UNU-LRT provides postgraduate training for specialists 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 by the Icelandic Ministry for Foreign Affairs (MFA), in partnership with the Agricultural University of Iceland (AUI) and the Soil Conservation Service of Iceland (SCSI), and with support from United Nations University (UNU), as a part of the government’s development co-operation efforts. An agreement of co-operation between UNU, the Government of Iceland, SCSI and AUI was signed by all parties in February 2010.
UNU-LRT has a strong commitment to the principles of UNU: i.e. to contribute to resolving urgent global problems, through the generation and sharing of knowledge and capacity development in developing countries. UNU-LRT builds and strengthens institutional and individual capacities to deal with issues related to land degradation and unsustainable land use in developing countries.
The UNU-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 a considerable body of knowledge and experience which is of great relevance to a number of countries in all parts of the world.