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18.11.2011 - Natural Sciences Sector

Building Knowledge Bridges for a Sustainable Water Future

Water is vital for the survival, health and dignity of mankind. To ensure a sustainable water future we need to improve our knowledge. Sharing research results and lessons learnt from experience, new tools and innovative practices, ways of implementing more effective mechanisms of action for change and policy integration –these provide us the right path to follow. Scientific knowledge must be pertinent to issues on the ground and be shared effectively and rapidly, so that everyone may make a difference in reducing the impact of major water problems.

Commonly scientists and the water stakeholder group operate as two separate communities. By working together, both scientific expertise and local knowledge can be harnessed to help solve complex problems. UNESCO-IHP’s Hydology for the Environment, Life and Policy programme (HELP) is creating a new approach to integrated catchment management through the creation of a framework and a platform for water law and policy experts, water resource managers and water scientists to work together on water-related issues.

The HELP initiative has established a global network of catchments to improve the links between hydrology and the needs of society. To date this initiative has connected 91 river basins in 67 countries; it has linked more than 600 organizations and involved many thousands of individuals who influence a broad group of scientists, policy makers, stakeholders and community representatives around the world.

The learning and sharing of good practice experience amongst HELP basins have greatly benefited the global community to improve the sustainable management of water resources, through continuous dialogue and involvement of stakeholders from the community to government level.

A global meeting is organized every 4 years to exchange good practices as well as in-depth theoretical analyses to help stimulate ideas and actions for better stewardship of this most essential resource. The HELP International Symposium 2011 is taking place in Panama on 21-24 November under the theme ‘Building Knowledge Bridges for a Sustainable Water Future’. Over 200 experts and stakeholders will discuss the practical ways found  in different parts of the world to approach water related challenges and improve governance.

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