Annual Report: A Message from Our Director
UNU-INWEH underwent remarkable transitions in 2014, including changes to its programme, projects, team composition, and engagement with partners.
A significant dialogue on programmatic consolidation was undertaken in 2013, with inputs from the UNU Council, the UNU-INWEH International Advisory Committee (IAC), and the team members at UNU-INWEH. All projects from four thematic programmes were condensed into two new programmes: Water and Ecosystems, and Water and Human Development. Starting with January 2014, these programmes were active, with corresponding modifications to the Institute’s website and management systems.
UNU-INWEH continued engagement in the deliberations around the post-2015 development agenda. In particular, it partnered with the UN Office on Sustainable Development (UNOSD), the Global Water Partnership (GWP), and McMaster University. Building on our previous work on water-related Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), we undertook a country-level analysis of 11 countries. The aim is to facilitate the ongoing negotiations by providing evidence-based information to the UN member states.
We also continued active engagement in the global consortium that is evaluating the Economics of Land Degradation (ELD) and the rewards of investing in sustainable land management. Funded through the European Union (EU), the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), and the Korea Forest Service (with UNU-INWEH as the scientific lead in the process) we analyzed the economics worldwide associated with sustainable land management — which is a major weapon in beating land degradation and desertification. A particular development was the engagement of the private sector in the ELD initiative, including a number of case studies demonstrating the role of the private sector in combating land degradation.
UNU-INWEH continues to lead the work on drinking water and sanitation by serving as the coordinator of a task force of UN-Water (a coordination mechanism of 31 UN organizations). UNU-INWEH has now been asked to lead the organization of World Toilet Day on behalf of the UN system. This effort also relates to the final push by the UN system to meet the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), particularly those with the focus on sanitation, which are led by Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson. Working together with UN-Habitat, we have been engaged in an advocacy campaign to meet sanitation-related MDGs, including the eventual eradication of open defecation.
UNU-INWEH also underwent a renewal in 2014 through significant transitions in team composition. As UNU-INWEH bade farewell to a number of staff members, it also welcomed new team members, including two new Assistant Directors who will lead the implementation of UNU-INWEH’s newly created programmes.
UNU-INWEH also completed a new, five-year Strategic Plan (2015-2019) in August 2014, which focused on a renewal and creation of partnerships. A major dialogue was initiated with the leadership at McMaster University to further strengthen the ongoing collaboration. Water Without Borders, a joint venture focusing on graduate students, underwent significant improvements. Additionally, UNU-INWEH triggered discussions with a number of private-sector partners on building research and capacity development collaborations. These changes, initiated in late 2014, will lay the ground for growth and progress for UNU-INWEH in the years to come.
Dr. Zafar Adeel, Director,
United Nations University
Institute for Water, Environment and Health
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