Building peace in the minds of men and women

21st session of the Intergovernmental Council of the International Hydrological Programme (IHP) of UNESCO

The 21st session of the Intergovernmental Council of the International Hydrological Programme (IHP) was held at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris from 18 to 20 June 2014. All the thirty-six Member States that are members of the IHP Intergovernmental Council sent delegates. Fifty-five delegations from Member States which are not members of the IHP Council attended. Four United Nations agencies, six intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations, and ten category 2 water-related centres were also represented, including four UNESCO water-related Chairs as well as representatives from the category 1 UNESCO-IHE Institute for Water Education and the UN World Water Assessment Programme (WWAP).

The delegates elected by acclamation Mr David Korenfeld, Director-General of the National Water Commission of Mexico (CONAGUA), as Chairperson of the IHP Intergovernmental Council for the 2014-2016 period. The IHP Council elected the following Vice-Chairpersons: Mr Mitja Brilly (Slovenia), Mr Ian White (Australia), Mr Patrice Jourda (Côte d’Ivoire) and Mr Mahmoud Abu-Zeid (Egypt). Mr Johannes Cullmann (Germany), past Chairperson, remains in the IHP Bureau as ex officio member.


Among several other items, the Council reviewed the activities supporting the Eighth Phase of IHP (IHP-VIII, 2014-2021) on “Water Security: Responses to Local, Regional and Global Challenges”, and its six themes: water-related disasters, groundwater in a changing environment, water scarcity and quality, water and human settlements, ecohydrology, and water education.

The Council adopted several key decisions, including resolutions:

  • recommending water as a stand-alone goal in the post-2015 development agenda and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), 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 SDGs
  • endorsing the World’s Large Rivers Initiative (WLRI) as a scientific-based global platform for integrated river research, exchange of expertise, and sharing of good practices on a voluntary basis
  • approving the programme components of a proposal to establish HIDROEX International Institute for Education, Capacity Building and Applied Research as a UNESCO category 1 Institute;
  • endorsing the proposed establishment of six new category 2 water-related centres under the auspices of UNESCO, i.e., the African Regional Centre for Ecohydrology (ARCE) in Ethiopia; the Central Laboratory for Environmental Monitoring (CLEQM) in Egypt; the Integrated and Multi-Disciplinary Water Resources Management Centre at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki in Greece; the Water Research Centre at the Kuwait Institute for Scientific Research in Kuwait; the International Centre for the Integrated Management of Watershed and Bio-resources in Arid and Semi-Arid Regions in the Islamic Republic of Iran; and the Regional Water Research Centre (RWRC) at the COMSATS Institute of Information Technology in Abbottabad, Pakistan.

IHP’s relationships with the United Nations, intergovernmental organizations and non-governmental organizations were discussed and reviewed, as well as the accomplishments of the International Year of Water Cooperation (IYWC) in 2013, led by UNESCO on behalf of UN-Water, in cooperation with the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) and with the support of the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA), the UN-Water Decade Programme on Capacity Development (UNW-DPC) and the UN-Water Decade Programme on Advocacy and Communication (UNW-DPAC). It was recalled that the international events organized during the Year contributed to strengthening actions and setting up tools to foster water cooperation with the participation of civil society and UN Member States. UNESCO was also instrumental in promoting the debate about the post-2015 development agenda, inter alia during several of the Year’s milestone events held in Paris, The Hague, Nairobi, Dushanbe, Stockholm, Budapest and Mexico and including the formulation of propositions for a sustainable development goal dedicated to water.

Apart from the Council session itself, the IHP Secretariat organized side events, notably the session on “Water in the Post-2015 Development Agenda and Sustainable Development Goals” that discussed UNESCO-IHP’s proposal for a stand-alone sustainable development goal dedicated to water to “Ensure Water Security for Sustainable Development”; and on “IHP Data and Products to Address Water Challenges” with case studies from Member States. In addition, IHP and the International Hydropower Association (IHA), in collaboration with the UNESCO-IHE Institute for Water Education and the UN World Water Assessment Programme (WWAP), organized an event on “Hydropower and its Role in the Water-Energy Nexus”. A meeting of the directors and representatives of over 20 UNESCO water-related institute and centres was also held to explore potential future joint activities and synergies.

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Group photo of the 21st session of the Intergovernmental Council of UNESCO-IHP, June 2014. © UNESCO/R. Pareggiani