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Name UNESCO-IHP - International Hydrological Programme
Logo Image:UNESCOLogo.gif
Geographic Scope Global
Subject Focus Expertise Global changes and water resources, Integrated watershed and aquifer dynamics, Land-habitat hydrology, Water and Society, Water education and training
Contact E-mail:
URL http://www.unesco.org/water/ihp/

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The International Hydrological Programme (IHP), UNESCO's intergovernmental scientific co-operative programme in water resources, is a vehicle through which Member States can upgrade their knowledge of the water cycle and thereby increase their capacity to better manage and develop their water resources.

It aims at the improvement of the scientific and technological basis for the development of methods for the rational management of water resources, including the protection of the environment.

As UNESCO's principal mechanism to contribute to the priority issue of water resources and related ecosystems, the IHP strives to minimize the risks to water resources systems, taking fully into account social challenges and interactions and developing appropriate approaches for sound water management.

IHP Centres

1. IHP-HELP Centre for Water Law, Policy and Science. The IHP-HELP Centre seeks to develop and share knowledge and expertise in international, national and transboundary water law and policy.

2. International Centre on Qanats and Historic Hydraulic Structures (ICQHHS). This centre aims to promote research, capacity-building and knowledge transfer on qanats, as well as the preservation of the cultural heritage that qanats represent.

3. International Research and Training Centre on Erosion and Sedimentation (IRTCES). This Centre aims to promote an international exchange of knowledge and cooperation in the study of erosion and sedimentation problems.

4. Regional Centre on Urban Water Management (RCUWM). RCUWM is a regional scientific organization on urban water management, which takes into account the climatic and other specifications of the Arab States region. The potential impact of the centre is on international scientific and technical cooperation in the region.

5. Regional Centre for Training and Water Studies of Arid and Semi-arid Zones (RCTWS). The RCTWS aims to provide information on the science and technology of arid and semi-arid zones and promote policies leading to the integrated and sustainable water resources management at the local, regional, and national levels.

6. Regional Humid Tropics Hydrology and Water Resources Centre for South-East Asia and the Pacific. This Centre aims to strengthen the bonds between scientific research, application and education in the field of humid tropics hydrology and water resources.

7. Centre for Arid and Semi-arid Zones of Latin America and the Caribbean (CAZALAC). CAZALAC promotes training, education, scientific research and technological initiatives in the region’s arid and semi-arid zones, where managing water resources is particularly difficult.

8. Water Centre for the Humid Tropics of Latin America and the Caribbean (CATHALAC). CATHALAC promotes the adequate management of water resources and fosters sustainable development in the LAC region, while furthering research and cooperation for development in water management.

9. European Regional Centre for Ecohydrology. The centre promotes integrative multidisciplinary ecohydrological research at a catchment scale for sustainable management, protection and restoration of aquatic resources. Basic research includes: hydrology, hydrobiology, environmental chemistry, landscape processes, soil ecology, phytotechnology, environmental toxicology and genetics, population studies and mathematical modelling.

See UNESCO's overall mission and mandate.

Key Resources

Selected recent publications

Data Requirements for Integrated Urban Water Management (2008) - Data Requirements for Integrated Urban Water Managements – issuing from UNESCO’s International Hydrological Programme project on this topic – is geared towards improving integrated urban water management by providing guidance on the collection, validation, storage, assessment and utilization of the relevant data. The first part of this volume describes general principles for developing a monitoring programme in support of sustainable urban water management. The second part examines in detail the monitoring of individual water cycle components.

Urban Water Cycle Processes and Interactions - represents the fruit of a project by UNESCO’s International Hydrological Programme on this topic. The volume begins by introducing the urban water cycle concept and the need for integrated or total management. It then explores in detail the manifold hydrological components of the cycle, the diverse elements of urban infrastructure and water services, and the various effects of urbanization on the environment – from the atmosphere and surface waters to wetlands, soils and groundwater, as well as biodiversity. A concluding series of recommendations for effective urban water management summarize the important findings set forth here.

Aquatic Habitats in Sustainable Urban Water Management - the result of collaboration between UNESCO’s International Hydrological Programme and its Man and the Biosphere Programme – aims at improving our understanding of aquatic habitats, related ecosystem goods and services, and conservation and sustainable use – with a special focus on their integration into urban water management. The first part of this volume reviews basic concepts and challenges in urban aquatic habitats, as well as strategies for their management integration. The second part examines technical measures related to habitats management and rehabilitation, along with their incorporation into urban planning and their role in human health. The final part looks at current urban aquatic habitat issues and practical approaches to solving them through the lens of case studies from around the globe.

Water and Peace for the People (2008) - This book proposes practical and objective solutions to the entrenched water conflicts in the Middle East. The author reveals and clarifies the complexity of the water conflicts, drawing on years of experience facilitating and chairing water negotiations in the region. The bottom line is: Unless the countries involved co-operate, the consequences will be devastating. The lack of plentiful and clean water for the people will not only result in severe human suffering, but could also have grave geopolitical consequences.

Click Here to browse all IHP publications.

Work on the Ground

Cross-cutting programmes

Hydrology for the Environment, Life and Policy (HELP) - HELP creates a new approach to integrated basins management. It is a problem- and demand-driven initiative that addresses five key policy issues:

  • Water and climate
  • Water and food
  • Water quality and human health
  • Water and the environment
  • Water and conflict

Source:UNESCO-IHP website

Flow Regimes from International Experimental and Network Data (FRIEND) - The FRIEND programme is an international collaborative study intended to develop, through the mutual exchange of data, knowledge and techniques at a regional level and a better understanding of hydrological variability and similarity across time and space.


See also

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External Resources


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