The International Centre for Water Resources and Global Change (ICWRGC)


The International Centre for Water Resources and Global Change, founded by the German Federal Government under the auspices of UNESCO in Koblenz, has commenced work in July 2014. Specialised UNESCO Water Centres pool competencies in single countries or regions, acting as international reference platforms for the exchange of knowledge and methods. The Centre is located at the Federal Institute of Hydrology (BfG).

The ICWRGC supports the implementation of the “International Hydrological Programme” (IHP) of UNESCO and the “Hydrology and Water Resources Programme” (HWRP) of WMO. When establishing the ICWRGC, the management of the IHP/HWRP Secretariat has been incorporated into the ICWRGC. The Centre pursues the Secretariat’s tasks within the scope of these programmes.

The ICWRGC works in close cooperation with partners from the scientific community, operational hydrological services, data centres and water-related UN-organisations. It supplies these partners with customised products for information, as a basis for scientific investigations, to improve operational skills, for policy advice and capacity development in the water sector.

Major objectives of the Centre

Major objectives of the ICWRGC include:

  • estimating the impacts of global change and designing adaptive strategies,
  • providing a global hydrological data information system,
  • monitoring and analysing of water quality and world water balance,
  • supporting the international development agenda (SDGs, Agenda 2030) by providing indicators and information on water-relevant objectives,
  • promoting international cooperation by organising and implementing interinstitutional and multinational R&D activities,
  • supporting national operational hydrological services in the field of water issues,
  • managing the IHP/HWRP Secretariat and providing expert advice in performing its tasks for UNESCO and WMO,
  • involvement in international water-networks,
  • capacity development.
The illustration shows the six key issues of phase VIII of IHP: Water Security – Responses to Local, Regional and Global Challenges (2014–2021).

The illustration shows the six key issues of phase VIII of IHP: Water Security – Responses to Local, Regional and Global Challenges (2014–2021).

The technical focus of ICWRGC follows the topics of the current IHP Phase VIII entitled: Water Security – Responses to Local, Regional and Global Challenges (2014-2021). The following illustration shows the six key issues of phase VIII of IHP.

National Committee

The German National Committee (NC) for the International Hydrological Programme (IHP) of UNESCO and the Hydrology and Water Resources Programme (HWRP) of WMO was founded in 1974. Representatives from Ministries, federal and Länder specialist administrations as well as experts from the fields of research and education are members of the National Committee. The National Committee that convenes once a year in Berlin, is chaired by the Federal Foreign Office. The working programme of the IHP/HWRP Secretariat responsible for implementing the NC’s resolutions is assisted by a Scientific Advisory Board. This Secretariat is incorporated into the ICWRGC. The Secretariat’s work is funded by the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure, the Federal Ministry for Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety, and the Federal Foreign Office.

Governing Board

Governing Board

Governance of the Centre and the IHP/HWRP Secretariat

The Centre is guided and supervised by a Governing Board, composed of a representative of the Government as the President of the Board; representatives of the German National Committee for the IHP; representatives of the funding organisations; a representative of the Director-General of UNESCO; five representatives of UNESCO Water Centres.