A message from the Director:
The year was exciting, vibrant and productive. UNU-INWEH has completed its transition to a revised and sharpened workplan that i) makes water the explicit and strong entry point to ‘environment’ and ‘health’ work components and ii) focuses on continental water issues only – where the frequently-cited global water crisis is. Five new work avenues – projects – of the Institute have been formulated, including i) water-related sustainable development goals ii) alleviating global water scarcity through unconventional water resources and technologies iii) water security and nexus iv) managing water-related health risks and v) managing water resources variability and risks for increased resilience. All newly formulated in 2017 core-funded UNU-INWEH projects explicitly identified Sustainable Development Goals and the key areas of Canadian New Foreign Feminist Policy, to which they contribute. Climate change, ecosystem services, gender dimension and capacity development are set to be cross-cutting areas. Most of the new projects have strong roots in the previous work of the Institute. This transition was influenced by recommendations from the institutional performance review of the 2011-2015 period, which was completed in March 2017. This resulted in a number of changes, among them, increasing the weight of the specialist staff in the Institute, and changing the composition of the International Advisory Committee. UNU-INWEH significantly increased its contribution to UN processes, including engagement with 5 UN-Water Task Forces and 2 Expert Groups, major involvement in the UN World Water Development Report (WWDR) series and SDG6 Synthesis Report, and support of the work of the High-Level Panel on Water (HLPW). The Institute started 2 new corporate publications series – Policy Briefs and Analytical Reports, published over 35 products (most of them peerreviewed), including 5 books, and tripled the number of in-house trainees. Some of the Institute projects, e.g. “Water-Related Sustainable Development Goals”, matured in 2017 to start visibly influencing the progress of several national governments towards SDG6 targets. UNU-INWEH staff participated in over 40 international fora. This included special sessions at the World Water Congress in Mexico, and Stockholm World Water Week, partnering with other UNU sister centers in some of these activities. Our aim is progressing steadily – to become a thought leader and a most trusted source of expertise and analysis on global water issues, known for identifying policy gaps that are not yet addressed, challenging the status-quo, while remaining rigorous and objective in our work.
Dr Vladimir Smakhtin, Director
United Nations University
Institute for Water, Environment and Health