11.12.2012 -

UNESCO Liaison Office in Brussels hosted the first meeting of the Belgian International Hydrological Programme Committee

© UNESCO

On 6 December, the UNESCO Liaison Office in Brussels hosted the first meeting of the Belgian International Hydrological Programme Committee. Ms Roudil, Director of the UNESCO Liaison Office, opened the meeting, which took place in presence of Professor dr. Vervenne, President of the Flemish Commission for UNESCO and Honorary Rector of the KU Leuven and Mr Busquin, President of the Belgian French and German Speaking Commission for UNESCO and Belgian Minister of State.

Since water is an essential component that sustains life and ecosystem functioning in terrestrial ecosystems, a well-considered sustainable management of freshwater resources becomes more and more crucial. UNESCO created the International Hydrological Programme (IHP) with national IHP-Committees in order to streamline the national actions of water experts in an international framework.

The academic competence in the area of water resources research and education in Belgium is currently very high, but largely dispersed and weakly structured. This does not allow an efficient nation-wide water resource management policy. Indeed, the regionalisation of the Belgian environmental and educational policy does not facilitate knowledge exchange between different regions and communities, or the development of a nationwide vision on water resource management.

Consequently, the Flemish Commission for UNESCO and the Belgian French and German Speaking Commission for UNESCO joined forces to re-activate the Belgian International Hydrological Programme Committee (BE-IHP) after several years of inactivity. No less than 25 water experts from all over the country attended the opening session at the UNESCO Liaison Office in Brussels.

Professor Marnik Vanclooster has been elected as President of this Commission. Professor Willy Bauwens will be his Vice-President. In their introductory speech, both Professors expressed their intention to make this Committee a very active, but also very inclusive Committee, with the participation of an as broad as possible range of stakeholders.




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