Regional institutions programmes and networks on groundwater

Regional institutions, programmes and networks on groundwater are numerous. It is virtually impossible to give a complete overview. Therefore, only a few of them (probably the ones most visible to the global community) are briefly mentioned here, region by region.

Europe

Interesting from the groundwater point of view are - among others - the European Union (EU), the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UN/ECE), ISARM-Balkans and the Association of European Geological Surveys (EGS).

The EU is important for groundwater for at least two reasons: (i) the Water Framework Programmes for financing innovative research on Europe's water resources; and (ii) the EU Framework Directive on Water, aiming to establish a framework for the protection of Europe's water systems (including groundwater), which forces all states of the EU to assess their water resources properly and to upgrade their water-monitoring systems according to a common standard.

In recent years, the UN/ECE Task Force on Monitoring and Assessment (now known as the UN/ECE Working Group on Monitoring and Assessment) has made very substantial efforts related to groundwater, which has resulted in Europe-wide reports on:

• inventory of transboundary groundwaters;

• problem-oriented approach and the use of indicators;

• application of models;

• state of the art on monitoring and assessment of groundwater.

ISARM-Balkans is a network in which representatives of the Balkan countries and Turkey are trying to forge the cooperation needed for transboundary aquifer management in their region.

North, Central and South America

A powerful regional organization for the Americas is the Organization of American States or Organización de Estados Americanos (AOS/OEA). In cooperation with the Montevideo Office of UNESCO/IHP, it has been, and still is, actively involved in many groundwater-related projects and efforts such as the Hydrogeological Map of South America and ISARM of the Americas.

As a regional equivalent of the global IAH, the Asociación Latinoamericana de Hidrología Subterránea para el Deasarrollo (ALHSUD) has been established as the professional association of hydrogeologists of Latin America.

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