International Sedimen Initiative (ISI)

ISIErosion, transport and sedimentation processes occur across the world and have significant social, economic and environmental impacts. Human activities have altered the sediment balance in catchments and river basins producing social, economic and environmental repercussions. Sediment management has become a major issue, particularly in sustainable water resources management. However, there are significant gaps in baseline sediment data, knowledge about sediment transport and understanding of socio-economic and environmental impacts. Sediment production processes are not sufficiently understood and sediment management practices should be improved.

The International Sediment Initiative (ISI), launched by UNESCO’s IHP in 2004, is a new global initiative to assess erosion and sediment transport to seas, lakes or reservoirs as well as to assess their social, economic and environmental impacts. It is aimed at the creation of a holistic approach for the remediation and conservation of surface waters, closely linking science with policy and management needs. ISI is a vehicle to advance sustainable sediment management at global scale, taking into account the commitments of the international community to sustainable water resources development. ISI deals with sediment quantity and quality and focuses on economic, social and ecological aspects related to sedimentation. The secretariat for the initiative is provided by one of UNESCO’s Category II Water Centers, the International Research and Training Centre on Erosion and Sedimentation (IRTCES) in Beijing, China. 

During the 18th Regional Steering Committee for Southeast Asia and Pacific in Ha Noi, November 2010, ISI was presented by Professor Manfred Spreafico. The 3 main objectives of the ISI were outlined in various topics of ISI which included sediment monitoring, floods and sediments, measures for the reduction of erosion, sedimentation in natural and artificial lakes, sediment in lowland rivers and delta areas. A number of world case studies were listed and there has been a major initiative for capacity building through workshops and training. A number of countries in the region are assisting ISI with China hosting and funding the Secretariat, Switzerland funding ISI and Australia funding a researcher based in Beijing to carry out the case studies. Please click here to download the presentation.

During the 19th Session of RSC-SEAP, held in Kyoto, Japan on 24-28 October 2011, Professor Manfred Spreafico (UNiv. of Berne, Switzerland), the leader of ISI, participated on the first day, to an ISI session of the IHP Symposium EXTREME2011.

During the 20th session of the Intergovernmental Council (IGC) of the International Hydrological Programme (IHP) at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris, 4-7 June 2012, a meeting on II Category centers was held. Delegates from about 20 centers attended the meeting and shared views and ideas on future work and cooperation. The chairman of ISI, Mr. Manfred Spreafico talked about the ISI work and activities for the next steps.