20.03.2018 - UNESCO Office in Harare

Zimbabwe to launch International Hydrological Programme National Committee on World Water Day

Zimbabwe will officially launch its International Hydrological Programme (IHP) National Committee on 22nd March 2018 at the Ministry of Environment, Water and Climate in Harare. The launch will coincide with this year’s World Water Day celebrations being held under the theme ‘Nature for Water’.

The Minister of Environment, Water and Climate, Honourable Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri will officially launch the Committee in the presence of high level officials including the UNESCO Regional Office for Southern Africa (ROSA) Director and Representative, Professor Hubert Gijzen.

The International Hydrological Programme (IHP) is the only intergovernmental programme of the UN system devoted to water research, water resources management, and education and capacity building. Since its inception in 1975, IHP has evolved from an internationally coordinated hydrological research programme into an encompassing, holistic programme to facilitate education and capacity building, and enhance water resources management and governance. National IHP Committees are fundamental to ensuring the comprehensive participation of Member States in the international programme. These Committees are constituted and run under the authority of national governments and play a critical role in the implementation of the IHP.

The Zimbabwe National IHP Committee is made up of various stakeholders including both scientists and water managers, as well as relevant government bodies, professional associations, academia and civil society organisations.  Its roles include advising the government on policy issues related to water in light of current global trends as well as mobilising resources and participation by stakeholders in IHP activities.

Zimbabwe is one of the few countries with established National IHP Committees in southern Africa. However, the Committee has not been very active due to various reasons such as inadequate funding and low visibility. The official launch is thus set to raise awareness on the importance of the International Hydrological Programme and mobilise support for the National Committee.

The launch will also form part of Zimbabwe’s 2018 World Water Day (WWD) celebrations.  WWD is held annually on 22 March as a means of focusing attention on the importance of freshwater and advocating for the sustainable management of freshwater resources. This Day is an opportunity to learn more about water related issues, be inspired to tell others and take action to make a difference.

Water is an essential building block of life. It is more than just essential to quench thirst or protect health; water is vital for creating jobs and supporting economic, social, and human development. According to the latest World Water Development Report, 3.6 billion people around the world, which is about half of the world’s population, live in potentially water-scarce areas during at least one month a year. This figure could rise to more than 5 billion in 2050. Current global usage of freshwater is already close to the maximum threshold of sustainability and this fragile balance in fact masks the major local and regional disparities. The World Water Day 2018 theme ‘Nature for Water’ aims to show the potential of nature-based solutions for water and how they can be considered for water management policy and practice.

For more information, please contact: p.oti-boateng(at)unesco.org or m.munamati(at)unesco.org.

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