ALEXANDRIA, VA – 1 July 2008. The International Center for Integrated Water Resources Management (ICIWaRM) was endorsed by the UNESCO International Hydrological Programme (IHP) Intergovernmental Council at its recent bi-annual meeting in Paris, France. IWR Director Robert A. Pietrowsky and International Water Resources Specialist Eugene Z. Stakhiv were part of a delegation of U.S. Government (USG) members who attended the meeting June 9-13, 2008, at UNESCO Headquarters.
ICIWaRM, as a center working in partnership with UNESCO, will serve as a USACE and USG knowledge center for transferring new ideas, science and technology developed both in the U.S. and through the various IHP programs and initiatives, and integrate them with current “best management practices” for integrated water resources management (IWRM) in order to achieve the objectives associated with the seventh phase of the IHP program (2008-2013), the United Nations Millennium Development Goals (particularly to ensure environmental sustainability), and to advance the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development’s goals for integrating the social, economic and environmental dimensions of sustainable development in policy-making.
ICIWaRM’s mission is the “advancement of the practice of integrated water resources management (IWRM) to address water security and other water-related challenges by regional and global action, through new knowledge, innovative technologies, collaborative interdisciplinary planning and research, networking, training and capacity development, within the framework of UNESCO’s International Hydrological Programme (IHP)”
The core of IWRM is to improve water management (i.e., the effective delivery of water-related services) in an economically efficient, socially equitable and environmentally sustainable manner. To do so, ICIWaRM emphasizes the integration of improved planning and engineering models and water data with practical methods for comprehensive watershed planning and socio-economic evaluation aimed at the advancement, application and infusion of best management practices around the globe.
Mathew Larsen, U.S. Geological Survey, Department of the Interior, who led the U.S. delegation, was elected chair of the meeting’s drafting committee, which is influential in shaping the summaries of the meeting’s major discussions and decisions. The U.S. delegation also included Verne Schneider, U.S. Geological Survey; Ross Corotis, U.S. Department of State; and Geoff Prentiss, U.S. Mission to UNESCO. Representatives of the 36 Intergovernmental Council (IGC) Member States, as well as many other UNESCO Member States and non-governmental organizations, participated in the meeting.
The ICIWaRM center was nominated in February 2008 by the Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army (Civil Works), the USG and the U.S. Mission to UNESCO as a global Category II water center within the UNESCO IHP water network. Its nomination was endorsed by the UNESCO IHP Bureau in March 2008 and now by the IHP 36-member nation IGC.