Water is vital to human being and nature, but the decline in his quality and biodiversity, observed at the global scale in developed and developing countries, has provided evidence that conventional approaches to water resource management, based on application of engineering techniques, sectoral interventions and the elimination of direct threats such as point source of pollution, are important but not sufficient. Purely technical control, without understanding and considering biotic dynamics, is a more trial and error approach to water management than the implementation of techniques that better respond to policies aimed at sustainable water use and social development. The degradation of water quality, overexploitation of freshwater resources, hydrological hazards and adverse effects of inappropriate management of water resources and ecosystems pose a risk to human health, economic and social development as well as to ecosystem functioning and the maintenance of ecosystem services on which human well-being depends.
UNESCO’s International Hydrological Programme (IHP) (Click here for more information) launched the UNESCO Ecohydrology Programme in 1996, focusing on an integrated understanding of biological and hydrological processes at a catchment scale in order to create a scientific basis for a socially acceptable, cost-effective and systemic approach to the sustainable management of freshwater resources.
By using demonstration projects, Ecohydrology programme plays an important role, not only for testing and dissemination of the concept of Ecohydrology, but also for advancement of its worldwide implementation, and substantial contribution to sustainable use and management of water resources in different societies.
In Asia and the Pacific, the network of UNESCO IHP Ecohydrology Demonstration Projects provides opportunities to comparative analysis of relationships and patterns of water/biota interplay at different geographic zones, which leads to the wisdom how to apply “dual regulation” to enhance resilience to human impact and increase carrying capacity of ecological systems (for enhancement of water resources, biodiversity and ecosystem services).
A joint strategic meeting IHP-HELP and Ecohydrology Programme in Asia-Pacific was held from 2-3 December 2013 in Jakarta, Indonesia with the participation of renowned experts from 7 (seven) countries of the region. In the framework of IHP-VIII Strategic Plan (2014-2021), they discussed on the need to adopt an Asia-Pacific regional design of the UNESCO’s Ecohydrology Programme. The idea of launching the AP-Ecohydrology is now under way.