Applications are now open for the Land Degradation Neutrality (LDN) International Postgraduate Programmes

Applications are now open for the Land Degradation Neutrality (LDN) International Postgraduate Programmes at the University of Energy and Natural Resources (UENR).

Deadline: March 24, 2023.


Land is our foremost natural resource. The sustainable management of land is a prerequisite to unlocking the value of that land and spurring economic development. Thus, our ability to manage land resources will inure to the sustainable development of the country. However, many countries across the globe are currently grappling with land degradation challenges in all facets of resource development in urban and rural areas.

According to UNDP, land degradation occurs across the globe. Land degradation is occurring in even moist areas where it is accompanied by forest degradation and deforestation. According to the Ghana Country Environmental Analysis (CEA) report by the World Bank (2020), declining Net Primary Productivity (NPP), which is considered a proxy indicator for land degradation, shows land degradation is intensifying country-wide, most especially in the Savannah ecological areas. In these areas, land degradation is degenerating into desertification. Desertification also threatens the livelihoods of about 1 billion people in over 100 countries, and about 12 million hectares of arable land are lost to drought every year, globally. The trends must be checked at regional levels.

The sustainable land management requirements and challenges of Africa are evident in the policies and strategies of African State Governments and their agencies, and many allied state institutions mandated to promote sustainable operation and management of land and natural resources. Several actions and initiatives have also been taken by the UN and its various agencies, aimed at addressing the myriad of issues facing sustainable land management across the globe. Notwithstanding these initiatives, issues of land degradation remain.

In this context, a concerted global effort is needed to halt and reverse land degradation. This has been acknowledged in the UN Agenda 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Specifically, SDG Target 15.3 has been adopted and championed by the United Nations Commission to Combat Desertification (UNCCD). Target 15.3 urges countries to: “…. combat desertification, restore degraded land and soil, including land affected by desertification, drought and floods, and strive to achieve a land degradation-neutral world”. This can be achieved through the design of tailored and relevant academic programmes that would enhance the capacity of experts for monitoring, mapping, measuring, and reporting degraded lands and the trends, as well as planning for effective decision making on sustainable land management in all countries.

To this end, The Parties to the UNCCD have invited the support of Group on Earth Observation (GEO) in using Earth Observation for monitoring and reporting on LDN (the GEO-LDN Initiative). Based on this decision of UNCCD’s Conference of the Parties, the GEO-LDN Initiative was founded and officially launched in 2018 with the aim to facilitate the provision of space-based information and in-situ measurements for sustainable land management and planning. Capacity Development is key to reach this goal. Hence, the University of Energy and Natural Resources (UENR), in collaboration with the GEO, and UNCCD, has designed the following international postgraduate programmes to help all countries address land degradation issues and build synergies between efforts:

  1. Master of Science in Land Degradation Neutrality (MSc. – LDN)
  2. Master of Philosophy in Land Degradation Neutrality (MPhil – LDN)
  3. Doctor of Philosophy in Sustainable Land Management (PhD – SLM)

The programmes are enriched with emerging areas and trends in global land management. This would ensure that candidates are trained with state-of-the-art technologies and approaches that are equipped with up-to-date information. This enables the candidate to think critically and formulate place-based strategies to problem-solving in an increasing complex world of land degradation.