National Committees form the backbone of the International Hydrological Programme (IHP) and are fundamental to ensuring the widest possible participation of Member States in the international programme. These Committees are constituted and run under the authority of national governments and play a critical role in the implementation of the IHP.
The composition of a National Committee may differ from country to country, depending on the national capabilities and the existing institutional structure for hydrological studies and water resources management. The IHP Council recommends that IHP National Committees should be constituted to:
- Be multi-stakeholder in membership, so as to include both scientists and water managers, as well as relevant government bodies, professional associations and civil society (NGOs and the private sector);
- Work closely with the UNESCO Regional Hydrologist and with the Vice-Chair of the IHP Council from the region, to ensure close and frequent communication and exchange of experience with other National Committees of the region and with the international programme;
- Establish and maintain strong links with the UNESCO National Commission of the country, so as to participate more fully in UNESCO affairs as well as to contribute to international discussion and decision-making for UNESCO in which the National Commissions play an important and growing role.
There are at present 168 IHP National Committees and focal points among UNESCO’s 195 Member States.