To create a global movement of 1 billion people that are not just reached with the GLF’s message of changing the world through sustainable landscapes but equipped and motivated to implement it, the GLF has put learning opportunities at its core. To change the world, part of the GLF’s mission is to engage and connect people from every country, in cities and rural areas alike, and spread landscape-level learning initiatives in a way that hasn’t been done before.
On 1 December at the GLF Bonn 2018 conference, the GLF will launch the Landscape Academy, an online learning platform giving people around the world the opportunity to learn from a specially designed curriculum about the Landscape Approach. With free and certified courses designed specifically for the GLF under three main themes – landscape leadership, governance and finance – alongside other relevant courses held online and offline at other institutions around the world, the Academy gives participants a single place to come for an education in the Landscape Approach.
The Academy was borne out of the realization that the digital arena can be harnessed to educate and disseminate materials to people acting in landscapes but lacking access to face-to-face support and learning opportunities helping them to do so. It also addresses the current absence of the Landscape Approach in college and university curricula. While there are many existing learning opportunities addressing specific landscape sectors and skillsets therein – forestry, agriculture, ecology – there has lacked a curriculum teaching the soft skills needed to holistically change landscapes, such as brokering partnerships within landscapes, reducing conflicts and gathering finance.
Already the Academy has reached several hundred participants. Young professionals are coming for technical training and to develop better synergies to work across silos. Students are seeking to learn more about Landscape Approaches and receive training to develop their professional career. And colleges and universities lacking Landscape Approach curricula have been turning to the site to better understand the types of exercises, materials and lessons needed to teach different aspects of the Landscape Approach well.
People from these three groups and others can easily connect with one another and share information and experiences through the Academy’s digital platform, creating a global community of practice for the Landscape Approach as well. Practical resources include a jobs site of opportunities in the landscape arena, as well as an online library of papers, presentations and other learning aids organized thematically, including materials shared by learning partners.
The history of the Academy dates back five years, when the Wageningen Centre for Development Innovation first conceptualized the program and developed a draft curriculum with Landscapes for the People and the Food and Nature Network. The Government of the Netherlands then granted Wageningen funding to create a first module of the Academy, which it did with partner support from the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF), EcoAgriculture Partners and the African Model Forest Network.
With aid from the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU) and for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), UN Environment and GLF have now embraced the Academy to bring it to the global stage, offering innovative landscape learning courses online and face-to-face, free and certified. Through reaching a wider audience and developing a curriculum that equips participants with the knowledge, skills, tools and attitudes, the GLF can help make landscapes more resilient, equitable, profitable and productive.
Listen to the podcast!