ALEXANDRIA, VIRGINIA – July 1, 2014. USACE IWR and ICIWaRM Director Bob Pietrowsky and Deputy Director Dr. Will Logan attended the 21st session of the Intergovernmental Council (IGC) of UNESCO's International Hydrological Programme (IHP) on June 18-20 in Paris, France. The IHP Intergovernmental Council is the main governing body of UNESCO's important freshwater program.
USACE IWR's International Center for Integrated Water Resources Management (ICIWaRM) is affiliated with the United Nation’s (U.N.) IHP Programme as a “Category 2 Center,” meaning that ICIWaRM is hosted and resourced by the U.S. but is part of a global network of water centers by supporting IHP water resources activities through its association with the U.N
As such, ICIWaRM represents an intergovernmental partnership between USACE IWR and several U.S. universities, professional societies and non-governmental organizations. Key among ICIWaRM’s activities, the center hosts the Secretariat for the IHP’s Water and Development Information for Arid Lands – A Global Network (G-WADI).
Significantly, ICIWaRM support to the IHP and participation in the 21st Session also included significant contributions by Dr. Richard Meganck, Oregon State University (OSU). Dr. Meganck, the former Rector of UNESCO’s Institute for Water Education (IHE-Delft) and a member of the U.S. National Commission for UNESCO, attended the Council meeting in support of the delegation as liaison to IHE-Delft and Brazil’s Category 2 Center for Education, Capacity Building and Applied Research in Water (HidroEx).
The official U.S. delegation was headed by Dr. Jerad D. Bales of the U.S. Geological Survey and Chair of the U.S. National Committee for the International Hydrological Programme (IHP). Ms. Janel Heird, Second Secretary and Science Officer at the U.S. Mission to UNESCO, Dr. Jo Leslie Eimers, USGS International Water Resources Specialist, IWR Director Bob Pietrowsky, who represents USACE on the U.S. National Committee for the IHP, and Dr. Will Logan, with the latter two both of USACE-IWR ICIWaRM, served on the U.S. delegation.
Apart of IHP Intergovernmental Council Meeting itself, the Charge d’Affairs of the U.S. Mission to UNESCO, Ms Beth Poisson, hosted the delegation at a pre-IGC meeting at the office of the Permanent Representative in Paris on 17 June.
The Intergovernmental Council Meeting served as an opportunity for USACE IWR-ICIWaRM to strengthen its connections within IHP’s networks and included a center-to-center interactions between ICIWaRM and other Category 2 Centers, include those in Poland, the United Kingdom (Dundee University, in Scotland), China, South Korea, and The Netherlands.
ICIWaRM scientists also met with leaders from other IHP Category 2 Centers in Japan (International Center for Water Hazards and Risk Management — (ICHARM), the Dominican Republic (Center for the Sustainable Management of Water Resources in the Caribbean Island States — CEHICA), Chile (Center for Arid and Semi-Arid Zones of Latin America and the Caribbean— CAZALAC), Poland (European Regional Centre for Ecohydrology — ERCE), International Research and Training Center on Erosion and Sedimentation (IRTCES), China; International Groundwater Assessment Centre (IGRAC), The Netherlands; Centre for Water Law, Policy and Science at Dundee University, Scotland, U.K.; and Brazil (HidroEx) to explore potential future joint activities. USACE IWR-ICIWaRM also actively participated in an evening meeting organized by the IHP Secretariat with the Institute for Water Education (IHE), The Delft, Netherlands, and the approximately fifteen IHP Category 2 Centers in attendance at the Council meeting, sharing respective activities and working towards additional global and regional networking and enhanced electronic communication mechanisms between centers. Multiple informal side meetings were also held with representatives from new Category 2 Centers/IHP National Committees/IHP Regional Offices in Mexico, Egypt, Korea, Serbia, Germany and Australia.
ICIWaRM actively supported the overall U.S. delegation during the three days the Intergovernmental Council was in session, at which the U.S. Government participated as an Observer to the 36-member nation governing body. Director Bob Pietrowsky presented on the activities of ICIWaRM at the IHP Secretariat’s meeting of the family of Category 2 water centers, and Dr. Will Logan made a presentation on the G-WADI program at the event on “IHP Data and Products to Address Water Challenges. Dr. Logan also addressed the Council in his role as co-rapporteur of the Working Group on the Implementation of the IHP Phase VIII Strategic Plan.
During the 21st session, the Council made a number of key decisions and recommendations, including with regard to:
· Selection of a new Chair of the Intergovernmental Council - Dr. David Kornenfeld Federman, Director-General of Mexico’s National Water Commission (CONAGUA).
· Review of the accomplishments and outcomes of IHP Phase VII, along with IHP’s institutional developments since the 20th session of the council in 2012.
· The report on the High-Level Meeting on Water Security and Cooperation, organized by the IHP Secretariat in September, 2013 in Nairobi, Kenya.
· Review of current activities supporting Phase VIII of the IHP (2014 to 2021), entitled “Water Security: Reponses to Local, Regional & Global Challenges”. Phase VIII’s six themes include: water-related disasters, groundwater in a changing environment, water scarcity and quality, water and human settlements, ecohydrology, and water education.
· Approved a resolution endorsing the establishment of HIDROEX, which is currently a Category 2 Centre under the auspices of UNESCO, as the International Institute for Education, Capacity Building and Applied Research as a UNESCO Category 1 Institute.
· Approved resolutions recommending water as a stand-alone goal in the post-2015 Development Agenda and Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s), along with encouraging the leveraging of water quality and quantity monitoring networks to inform progress towards achieving various metrics to be associated measuring progress towards the SDG’s.
· Approved a resolution endorsing a scientific-based global platform for integrated river research, exchange of expertise, and sharing of good practices on a voluntary basis as part of the World’s Largest Rivers Initiative (WLRI).
· Endorsed proposals for six new Category 2 Water Centers under the auspices of UNEWCO, including
- the African Regional Centre for Ecohydrology (ARCE), Ethiopia;
- the Central Laboratory for Environmental Monitoring (CLEQM), El-Qanater, Egypt;
- the Integrated & Multi-Disciplinary Water Resources Management Centre at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece;
- the Water Research Centre at the Kuwait Institute for Scientific Research, Kuwait;
- the International Centre for the Integrated Management of Watershed and Bio-resources in Arid and Semi-Arid Regions, Islamic Republic of Iran; and,
- the Regional Water Research Centre (RWRC) at the COMSATS Institute of Information Technology, Abbottabad, Pakistan.
The IHP has been a leader in international hydrology since it was established in 1975 in order to facilitate intergovernmental cooperation in water sciences and water resource management. Documents, resolutions and meeting reports can be found on the UNESCO IHP website.