01 Feb 2019 Story Ecosystems and Biodiversity

UN Environment and partners launch the Landscape Academy

Photo by GLF

Committed individuals around the world are eager to create landscapes that work for people and the planet, and the new Landscape Academy helps them do just that.

Equipping youth, “green” entrepreneurs and mid-career professionals with the skills they need to drive the development of sustainable landscapes is the goal of the Landscape Academy, the first digital learning platform on the “landscape approach.”

The Academy was officially launched at the Global Landscapes Forum in Bonn in December 2018. It is a one-stop-shop for the best available online education opportunities on all topics related to the landscape approach.


The landscape approach is a land use and management theory that seeks to simultaneously reconcile competing land uses to achieve social, environmental and economic goals. It focuses on multi-stakeholder participation in decision-making and management to understand the processes of change, provide solutions at multiple scales and improve the resilience of local communities and their environments.

“People who act in landscapes often lack access to learning opportunities that could help them work more efficiently and with greater impact,” says Cora van Oosten, an initiator of the Academy from the Wageningen Centre for Development Innovation.

Balancing different land uses and goals certainly requires technical expertise, but anyone who has ever tried to push for healthier landscapes knows this also takes leadership, management of partnerships and relationships between stakeholders, and the ability to mobilize financial resources—skills that go beyond the scope of any single discipline.

Photo by Neil Palmer (CIAT)

The certified online courses are designed by the Global Landscapes Forum in collaboration with UN Environment and the Wageningen Centre, while other courses from various institutions are also available, held both online and offline around the world.

Three online courses

The first three online courses are focused on Landscape Leadership, Landscape Governance and Landscape Finance—all interdisciplinary topics of immediate use for landscape practitioners. These three courses have been co-developed by the Wageningen Centre, World Agroforestry (which recently merged with the Center for International Forestry Research), EcoAgriculture Partners, African Model Forest Network and Oxylus Green.

The course on landscape leadership, for example, “will teach students how to mobilize human resources, resolve conflict and motivate stakeholders toward achieving sustainable landscapes,” says van Oosten. In other words, it builds upon technical foundations to also equip students with attitudes that can inspire actors with different and even seemingly incompatible or competing goals to work together for sustainable landscapes.

The course on landscape governance aims to support practitioners to bring together various stakeholders and collectively explore the best strategies for designing and implementing landscape governance structures.

Photo by Pixabay

Yet even after people are mobilized and united, and efficient and fair decision-making processes are in place, there is another important issue sustainable landscape champions must address: financial resources. This is why the upcoming course on landscape finance will offer insights on how to navigate the web of financial flows, and how to develop compelling business cases and models for sustainable development.

What will put landscapes on the fast-track to sustainability are empowered professionals, present and future, that take advantage of every available opportunity to acquire knowledge and skills. The Landscape Academy may well provide some of the most broad and informative learning opportunities yet.

Ahead of the United Nations Environment Assembly in March 2019, UN Environment is urging people to Think Beyond and Live Within. Join the debate on social media using #SolveDifferent to share your stories and see what others are doing to ensure a sustainable future for our planet.


For further information please contact Siham Drissi