As an intergovernmental body that promotes international scientific cooperation in water research, water resource management, education and capacity-building, UNESCO-IHP's work in the water sector is built on three tracks:
- hydrological science for policy relevant advice
- education and capacity building responding to the growing needs of sustainable development
- water resources assessment and management to achieve environmental sustainability
UNESCO’s water community operates as a global network that works together to implement the organization’s strategic goals.
UNESCO hosts the IHP Secretariat and provides seed funding that is multiplied many times over through cooperation with implementing partners. IHP is the only intergovernmental programme of the UN system devoted to water research, water resources management, education and capacity building. The IHP Secretariat serves UNESCO’s 195 Member States, through the IHP National Committees, other governmental bodies, and academic and research institutions in the implementation of the programme.
UNESCO-IHE Institute for Water Education – an integral part of UNESCO – is the educational arm.
Hosted and led by UNESCO, the United Nations World Water Assessment Programme (WWAP) coordinates the work of 28 UN-Water members and partners in the World Water Development Report (WWDR), an annual review providing an authoritative picture of the state, use and management of the world’s freshwater resources.
UNESCO’s Regional and Cluster Offices assist in the implementation of IHP in the regions.
Water-related Institutes and Centres under the auspices of UNESCO work on relevant thematic and geographic priorities in their areas of expertise. Since Member States have realized the potential of these centres, the network has been rapidly expanding.
UNESCO’s Water-related Chairs are established as teaching or research positions at universities or research institutes around the world.