International Hydrological Programme (IHP)

Water is crucial for sustainable development, including the preservation of our natural environment and the alleviation of poverty and hunger. Water is indispensable for human health and well-being.

UNESCO’s International Hydrological Programme is an international scientific cooperative programme in water research, water resources management, education and capacity-building, and the only broadly-based science programme of the UN system in this area.

IHP has been committed to developing the science of hydrology at the service of society. Its primary aim is to draw together scientists worldwide in order to establish the scientific and technological bases for the rational management of water resources with respect to water quantity and quality.

Over the years, hydrological knowledge and management have become increasingly mature and complex: today, research includes not only technical considerations, but environmental, economic, and sociological ones as well.

Aspects of the natural system are being stressed by increasing freshwater scarcity, pollution, water-related disasters, population growth, agricultural demand, energy requirements, urbanization, economic growth and industry. Other mitigating factors include globalization, the resultant technological and lifestyle changes, recreation and tourism, as well as climate change and geopolitical changes. These factors are both aggravating and aggravated by socio-economic inequalities through misuse of water resources and poor water management practices; this could potentially create conflicts between competing water users.

Primary Objectives of IHP
  • To act as a vehicle through which Member States, cooperating professional and scientific organizations and individual experts can upgrade their knowledge of water cycle, thereby increasing their capacity to better manage and develop their water resources.
  • To develop techniques, methodologies and approaches to better define hydrological phenomena.
  • To improve water management, locally and globally.
  • To act as a catalyst to stimulate cooperation and dialogue in water science and management.
  • To assess the sustainable development of vulnerable water resources.
  • To serve as a platform for increasing awareness of global water issues.
  • The Ghana National Committee for the International Hydrological Programme (IHP) was established on 7th June, 1976 upon approval by the National Redemption Council.

    The National IHP Committee is expected, among others, to:

    i. Ensure that Ghana fully participates in the activities of the International Hydrological Programme of UNESCO.
    ii. Provide liaison between Ghana Water Agencies and related organizations taking part in the International hydrological and water resources programme.
    iii. Promote at the national and international levels activities design to foster the development of research, education and training in the hydrological and water sciences and their application to solving problems of water resources.
    iv. Formulate proposals at the national level regarding participating in the IHP and to advise government on planning, management and sustainable water resources projects carried out as part of this programme and of related international programme.
    v. Coordinate its activities with the national MAB and IOC committees.
    vi. Disseminate information on water resources to the general public.

    The Committee is currently being hosted by the Water Research Institute (WRI) of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR). The Committee draws its members from various stakeholder institutions.

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