UNU-GTP parts ways with UNU and joins UNESCO


On 1st of January 2020, the Geothermal Training Programme that has since 1979, been run under the United Nations University brand, parted ways with UNU and joined hands with the other three former UNU Training Programmes in Iceland (Fisheries Training Programme, Land Restoration Training Programme, and Gender Equality Studies Training Programme) to form GRÓ: the Centre for Capacity Development – Sustainable Use of Natural Resources and Societal Change. The Centre which is under the auspices of UNESCO will serve as a new umbrella over the four Programmes and the link to the United Nations.  

The Centre, through the Programmes, will as before, aim to strengthen organisational, institutional and individual, capacities in developing countries with a focus on:

  • Promoting the utilisation and sustainable management of reliable, economically viable, and environmentally sound geothermal energy resources (GTP);
  • Promoting sustainable use and management of living aquatic resources (FTP);
  • Promoting restoration of degraded land and sustainable land management (LRT); and
  • Promoting gender equality, women's empowerment and social justice (GEST).  

Since 1979, more than 1330 fellows from over 100 developing countries have graduated from the United Nations University Training Programmes in Iceland, and over 2000 have attended the Programmes' activities in partner countries. After many years of fruitful collaboration, UNU and the Icelandic Programmes jointly concluded that the Programmes would benefit more from an alternative UN partner. Subsequently, the Government of Iceland, the Programmes and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Culture Organization (UNESCO) recognised the potential for collaboration.

The Government of Iceland therefore submitted a proposal for the GRÓ Centre to become a UNESCO Category 2 Centre which took effect at the start of the year. The Government of Iceland and the Programmes are excited over of this new collaboration. The four thematic areas of the new Centre align with areas in which UNESCO has decades of expertise. The partnership also offers opportunities to engage with UNESCO's many field offices, networks, and platforms that will enhance the Programmes further and Iceland's contribution to the Sustainable Development Goals.

The GRÓ Centre will continue to run the Geothermal Training Programme and the other Training and Scholarship Programmes of FTP, GEST, and LRT in collaboration with the respective host institutions in 2020 and in the coming years. This collaboration transition will not affect the roles or running of the programmes as such. Nonetheless, the Geothermal Training Programme will continue to evolve, as it has in the past, for the benefit of geothermal capacity building in the developing countries.