HOPE initiative: Hydro Free and Open-source Platform of Experts

UNESCO's HOPE Initiative—the Hydro Free and (or) Open-source Platform of Experts—was launched in June 2013 as part of UNESCO's International Hydrological Programme. The Initiative arose in response to a recognized need to make free and (or) open-source water-resources software more widely accessible to Africa's water sector.

The Initiative brings together experts from many fields of water resources to identify software that might be included in a kit, to oversee an objective process for selecting software for the kit, and to engage in training and other modes of capacity building and provides a solid basis for scientific decision-making for the sound governance of water resources. To date, teams of experts from the fields of wastewater treatment, groundwater hydrology, surface-water hydrology, and data management have been setup to identify relevant software from their respective fields. An initial version of the HOPE Software Kit (version 1.0) was released in late August 2014 and consists of STOAT for wastewater treatment developed by the Water Research Center (United Kingdom) and the MODFLOW-2005 model for groundwater-flow simulation developed by the U.S. Geological Survey.

HOPE is also a new approach to research that is more integrative, international and solutions-oriented. It links high-quality focused scientific research to new policy-relevant interdisciplinary efforts for global sustainability based on scientific evidence needed to provide essential targets for societies. The aim is also to stimulate cooperation in research and development of Hydro Free and/or Open-source software to increase scientific outputs, and to enhance their dissemination.

Overall, the HOPE Initiative will be contributing to the Africa Water Vision for 2025: Equitable and Sustainable Use of Water for Socio-Economic development.