22nd session of the Intergovernmental Council of the International Hydrological Programme (IHP) of UNESCO

29 June 2016


Participants of the 22nd session of the IHP Intergovernmental Council. UNESCO Headquarters 13-17 June 2016
© UNESCO/A. Otte
The International Hydrological Programme (IHP) held the 22nd session of its Intergovernmental Council at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris, from the 13 to 17 June 2016. Delegates from 31 Member States members of the IHP Intergovernmental Council attended the session, and 22 delegations from Member States which are not members of the IHP Council attended as observers. 16 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).
Member States representing the Council came together to set the priorities for the IHP and review implementation of the eighth phase of IHP (IHP-VIII, 2014-2021) on “Water Security: Responses to Local, Regional and Global Challenges”.
The Council elected Mr András Szöllösi-Nagy from Hungary by acclamation as Chairperson of the Intergovernmental Council of IHP. Mr Szöllösi-Nagy is recognized for his expert contributions on water-related issues over many years in the national, regional and global contexts, as well for his service as Secretary of the IHP for nearly two decades.
In accepting his nomination, Mr Szöllösi-Nagy highlighted the important role of IHP as one of the first programmes within the United Nations system to have addressed global change and sustainable development issues, as well as its current role in supporting the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The Council also elected four new Vice-Chairpersons to the IHP Bureau: Mr Helmut Habersack (Austria, Group I Europe and North America); Mr Yasuto Tachikawa (Japan, Group IV – Asia and the Pacific), Mr Gaye Cheikh Becaye (Senegal, Group Va – Africa) and Mr Mahmoud Abu-Zeid (Egypt, Group Vb – Arab States). Mr David Korenfeld (Mexico), former Chairperson, remained as ex officio member in the IHP Bureau.
The Council adopted several key decisions and resolutions, supporting, among other matters:
  • to request that the IHP Secretariat provide technical assistance to Member States interested in using the results of the project “Groundwater Governance: A Global Framework for Action”, to improve groundwater governance at the national level through pilot activities.
  • a working group to establish the Megacities Alliance for Water and climate change, to promote international synergies between megacities at the local level and Member States at the national level, in the context of the international water agenda. Among the key partners are ICLEI - Local Governments for Sustainability and ARCEAU-IdF (ARCEAU Ile de France).
  • to establish mechanisms to mobilize the UNESCO Water Family's voluntarily contributions to support implementation and reporting on Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 6 targets and those of other water-related goals; to prepare a strategy to raise the importance of water within the COP 22 process and to engage IHP in the implementation of decisions made at COP 21 and COP 22, in accordance with IHP-VIII and in response to the needs of Member States in the coming years.
  • to establish two new Category 2 water-related Centres under the auspices of UNESCO: The International Centre on Water and Transdisciplinarity (CIRAT) at the Botanical Garden in Brasília and the Regional Centre for Water Security at the Institute of Engineering of the National Autonomous University of Mexico.
At the centre of the discussions stood IHP's role in supporting Member States in the implementation of the UN 2030 Agenda and the SDGs through generating data, contributing to monitoring implementation, and developing tools and methodologies.
The Council session was followed by the 54th session of the newly elected IHP Bureau on 17 June 2016.
During the Council, IHP Secretariat organized several side events: 
  • The Urban Breakfast on Water and Climate Change Adaptation Strategies in Megacities, which also announced the release of a special publication (co-published with ARCEAU-Ile-de-France) and a side event at the upcoming UN-HABITAT III conference. 
  • The presentation of tools developed within the Project “Groundwater Governance”, a 4-year project supported by GEF and implemented in collaboration with FAO, to support Member States and stakeholders to enhance groundwater governance. 
  • A meeting of water-related Category 2 Centres and UNESCO Chairs to present ongoing and future activities of the UNESCO Water Family.
  • The International Initiative on Water Quality (IIWQ) presented regional activities under its umbrella 
  • A session on Ecohydrology presented initiatives to reverse the degradation of water resources and stop further decline in biodiversity.
  • The launch of the new strategy of the International Flood Initiative (IFI) took place in collaboration with the Japanese government.
As customary associated with the Council, took place the Kovacs Colloquium in cooperation with the International Association of Hydrological Sciences (IAHS). Held on 15 June, its 12th edition on “Hydrological Inputs for Water-Related SDGs Implementation: Knowledge, Data, Indicators, Tools & Innovations” gathered more than 160 participants, of which 54 women. The Council session was followed by the 54th session of the newly elected IHP Bureau, held on 17 June 2016.
On the occasion of its 22nd Council, IHP released the new edition of its programmatic brochure on its eighth phase (IHP-VIII 2014-2021), now available in four languages, as well as a series of brochures tracing the IHP's achievements in 2014 and 2015.
22nd session of the IHP Intergovernmental Council — Final Report
54th session of the IHP Bureau — Final Report


IHP-VIII 2014-2021 programmatic brochure

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IHP's achievements in 2014-2015