Next step in cooperation between water institute UNESCO-IHE and Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and Environment

Vice-rector Uhlenbrook of the UNESCO-IHE Institute for Water Education and Minister Schultz van Haegen of Infrastructure and Environment signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) today marking a new step in the joint effort of developing research, education and innovation in the field of water security and quality. The cooperation, which started in 2003, will be continued for another four years.

Minister Schultz is pleased with the new cooperation. 'This year the World Economic Forum stated that water is the world's biggest threat. I believe it is crucial that young people are fascinated by water and want to find solutions for water issues in their country. It is essential that these young people get the opportunity to exchange experiences and take in new knowledge.'

Professor Uhlenbrook: 'The UNESCO-IHE Institute for water Education has a unique role as the largest provider of graduate level education and research specifically for the water sector, with a focus on developing countries and countries in transition. It plays a particularly important role in building bridges for the water sector between Europe (and the Netherlands in particular) and the rest of the world. I am delighted that we are able to work on this together with the Ministry of Infrastructure and Environment.'

The cooperation, which is of programmatic nature and focuses on integral water management, aims at supporting the Dutch international water agenda. With research, education and innovation the cooperation provides a contribution for four years in many areas: from delta technology to maritime technology, but also to putting knowledge and know how on the market. The activities UNESCO-IHE undertakes in the area of training, capacity building, research and knowledge sharing are the fundament.

The MoU mainly aims at developing Climate Adaptation Strategies of Deltas within the River Basin (Water Mondiaal programme); supporting the Innovation Programme of the Ministry regarding Delta technology, Water Technology and Maritime (Ports development) and contributing to the Sustainable Economic Cooperation agenda of the Dutch Government (part of the Top Sector Water).

The fact that UNESCO-IHE works on these themes with a network of western and non-western partners, on an international scale, makes the institute a suitable partner for the Ministry of Infrastructure and Environment.

UNESCO-IHE is the largest international graduate water education facility in the world and is based in Delft, the Netherlands. The Institute confers fully accredited MSc degrees, and PhD degrees in collaboration with partners in the Netherlands. Since 1957 the Institute has provided graduate education to more than 15,000 water professionals from over 162 countries, the vast majority from the developing world. Numerous research and capacity development projects are carried out throughout the world. The Institute offers a unique combination of applied, scientific and participatory research in water engineering combined with natural sciences and management sciences. Since its establishment the Institute has played an instrumental role in developing the capacities of water sector organizations in the South, not least by strengthening the efforts of other universities and research centres to increase the knowledge and skills of professionals working in the water sector. UNESCO-IHE carries out educational, research and capacity development activities that complement and reinforce each other in the broad fields of water engineering, water management, environment, sanitation, and governance.