United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization

Through its Water Science Division, UNESCO has developed a strong profile in water since the International Water Decade (1965-1974). This decade was followed by the International Hydrological Programme, carried out in phases, with IHP-1 starting in 1975. IHP is UNESCO's intergovernmental multi-disciplinary scientific programme in hydrology and water resources; the programme of each phase reflects the needs and/or priorities of the member states and is formally approved by these states. IHP is currently in its sixth phase (IHP-6, 2002-2007, see Box 2.3).

UNESCO/IHP Headquarters in Paris is cooperating with IHP National Committees and with IHP regional and cluster offices (Apia, Brasilia, Montevideo, Kingston, Port au Prince, Venice, Moscow, Cairo, Nairobi, New Delhi, Tehran, Jakarta, etc.). Forging cooperation is the main mechanism for laying foundations. As of early 2003, the IHP network included 13 UNESCO centres and 11 UNESCO university chairs.

Groundwater-related objectives of UNESCO's Water Science Division are: development of scientific knowledge in hydrogeology (especially quantity, quality, salt water, arid hydrology) and related training. Research is promoted by working groups, supported centres, publications, participation in projects, etc. Training is promoted by supporting various international training centres (e.g. Barcelona groundwater course; UNESCO-IHE).

Over the years, UNESCO has produced a considerable quantity of training materials, manuals, guides, proceedings and publications on groundwater, has participated in the Hydrogeological Map of South America and is still involved in the preparation of the Hydrogeological Map of Europe. Recent important projects and programmes on groundwater are: World Groundwater Resources Map (WHYMAP), Internationally Shared Aquifer Resources Management (ISARM) and the Working Groups on Groundwater Indicators and on Nonrenewable Groundwater Resources. Well-known series of publications are UNESCO's Technical Papers in Hydrology, Studies and Reports in Hydrology

Box 16.3. Themes of UNESCO's IHP-6 (2002-2007) 'Water interactions: systems at risk and social challenges'

1. Global changes and water resources;

2. Integrated Watershed and Aquifer Dynamics;

3. Land Habitat Hydrology;

4. Water and Society;

5. Water Education and Training.

Box 16.4. Recent issues in UNESCO's 'Series on Groundwater'

Produced in the framework of IHP (available in hard copy and on CD):

1. Internationally Shared (Transboundary) Aquifer Resources Management (2001);

2. Groundwater contamination inventory (2002);

3. Groundwater studies (2004);

4. Intensively exploited aquifers (2002);

5. Submarine groundwater discharge (2004);

6. Groundwater resources of the world and their use (2004);

7. Groundwater and fractured rocks (2003).

and Technical Documents in Hydrology. Some of the recent publications related to groundwater are listed in Box 16.4.

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