28 August 2015

Symposium on capacity building at World Conference on Ecological Restoration

This week UNU-LRT held a symposium on capacity building to restore resilient ecosystems in developing countries at the 6th World Conference on Ecological Restoration in Manchester, England. Beside presenting the UNU-LRT programme, two former UNU-LRT fellows from Mongolia and Ghana gave talks on the restoration needs and actions in their countries. Professionals from other capacity building initiatives shared their experiences and views on the needs and effectiveness of capacity building. Diverse issues were covered, ranging from the critical importance of socio-ecological resilience to ensure the welfare of poor people who often depend on natural resources, to the challenges of sustaining institutional capacity in politically unstable states, to exciting new mobile phone technologies that have the potential to increase the success of restoration practices and projects.
19 August 2015

UNU-LRT Friendship Forest

For the last eight weeks the UNU-LRT fellows have stayed at the headquarters of the Soil Conservation Service of Iceland (SCSI) where they have worked on their research projects and got to know the work of SCSI. Before moving back to the headquarters of UNU-LRT, at the research campus of the Agricultural University of Iceland, they planted the first trees in a prospective UNU-LRT Friendship Forest, close to SCSI headquarters in South Iceland. Future UNU-LRT fellows will continue the tradition to plant trees in the area each year, and will have the opportunity to enjoy the trees as they grow. The fellows planted rowan trees (Sorbus aucuparia), a native species that grows in the birch woodlands and forests in Iceland.
The fellows in front of a traditional turf house
16 August 2015

Field excursion focusing on land condition, restoration and management

The UNU-LRT fellows have just finished a four day excursion to the west and northwest of Iceland. The main goal was to provide the fellows with first-hand experience on land management issues and how human land use can have a major impact on land condition. Sites were visited that illustrate how past human land use reduced the resilience of the land to the extent that when combined with natural factors it resulted in almost complete loss of vegetation and soil. Such collapsed ecosystems take very long to restore even though much effort is put into restoration, and former productivity may be hard to reach as could vividly be observed in the excursion.
17 July 2015

High-level symposium on land degradation neutrality at the third International Conference on Financing for Development

UNU-LRT participated in a high-level symposium on land degradation neutrality at the third International Conference on Financing for Development, which was held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on 13-16 July. The symposium was hosted by the Governments of Iceland and Namibia (on behalf of the Group of Friends on Desertification, Land Degradation and Drought) in cooperation with the State of Qatar, United Nations University, United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) secretariat, UNDP and Biovision.
The participants of the workshop at SCSI
9 July 2015

UNU Rector Dr David Malone visits UNU-LRT

The UNU Rector Dr David Malone visited the four UNU programmes hosted in Iceland this week: the Geothermal, Fisheries, Gender Equality and Land Restoration Training Programmes. UNU-LRT welcomed the Rector at the headquarters of the Soil Conservation Service of Iceland (SCSI) where the UNU-LRT fellows stay these days. A workshop was held at SCSI where UNU-LRT Director introduced the activities, priorities and future directions of the programme, and the fellows shared experiences from their work at home and told how they anticipate the training at UNU-LRT will benefit them and their institutions when back home at work. The research activities and international cooperation of the two implementing institutions of UNU-LRT, the Agricultural University of Iceland and SCSI, were also introduced.
8 July 2015

Field education excursion focusing on climate change

Last week the UNU-LRT fellows went on a three day excursion to the southeast of Iceland. The purpose of the excursion was to provide the fellows with first hand experience on land management issues and the influence of climate change in the region. The characteristic of this region is the close proximity to glaciers, including Europe’s largest glacier Vatnajökull. The consequences of climate change are vividly expressed in the area in the retreat and thinning of the glaciers, which have exposed new land, displaced river channels and changed river discharge, affecting transportation routes, erosion and restoration potential.