Mr. Matsuura, it is my great pleasure to represent both the Institute for Water Resources, ICIWaRM’s host organization, and the U.S. National Committee for UNESCO IHP at this Ceremony. Please let me also congratulate you on the completion of your remarkable 10-year tour as Director-General of UNESCO.
Almost immediately upon the re-entry of the U.S. into UNESCO in 2003, the dormant U.S. National IHP Committee was re-constituted and began its work to revitalize itself and focus on helping to support the IHP-VII program in partnership with the IHP Secretariat led by Assistant Director-General Andras Szollosi-Nagy.
Even during the U.S.’ 20-year hiatus from UNESCO, we were active on a collegial basis, working informally on several technical fronts with scientists engaged in the previous IHP-program phase and participating in a number of high profile activities, including the initiation of the HELP (Hydrology for the Environment, Life and Policy) program.
Throughout, we’ve worked closely with your excellent staff through Ambassador Louise Oliver, and most recently with Ambassador David Killion of the U.S. Mission to UNESCO, to bring the maximum U.S. support possible to your initiatives in order to fast-track the development, transfer and capacity-building of the practical aspects of water management. In this sense, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is the ideal vehicle for hosting the centre, with the Corps Civil Works mission fundamentally based on the delivery of proven, practical engineering solutions, but ones which also reflect the infusion of contemporary engineering and science into the practice.
The U.S. National IHP Committee and the U.S. National Commission for UNESCO have actively supported ICIWaRM’s candidacy as the United States’ first UNESCO Category 2 Centre and they are committed to fully support ICIWaRM as a UNESCO affiliated centre. I’m confident that this new UNESCO centre will prove to be an invaluable asset to both the U.S. Government and UNESCO IHP in advancing the science and practice of integrated water resources management and improving water security around the globe, initially with a particular focus on assisting developing and emerging nations in Latin America and Africa.
We look forward with great anticipation to strengthening our collaborations with the existing family of UNESCO centres, including several we already have solid relationships with such as CAZALAC, ICHARM and IHE-Delft. The U.S. goals for improved water management throughout the developing world and the Corps campaign goals for a sustainable water future align perfectly with IHP-Phase VII and with the Millennium Development Goals, and, on behalf of the U.S. National IHP Committee and ICIWaRM, we pledge to support UNESCO in advancing those worthy goals.