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IWR/ ICIWaRM Director Plays Key Role in Landmark UN Water Day Event

Published Dec. 19, 2016
IWR / ICIWaRM Director, Bob Pietrowsky making a keynote presentation at the UNESCO IHP hosted event on Improving Stakeholder Engagement in Decision Making to Combat Extreme Flood & Drought Impacts, 8 Nov 2016.

IWR / ICIWaRM Director, Bob Pietrowsky making a keynote presentation at the UNESCO IHP hosted event on Improving Stakeholder Engagement in Decision Making to Combat Extreme Flood & Drought Impacts, 8 Nov 2016.

UN Post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals.

UN Post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals.

MARRAKECH, MOROCCO.   The 22nd Session of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP22) was held last month in Marrakech, Morocco.  IWR and ICIWaRM Director Bob Pietrowsky represented USACE and IWR’s International Center for Integrated Water Resources Management (ICIWaRM), under the auspices of UNESCO.  He also served on the Steering Committee for the Alliance for Global Water Adaptation (AGWA). 

On 8 November, Mr. Pietrowsky delivered a keynote presentation to lead off a panel discussion on Improving Stakeholder Engagement in Decision Making to Combat Extreme Flood and Drought Impacts.  The session was moderated by Dr. Anil Mishra, UNESCO IHP Secretariat, and was organized by UNESCO IHP in partnership with the International Water Association, along with the Stockholm International Water Institute and the World Water Council.   

The following day, designated as the Global Climate Action Day for Water at COP22, marked an exciting event – the public release of of iRAIN, a revolutionary new mobile App that provides, for the first time, mobile access to near real-time rainfall estimates to everyone, at any time, and anywhere in the world.  The App was developed with the University California at Irvine’s Center for Hydrometeorology and Remote Sensing (CHRS) and UNESCO IHP’s G-WADI Program.  It allows users to visualize real-time global satellite precipitation observations, track extreme precipitation events worldwide, and report local rainfall information using crowd-sourcing functionality of the App to supplement the data. A useful feature of iRain is that real-time rainfall observation data can be easily shared through social networks such as Facebook and Twitter. Bob Pietrowsky provided remarks and there was also a tutorial and hands-on demonstration by CHRS’s Dr. Phu Nguyen. 

On 10 November, Mr. Pietrowsky served as the keynote speaker on the topic of Vulnerability of Water Resources to Climate Change at an event hosted by Morocco’s Office Chérifien des Phosphates (OCP Group).  The speech highlighted  

(1) the role of integrated water resources management as the policy context for approaching the SDG’s “Mega-Nexus” challenges within Water-Food-Energy-Health-Transportation & the Environment, along with

(2) the value of an analytical framework utilizing decision scaling techniques such as the AGWA consistent approaches such as the Decision Tree (Dr. Casey Brown, University of Massachusetts and the World Bank) or Collaborative Risk Informed Decision Analysis (CRIDA, after Dr, John Mathews,, and

(3) the importance of open, transparent and technically informed decision processes for engaging Civil Society, such as via Shared Vision Planning (SVP, after Mr. William Werick and USACE IWR).  

Following Mr. Pietrowsky’s keynote, the panel discussion included presentations from the Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Evolution (IPCC); Alliance for Global Water Adaptation (AGWA); UNESCO’s Water Sciences Division; Morocco Delegate Ministry of Water; Moroccan Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries; and Purdue University.  

Landmark Event

With the 9th of November 2016 serving as the Global Climate Action Day for Water at the Marrakesh event, it marked the first time in COP’s twenty-two session-history that the issue of water was at the forefront of the Climate agenda.  This is a big step towards facilitating the active participation of the world’s water community in the dialogue on proposals for specific actions and long term solutions which address the adaptation challenges which are currently perplexing effective water management and inhibiting progress via the post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s) towards achievement of both Poverty Reduction and Sustainable Development.   

Key Outcomes

In his summary of the Marrakesh event on 17 November at COP22’s “High Level Panel on Accelerating Climate Action” for global action champions and national delegations, Mr. Loic Fauchon, Honorary President of the World Water Council (WWC), presented the recommendations of the historic first Global Climate Action Day for Water. He spoke after a welcoming address from U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon and, representatives on behalf of the government of Morocco.  In his presentation, Mr. Fauchon thanked the global climate champions of Morocco and France for their “outstanding engagement in making COP22 a landmark in the history of the UN Climate Conference, by increasing the visibility for water challenges, which are exacerbated by climate change.”  

The three specific recommendations for Water Action that were presented to the UN and government representatives are: 

1) Harmonizing water and climate policies, launching a Water Action Plan for Climate Resilience and implementing the five fingers alliance concept, an interdisciplinary approach that encompasses collaborative solutions in the domains of a mega-nexus of water, food, energy, health and education;

2) Extending water access and sanitation services in Africa; and,

3) Reinforcing resilient water governance and promoting participatory, inclusive, integrated, and ecological water resources management. 

