ALEXANDRIA, VIRGINIA. Every two years UNESCO’s International Hydrological Programme (IHP) holds its Intergovernmental Council meeting, which attracts most of IHP’s member states along with its affiliated “water family” of UNESCO centers and chairs. IHP is UNESCO’S international scientific cooperative program in water research, water resources management, education, and capacity-building. In June, at UNESCO’s Headquarters offices in Paris, the U.S. delegation to this intergovernmental meeting was led by Verne Schneider (Secretary, U.S. National Committee for IHP) and co-led by Will Logan (Director, International Center for Integrated Water Resources Management, ICIWaRM).
Council members and others present discussed issues such as the role of IHP in the larger UN water family, including UN-Water and water-related High-Level Panels; proposed creation of new initiatives such as a Land Subsidence International Initiative (LaSII), and communication among the water family members.
The week-long sessions also included the first UNESCO Water Science-Policy Interface Colloquium, where ministers overseeing water resources gathered to “present and discuss the progress made thus far in implementing SDG 6 (Water and sanitation) and other water related targets.” ICIWaRM was among the select UNESCO water centers chosen to highlight its activities and products and how they are being used by water planners, managers and decision-makers.
America’s new UNESCO Chair on Sustainable Water Security, hosted by Florida International University, was also represented at the council meeting by Dr. Maria Donoso, co-director of international programs in FIU’s Institute of Water and Environment. The goal of the chair is “to translate FIU’s strengths in research and education to real, down to earth support for the communities and countries that need sustainable water the most,” according to Dr. Donoso.
ICIWaRM was established by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in 2007 in collaboration with U.S. institutions and organizations sharing an interest in the advancement of the science and practice of integrated water resources management (IWRM) around the globe. It was formalized as a UNESCO category 2 water center in October 2009 with the signing of an agreement between the U.S. Government and UNESCO. The designation greatly facilitates ICIWaRM’s ability to engage the UNESCO water family, serving as a focal point for U.S. contributions to IHP.
ICIWaRM’s mission supports the advancement of the science and practice of integrated water resources management 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—focusing on readily transferable, practical science and technology. For more information and the latest news on ICIWaRM, please visit its website, below.
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