A message from the Director:
In 2019, UNU-INWEH continued on its path from strength to strength. As of the end of 2019, the Institute provided normative support to over 20 countries in the Global South to accelerate the progress towards SDG6 (water and sanitation) by working directly with national governments and research partners. UNU-INWEH’s on-line SDG6 Policy Support System (PSS) – the Institute’s flagship tool – is now available in three UN languages, with associated training courses. Continuing integration of the PSS into national policy processes in these countries can, in time, benefit over 300 million people. And over the next 3 years, we plan to roll PSS out in over 30 more countries, primarily of the Global South.
UNU-INWEH partnered with the University of Kinshasa of the Democratic Republic of Congo in the new IDRC-funded project on gender-sensitive analysis of climate and water driven conflicts and migration in the Congo River Basin. Launched in May 2019 in Kinshasa, this unique 3-year initiative is expected to generate regional and global insights on how to alleviate such conflicts and their gender-related consequences.
UNU-INWEH continued to coordinate, together with UNDESA, the UN-Water Task Force for implementation of the UN Water Action Decade, starting preparations for the UN Conference on the Midterm Comprehensive Review of the Decade in 2023. The Institute provided major and direct expert input to the methodology that estimates environmental flow requirements in the context of the monitoring indicator SDG 6.4.2 (water stress). The guidelines that emerged from this work and launched in early 2019 by the lead agency- FAO – target all 193 UN Member States.
UNU-INWEH generated around 1600 media stories in 2019 – i.e. approximately one third of the entire UNU – in 85 countries, in 23 languages with a potential reach of 1.4 billion people. The international media attention to our assessment of the current state of global desalinated water and brine production alone was unprecedented. Overall over the year, UNU-INWEH published over 40 journal articles, books and reports. Our capacity development programme hosted close to 30 in-house trainees, and our staff participated in many international and regional water-related science and policy events.
The characteristic feature of the past year was increasing collaboration with other UNU sister centers – UNU-FLORES and UNU-EHS (Germany), UNU-INRA (Ghana), UNU-IIGH (Malaysia), UNU-IAS (Japan), UNU-CRIS (Belgium). The modalities of this collaboration range from joint participation in international events to collaborative fundraising. The “UNU water network”, uniting some 20 experts throughout several UNU Institutes, has been formally launched in late 2019, and we are looking forward to strengthening this new initiative in the years to come, to help address the global water crises with UNU water expertise – combined.
I am taking the opportunity to extend our appreciation to our donors, partners and friends, as well as to UNU-INWEH staff and trainees for their commitment.
Dr Vladimir Smakhtin, Director
United Nations University
Institute for Water, Environment and Health