resources, combat illegal fishing, and increase revenues from the fisheries resource. The budget is a total of 3,2 million dollars for 3 years, 2018-2020.

The expected key outcomes of the project are:

  • Improved capacity of Liberian institutions to manage fisheries sustainably
  • Improved post-harvest fish handling and processing, leading to higher value and income
  • Improved livelihoods of selected fishing communities, through investments in economic and social infrastructure

Major outputs of the programme are:

  • Training of 9 fisheries experts from Liberia at UNU-FTP’s 6-month fisheries training programme in key identified themes.
  • At least 5 individuals from key fisheries institutions and ministries trained in Vessel Monitoring Systems (VMS).
  • At least 3 individuals from key fisheries institutions and ministries trained in Law of the Sea.
  • Laboratory set up to support the fisheries sector.
  • Training of laboratory staff and technicians.
  • Other capacity building and knowledge sharing as may be identified and required.
  • Technical assistance in systematic and accurate data collection, analysis, and database management.
  • Other technical assistance provided.
  • Improved fuel saving fish smoking ovens, with reduced smoke pollution, piloted in landing sites.
  • Micro-credit pilot scheme for post-harvest processing equipment, including fish smoking ovens and fishing gear as may be applicable.
  • Improved processing and storage methods and infrastructure set up as may be applicable.
  • Water and sanitation (WASH) facilities at landing sites.
  • Improved hygiene in food processing facilities and communities.
  • Reduced plastic waste in fishing communities. Pilot projects in landing sites for marine and landing site litter removal.

This programme is implemented under a Partnership Agreement between the two countries within the project scope of Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 14, Conserve and Sustainable Use Oceans, Seas and Marine Resources for Sustainable Development, in Liberia.

The National Aquaculture and Fisheries Authority (NaFAA) is Iceland’s main partner in Liberia and oversees coordination and facilitates liaisons with other ministries and key institutions in the country, coordinating interactions with other institutions and ministries.

Sustainable Development Goal Fund – Private Sector Development

In accordance with the MFA´s steering committee report on “Foreign service for the future” (Utanríkisþjónusta til framtíðar) on increased participation of the business community in development cooperation, the Ministry for Foreign Affairs has established a Sustainable Development Goal Fund. The fund is a three-year project with the possibility of extension based on the results.

The purpose of the fund is to encourage participation and contribution to development cooperation by the private sector, with the objective of reducing poverty and supporting job creation and sustainable growth in the world’s poorest countries, in accordance with the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Projects should provide benefits and generate revenue in developing countries and have clear linkages to one or more of the UN SDGs.

Support from the Sustainable Development Goal Fund is limited to the business community, namely:

  • Privately held companies
  • Private and publicly listed limited liability corporations
  • Partnerships and cooperatives
  • Private foundations

Projects must be conducted in collaboration with partners in a chosen developing country. Additional partners, such as universities and civil society organizations, can take part in the project.

Projects should be linked to the company’s core activities. Eligible applicants include business community entities such as those listed above, and the application evaluation process looks towards the company’s overall knowledge and capacity, quality of technical solutions, competence, and financial capabilities to undertake projects of transnational cooperation.

Applicants must meet certain basic requirements, such as payment of public fees and pensions. Further, it is expected that businesses have endorsed good business practices, for example through membership of the UN Global Compact, or in relation to other international benchmarks, such as the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights and the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises.

Eligible collaborating countries range from least developed to lower middle-income countries as stated by OECD/DAC’s definition.[1] 


[1] https://www.oecd.org/dac/financing-sustainable-development/development-finance-standards/DAC-List-of-ODA-Recipients-for-reporting-2020-flows.pdf

Technical Assistance Programme in Sustainable use of Natural Resources

The Icelandic Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) provides access and funding for technical experts in sustainable use of natural resources; particularly in geothermal energy and fisheries. The objective is to provide on-demand high quality technical assistance to assist Partner Institutions (World Bank (WB), Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and others) in preparation and implementation of projects in relation to the specific arrangements between MFA and the respective institution or country. To this end MFA has a list of consultants from private and public entities which can be called upon for assignments on relatively short notice. MFA also uses this list of consultants to access experts for its own projects in development cooperation. 

  1. The Icelandic Central Public Procurement agency manages registration onto the list of consultants for MFA in accordance with set criteria for registration. The list is open for registration through the Icelandic Central Public Procurement agency.
  2. MFA also has framework agreements with Icelandic government agencies related to sustainable use of natural resources, which provide experts to be available on call from the list as may be requested.
  3. The Partner Institutions may have direct access to the list of experts and CVs.
  4. The Partner Institutions can request technical assistance assignments from the technical assistance programme. The assignments shall be defined in ToRs, which outline the scope of work, expected outputs, workplan and estimated inputs. The request shall be made in line with the general scope of the cooperation with the respective institution.
  5. A general call for interest and availability may be sent out by MFA to the consultants on the list, requesting an expression of interest from consultants to be considered for the assignment, noting specifically which assignment/ToR and including a summary of their suitability and qualifications for this specific assignment.
  6. The renumeration of experts is handled by the MFA in line with the contracts to be signed between the experts and MFA. There is a fixed price for the services, and price is not a factor in the evaluation of suitable experts for each assignment.

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