Water Sciences Programmes
UNESCO’s action in the field of water resources began in 1965, when it launched the International Hydrological Decade, the first worldwide program focusing on hydrological studies. In 1975, this pioneer initiative evolved into the current International Hydrological Programme (IHP), UNESCO’s intergovernmental scientific co-operative program in the field of hydrology and water resources management. This multidisciplinary program supports many projects and research activities and promotes sharing of relevant information and experience at national and regional level, through co-operative networks of centres and specialists, publications, conferences, workshops, training courses, technical projects and other initiatives. IHP has been implemented in a series of consecutive six year phases, with each addressing urgent priorities and undertaking new challenges with the ultimate goal of advancing knowledge and improving management of surface water and groundwater resources. The last phase, sixth IHP phase (2002 – 2007), Water Interactions: Systems at Risk and Social Challenges, provides a framework of action for carrying out a wide range of activities inspired by the principles and practices of integrated water resources management.
As a regional office, UNESCO Office Jakarta is responsible for implementation of IHP at the Southeast Asia and the Pacific Region in close cooperation with IHP National Committees which were nominated and established by UNESCO Member States.Within the framework of the IHP, we supports scientific research, encouraging further investigation of the effects induced by human activities and climate changes on different water environments, thus strengthening the knowledge basis required to assess water resources and prevent water-related disasters (e.g. water shortage, water quality degradation, etc.).
To assess impact of global change on water cycle, especially with respect to governance issues, through Hydrology for the Environment, Life, and Policy (HELP) and Asia Pacific Flow Regimes from International Experimental and Network Data (AP-FRIEND), we have been collecting, compiling and providing global data on groundwater resources to the international scientific and management community. In line with that, to reinforce the IHP Network through IHP National Committees in Asia and the Pacific as they advise government on policy and management issues, we have been organizing the Regional Steering Committee Meetings annually. Moreover, to address water security and water-related challenges by regional and global action, five UNESCO’s Category II Water-related Centres were established at the region.
In last two years, high priority was given to managing water as a scarce resource for human needs, particularly in developing countries. UNESCO Office, Jakarta has been implementing ‘Artificial Aquifer Recharge in Hong Phong District, Binh Thuan Province, Vietnam’. This project, which is part of the Managing Aquifer Recharge initiative, comprises a demonstration pilot project on the effectiveness of artificial groundwater recharge, research and investigation activities as well as capacity building. The project was successfully accomplished and ended the second phase with official delivery of the 220 m3/day Water Supply System to the Village of Hong Phong from Bau Noi well field on 11 November 2006.
Building on the success of Artificial Aquifer Recharge Project in Binh Thuan Province, the Ministry of Science and Technology (through Vietnamese Academy of Science and Technology (VAST)) requested a hydrogeological investigation into the coastal areas of Ninh Thuan Province, 350 km northeast of Ho Chi Minh, where increasing groundwater salinity occurs in the coastal areas of the province.
In response to the request, the project “Impacts of sea level rise by climate change on coastal zone and Islands in Central Part of Viet Nam” was then launched in the UNESCO-ITALY-VIET NAM WORKSHOP “Adapting to climate Change: Evaluating impacts of sea level rise by climate change on coastal zones and islands: Solution for monitoring saltwater intrusion and sea level rise” which was held from 29 to 30 June 2009 in Ha Noi. For project implementation from 2009 to 2011, the Vietnam Government has allocated 2 million VND (approx. USD 120,000). In addition, the project also was also supported by Italian FIT as part of the “Water Programme for Environmental Sustainability, WAP II”
Dealing with water-related risks and its social challenges, we have been supported a Community-based Flood Preparedness Project at Kelurahan Bidara Cina in East Jakarta’s administrative area, which facilitate the development and implementation of community-initiatives for flood management, for example by means of trainings, workshops, meetings, or simulations. We successfully produced Local Area Flooding Map and the publication and dissemination of “Practical Guide to Community Participation in Flood Management on flood mitigation”.
2008 will be the first year of the 7th phase of the International Hydrological Programme (2008-2013) with the overall title “Water Dependencies: Systems under stress and societal responses. In line with the IHP VII structure, UNESCO Office Jakarta, will implement the following activities:
- Groundwater Investigation and Assessment in Support to IHP Programmes
- Ecohydrology Approach for Integrated Water Resources Management
- Contribution to Water Education for Sustainable Development
- Interoperability, Maintenance and Enhancement of Regional Networks to Respond to Global Changes
- Flood Hazard Assessment