6th Governing Board Meeting of the ICWRGC
Date: 07 March 2019
Venue: Federal Institute of Hydrology, Koblenz
Upon the acknowledgement of the ICWRGC as a UNESCO Category 2 Water Centre in 2014, a Governing Board with international members was established, which convenes annually to take note of and actively shape both activities and focus of the ICWRGC. In addition to representatives from federal ministries, the Chairwoman of the Scientific Advisory Board, the German UNESCO Commission, the Director of the BfG, heads of other international UNESCO Water Centres from Iran, Japan, Poland, Sweden and USA as well as of the IHP-Secretariat in Paris come together.
Against the background of the preparations for Phase IX (2022-2029) of the International Hydrological Progamme (IHP) of UNESCO, this year’s sixth session proved particularly interesting. Mr. Abou Amani, Head of section „Hydrological Systems and Water Scarcity“ (HSS) of the IHP-Secretariat of UNESCO, Paris, therefore gave a keynote address on the IHP Phase IX “UNESCO looking ahead within the context of global water-related agendas”. Mr. Amani underlined the vital role of Water Centres within UNESCO and presented a historical review of the various phases of IHP and an outlook of the process leading to the development of Phase IX.
As regards the ICWRGC, Mr. Köthe, Dr. Fader, Mr. Saile and Dr. Dietrich presented various developments and highlights of the ICWRGC in the field of international water programmes. The governing board appreciated these achievements and claimed that the ICWRGC was the only one of currently 36 UNESCO Water Centres worldwide that does not only hold mandates of various UN organisations (UNESCO, WMO, UNEP), but also hosts an operational data centre (running global data centres in cooperation with BfG and DWD). Along with the coordination of the Global Terrestrial Network – Hydrology (GTN-H), this data centre is to be extended by the parameters soil moisture and sediment on a medium to long-term basis. The highly productive and appreciative exchange resulted i.a. in a unanimous understanding of the fact that efforts must be increased to join all forces in the field of water supply at the UN level, to tackle complex future questions regarding services of general interest for human beings and the environment. Likewise about the fact that research and development need to have a stronger focus on applied questions with a proven record of practical success. The tour of the new fish ladder at the Koblenz barrage on the Moselle river and the Mosellum visitor centre has also been placed in this context. Moreover, it was underscored that the technical work implemented within the scope of the international community’s politics needs to focus further efforts on highlighting the role of freshwater.