Water security, focus of the 58th session of the Bureau of the International Hydrological Programme
At the 58th Session of the Bureau of the International Hydrological Programme (IHP), the regional representatives and observers of the only intergovernmental programme of the United Nations system devoted to water research and management and related capacity development centered discussions on further strengthening IHP’s delivery on water security in support of the countries implementing the 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals.
During the three-day Bureau session with 85 participants (46 women and 39 men), the elected expert of the six UNESCO regions reviewed the progress towards the implementation of the Eighth Phase of IHP (IHP-VIII 2014-2021) on water security. They focused on achievements in fostering water security in the current global context, where water is pivotal to development and environmental issues, including climate change, and where, at the same time, the water sector is undergoing rapid transformation, scientifically, technically and institutionally.
Active since 1975, the Programme relies on UNESCO Member States’ constant support to evolve continuously in adaptation to the tasks. Mr Hamet Baba Ly (Senegal), the Chairperson of the IHP Council, welcomed in his opening statement the achievements of the IHP Secretariat and cooperation with Member States, and underlined the need for IHP to ensure its place in the international water sphere.
In progress achieved from an institutional point of view, the current revision of IHP’s governing bodies’ statutes, which will be submitted to UNESCO’s 40th General Conference (November 2019), and the consultative development of IHP’s ninth period of work, the phase IHP-IX for 2022 to 2029, shared the limelight of the discussions. Taking on board the results of the Programmes’ mid-term evaluation of IHP-VIII (2014-2021), IHP-IX will further strengthen IHP’s multidisciplinary approach to achieve holistic water management as well as efforts to coordinate UNESCO’s Water Family. The IHP Bureau recommended that the IHP-IX strategy be oriented more towards extreme hydrological events. The Final Report of the 58th session of the Bureau is available here.
To strengthen further its ties to and involvement with Member States, IHP continues developing the interface between science and policy-making to improve water security. For instance, IHP provides platforms for Ministers and decision-makers responsible of water issues to share their priorities with scientists, receive expert advice and guide future research. The UNESCO International Conference on Water (May 2019) and the forthcoming second Science Policy Interface Colloquium on Water (SPIC Water) in 2020 are prime examples of such activity at global level.