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Fresh Water

Photo from the flooded New Orleans
© Tidewater Muse (Flickr CC)

Fresh Water is the key resource for human life on earth. Health, food, and prosperity depend on the availabilty of fresh water. Fresh water also means dealing with fundamental questions of development and security.

UNESCO is the institution with the most comprehensive expertise on fresh water in the UN system. A global poll among water experts in 2008 called UNESCO the most influential international water organization.

UNESCO takes the lead role within UNWater. UNESCO’s programme of research and management of “Water resources and associated ecosystems” has for many years been one of UNESCO’s principal programme priorities.


The IHP, UNESCO institutes and the World Water Report

Since 1975, the International Hydrological Programme (IHP) is the most important element of UNESCO’s fresh water programme. The IHP depends on the work of national committees in more than 160 countries - the German committee has been one of the first.
More on the IHP and the German contributiomn to the IHP.

About 20 research centres under UNESCO’s auspices are delivering tangible results on issues such as floods or water law. UNESCO-IHE, an integral part of UNESCO dealing with water education, is the most important institute of its kind worldwide. Since 2014, the German city of Koblenz hosts the UNESCO institute dealing with "Water Resources and Global Change".

UNESCO also annually publishes the World Water Development Report.

Important German activities

Besides the intensive participation in the IHP, there are several other important contributions from Germany to UNESCO's water programme:

  • The German Commission for UNESCO presents the international cooperation of Germany on water questions, within the framework of UNESCO and beyond, at and through a related exhibition.
  • DUK has organized in the end of 2009 a training programme on Integrated Water Resources Management in the Middle East and North Africa, together with partners. More information
  • The Federal Institute for Geosciences and Natural Resources (BGR) is UNESCO's main partner in WHYMAP, i.e. in mapping the groundwater resources of the world,
  • The Center for Development Research in Bonn is the main partner of UNESCO in a project on land use and water resources in Uzbekhistan, running since 2001. More information
  • UNESCO- and water-related summer schools take place every year in Germany, at the universities of Bochum and Kiel.

UNESCO water portal




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