The 53rd session of the Bureau of the International Hydrological Programme (IHP) was held at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris 19-20 April 2016 to review the functioning and implementation of the Programme and prepare the next session of the IHP Intergovernmental Council. On behalf of Flavia Schlegel, Assistant Director-General for Natural Sciences, Han Qunli, Director of the Division of Ecological and Earth Sciences delivered the welcome address, expressing appreciation for Member States’ support to IHP and recalling that Member States maintained water as a top priority for Natural Sciences at UNESCO.
Among other issues, the IHP Bureau addressed the institutional developments at the Natural Sciences Sector and the Division of Water Sciences, the implementation of the Programme’s Eighth Phase, the Status and operation of the UNESCO Water Family. The Secretariat presented a new video explaining IHP's functioning.
In the Bureau meeting participated the Chairperson of IHP’s 21st Intergovernmental Council and all regional Vice-Chairpersons the Chairpersons of the Council's Finance Committee and the Communication and Outreach Committee, representatives of the UNESCO-IHE Institute for Water Education, the World Water Assessment Programme (WWAP), the Man and the Biosphere Programme (MAB), the International Geoscience Programme (IGCP) and the World Commission on the Ethics of Scientific Knowledge and Technology (COMEST), and twenty delegations from Member States, UNESCO category 2 water-related centres and non-governmental organizations.
The secretariat reported the recommendation of the Member States to update of the Rules of Procedure of the IHP Council regarding the office term of Bureau and Council Members. The meeting recalled the success of the celebration of the 50th anniversary of UNESCO Water Programmes in 2015, with 34 events across all electoral regions and an anniversary book published in English, French and Spanish. The Coordinator of WWAP presented the findings of the 2016 edition of the World Water Development Report (WWDR2016) and cited it as a good example for inter-agency cooperation within the UN system. The Rector a.i. of UNESCO-IHE referred to the ongoing consultation process between UNESCO, the Government of the Netherlands, and the IHE Foundation on the renewal of the agreement of UNESCO-IHE as Category 1 Institute of UNESCO. Furthermore, IHP’s foreseen involvement in COP22 in Marrakech, Morocco, was also highlighted during the session.
The 53rd IHP Bureau underlined IHP’s contributions to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the formulation of SDG 6, and recommended that the Secretariat prioritizes IHP’s contribution to the most relevant international agenda items.
Furthermore, the Bureau took note of the provisional agenda for the upcoming 22nd session of the Intergovernmental Council of IHP from 13-17 June 2016 at UNESCO HQ in Paris. The 53rd Bureau meeting closed on 20 April, half a day earlier than initially foreseen.