Learn More


G-Wadi -

UNESCO Natural Sciences -

IHP Programme -

UN 2030 Sustainable Development Goals –

iRain Mobile App

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Related Information: (see the following pages)

  • Role of the International Center for Integrated Water Resources Management (ICIWaRM)

  • ICIWaRM as an Example of Collaboration Best Practices

·         More about UNESCO’s Natural Sciences Sector and the International Hydrological Programme (IHP)

  • About the U.N. 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development


Role of the International Center for Integrated Water Resources Management (ICIWaRM) 

USACE IWR’s ICIWaRM, which was approved by the U.S. Government and UNESCO in 2009, was the first Category II Center in the U.S., and remains as the only such center affiliated with the International Hydrological Program (IHP). ICIWaRM is hosted by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Institute for Water Resources (IWR) in Alexandria, Virginia, but represents a “whole-of-government” approach which functions as an intergovernmental entity, not only with other offices throughout USACE, but also in collaboration with a consortium of core partners at other Federal agencies, such as the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS); with Universities, including Colorado State University, Oregon State University, the University of Arizona, Florida International University, the University of California at Irvine, and Princeton University; along with non-governmental organizations (NGO’s) such as the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), the American Water Resources Association (AWRA), The Nature Conservancy (TNC), and the Global Water Partnership.    

The overall mission of ICIWaRM is the advancement of the science and practice of integrated water resources management (IWRM) to address water security and other water-related challenges by regional and global action, through new knowledge, innovative technologies, collaborative interdisciplinary scientific research, networking, training and capacity development. It focuses on readily transferable, practical science and technology. ICIWaRM’s program supports of the strategic objectives of UNESCO’s IHP Phase VIII Strategy, and functions, working closely with the U.S. National Commission for UNESCO, the U.S. National Committee for IHP and the U.S. State Department, including the U.S. Mission to UNESCO.

ICIWaRM as an Example of Collaboration Best Practices  

ICIWaRM’s role as the technical Secretariat for the “G-WADI” program - UNESCO’s Programme for Water and Development Information for Arid Lands: a Global Network, was cited as one of the best practices for collaboration, given its global footprint and its engagement with regional G-WADI groups and other Category II Centers around the world. G-WADI was established in 2004 by the 15th session of the IHP.  Areas of emphasis in the current G-WADI program include:

  • Satellite-based precipitation estimates for regions with limited ground-based information,

  • Hydrologic monitoring and forecasting for floods and drought,

  • Regional frequency analysis on precipitation to assist drought managers,

  • Chemical and Isotopic tracers, and

  • Rainwater Harvesting.



    More about UNESCO’s Natural Sciences Sector and the International Hydrological Programme (IHP)


    UNESCO works to advance and promote science in the interests of peace, sustainable development and human security and well-being, in close collaboration with its Member States and a wide variety of partners. It is the only United Nations specialized agency, symbolized by the ‘S’ in the acronym, with a specific mandate for science.


    Since its foundation in 1945 UNESCO has acted as a catalyst for the establishment of many, now leading, scientific unions and bodies such as CERN; and initiatives with far-reaching implications for sustainable human security and well-being, such as the Man and the Biosphere Programme, the International Hydrological Programme (IHP), and the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission, were launched in UNESCO’s first decades.


    UNESCO’s key science objectives are to:

  • Catalyze international cooperation in science;

  • Promote dialogue between scientists and policy makers;

  • Build capacity in science;

  • Advocate for science;

  • Act as a platform for sharing ideas and standard setting;

  • Implement programmes and projects in science throughout the world.


    UNESCO hosts major international programmes in the freshwater, marine, ecological, earth and basic sciences. Science policy at the national and sectoral levels is a key part of UNESCO’s work in science. Emphasis is given to developing countries, in particular to Africa and to ensuring gender equality in science. Cross-cutting themes include natural disaster reduction, biodiversity, engineering, science education, climate change and sustainable development in small island developing states.


    It is increasingly recognized that solutions to today’s global challenges such as climate change and youth unemployment need a multi-sectoral response and in this regard UNESCO mobilizes scientific knowledge in the context of its multidisciplinary mandate in education, culture, the social and human sciences and communication.


    About the U.N. 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development


    This Agenda is a plan of action for people, planet and prosperity that also seeks to strengthen universal peace in larger freedom, while recognizing that eradicating poverty in all its forms and dimensions, including extreme poverty, is the greatest global challenge and an indispensable requirement for sustainable development.


    The agenda includes transformative steps which are urgently needed to shift the world onto a sustainable and resilient path, along with 17 Sustainable Development Goals and 169 targets which seek to build on the Millennium Development Goals and complete what these did not achieve. They seek to realize the human rights of all and to achieve gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls. They are integrated and indivisible and balance the three dimensions of sustainable development: the economic, social and environmental.


    The Goals and targets will stimulate action over the next fifteen years in areas of critical importance for humanity and the planet:


    Sustainable Development Goals*

  • Goal 1. End poverty in all its forms everywhere

  • Goal 2. End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition & promote sustainable agriculture

  • Goal 3. Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages

  • Goal 4. Ensure inclusive & equitable quality education, & promote lifelong learning opportunities for all

  • Goal 5. Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls

  • Goal 6. Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all

  • Goal 7. Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all

  • Goal 8. Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all

  • Goal 9. Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive & sustainable industrialization & foster innovation

  • Goal 10. Reduce inequality within and among countries

  • Goal 11. Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable

  • Goal 12. Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns

  • Goal 13. Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts

  • Goal 14. Conserve & sustainably use oceans, seas & marine resources for sustainable development

  • Goal 15. Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, halt & reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss

  • Goal 16. Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels

  • Goal 17. Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development

* Although virtually all 17 of the SDG’s are interrelated and have a water component, the SDG’s with the most direct linkage to water are shown above in bold.