Annual Report 2022

Annual Report 2022

A message from the Director:

In the past year, UNU-INWEH started a few new projects that strengthened and diversified the Institute’s work under the strategic directions of “Advancing gender equality for effective water management” and “Managing water- and climate-related risks for improved water security”. The Institute initiated a global assessment of the role of women in various components of the water sector- aiming to actually unpack and quantify that role by countries, particularly in the Global South.

UNU-INWEH undertook a global study on large reservoir storage losses due to sedimentation and illustrated that about a quarter of the existing global storage will be lost in the next 25 years, thus identifying an almost invisible global challenge with potentially very significant development implications. There has been also a good progress in examining the current global status of knowledge on antimicrobial resistance as it relates to natural water bodies.

The Institute released a new comprehensive book that summarises the current status of knowledge on alternative, new or underutilised sources of water (i.e. “unconventional water resources”) that countries can develop to alleviate growing water scarcity. The book aims to change the conventional thinking on how much water is available to a nation and how it can be managed. It represents the most comprehensive source of information on alternative sources ofwater supply to date and is the summary of UNU-INWEH continuous work in this area over the past 5 years. The Institute also completed a comprehensive assessment of the bottled water sector, the full report on this will be released in early 2023.

UNU-INWEH published a first-ever country-wise comprehensive quantitative assessment of water security of the 54 African UN member states. The analysis has been very explicit about the unacceptably low levels of national water security throughout the continent and also – about similarly low levels of water data availability – regardless of all the international efforts in this regard particularly since the beginning of the “SDG era” in 2015. UNU-INWEH is now expanding its work to the entire globe aiming to complete this global water security assessment by the time of the high-level UN Water Conference in March 2023 in New York.

It is also important to recall in this context that UNU-INWEH, together UNDESA, co-leads the UNWater Task Force on the implementation of the Water Action Decade (2018-2028). In this capacity, UNU-INWEH contributed significantly through 2022 to the preparation of this high-level Conference, particularly through co-coordinating global consultation on the themes of the five interactive dialogs that will form the key part of this landmark global water Event in 2023.

Despite the pandemic in the previous years, UNU-INWEH remained is a solid financial state due to continuing support of the Canadian Government. The Institute also received two new grants in 2022 – through UNEP and UNECE – that further strengthened its financial stability. UNU-INWEH remained highly visible in the international media: in 2022, there have been some 780 online news articles making reference to UNU-INWEH’s work, captured in 18 languages across 68 countries, reaching out to an estimated 2.9 billion readers.

Since late 2021, a few new staff members joined UNU-INWEH, including Dr Zeineb Bouhlel (communication and research associate), Dr Charlotte MacAlister (senior researcher: Water security), and Dr Mir Matin (Senior Researcher: water resources). Their complementary skills and experiences strengthen the overall program, and we welcome our new colleagues to the Team.

The 2022 was my last year with UNU-INWEH: I retire from the international public service in January 2023. It was a privilege and a pleasure working for UNU for over 6 years. I have no doubts that UNUINWEH will continue playing its critical role in transforming the global water sector by challenging its status quo, identifying and informing the UN and its member states of the emerging global water risks and trends, and supporting developing countries in their progress towards water-related SDGs.

Vladimir Smakhtin,
Director: UNU-INWEH

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