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Posted 6/18/2014

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ALEXANDRIA, Virginia. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Institute for Water Resources (IWR) Director Bob Pietrowsky, in his dual-role as Director of the Institute’s International Center for Integrated Water Resources Management (ICIWaRM), was appointed to the International Hydrological Programme’s (IHP’s) Ecohydrology Steering Committee and attended the committee’s recent workshop at the UNESCO Headquarters in Paris, France, 20-21 May 2014. The ecohydrological topic of “harmony with engineering for a sustainable world” is one of the foundational themes of IHP’s 8th Phase (IHP-VIII, 2014-2021) entitled “Water Security: Responses to Local, Regional and Global Challenges”.

IHP-VIII is organized around the following six interrelated Themes: 1) Water-related disasters and hydrological change, 2) Groundwater in a changing world, 3) Addressing water scarcity and quality, 4) Water and human settlements of the future, 5) Ecohydrology, engineering harmony for a sustainable world, and 6) Water education, key for water security.

Aligned with the new eight-year Medium-term Strategy of UNESCO (2014-2021), the strategic plan for IHP-VIII was prepared through a 3-year comprehensive consultation process with Member States. IHP-VIII aims to improve water security through multidisciplinary and environmentally sound approaches such as Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) in order to achieve outcomes that balance economic growth with environmental sustainability and the human and cultural dimensions of civil societies.

IHP-VIII is intended to stimulate the use of innovative methods, tools and approaches by capitalizing on advances in water sciences, as well as building competencies to meet the challenges of today’s global water challenges. In particular, UNESCO water centers, such as ICIWaRM, are expected to play an important role in this process.

IHP-VIII’s Ecohydrology Theme is focused on an integrated understanding of biological and hydrological processes at the catchment scale in order to create a more definitive scientific basis for a socially acceptable, cost-effective and systemic approach to the sustainable management of freshwater resources. This includes an emphasis on (1) advancing the integration of social, ecological and hydrological research, applications, capacity development and education; and (2) generating practices that enable the development and implementation of more effective water policies, and sustainable and resilient water management outcomes.

During the Steering Committee meeting, the IHP Secretariat and participants reviewed on-going activities of UNESCO’s Centers, with a special focus on activities and projects in the area of ecohydrology, as well as cooperation with related centers and international programs. Invited speakers, including Director Pietrowsky, gave presentations on continuing and new opportunities for advancing the ecohydrology theme within IHP-VIII.

Participants also worked together to develop a plan of action for the ecohydrology program, with the following areas of emphasis: 
1) Ecohydrologic technologies - green infrastructure,
2) Ecosystem services - quantification and evaluation,
3) Ecohydrologic dynamics, ranging from basin scale to global scale,
4) Environmental flow regimes - hydro-biological science and water management,
5) Extreme events - floods and droughts, and water hazard’s function and adaptation, and
6) Water governance, IWRM, and technical knowledge/capacity development.

The IHP is the only intergovernmental programme within the United Nations system devoted to water research, water resources management, and education and capacity building. Since its inception in 1975, IHP has evolved from an internationally coordinated hydrological research program into a comprehensive, holistic program encompassing education and capacity building in order to enhance water resources management and governance.
IHP facilitates an interdisciplinary and integrated approach to watershed and aquifer management, which incorporates the social dimension of water resources, and promotes and develops international research in hydrological and freshwater sciences.

Learn more:

 ICIWaRM: http://www.iciwarm.org

 UNESCO IHP: http://www.unesco.org/new/en/natural-sciences/environment/water/ihp/about-ihp/

 IHP Phase VIII - http://en.unesco.org/themes/water-security/hydrology/IHP-VIII-water-security

 IHP Phase VIII - Ecohydrology Theme: http://en.unesco.org/themes/water-security/hydrology/ecohydrology