Working topics

To bring focus to the Dutch input in the IHP and HWRP programs and the events organized by the Committee, a number of themes have been selected and are listed below. Members can propose additional themes, as long as they are in line with the IHP and/or HWRP strategies and with the priorities of the Dutch partners.

Data collection and sharing

This theme links to IHP Theme 1, Focal area 1.3 – Benefiting from global and local Earth observation systems and Focal Area 1.5 – Improve scientific basis for hydrology and water sciences for preparation and response to extreme hydrological events.

The theme also links to the following HWRP focus areas, and relates to the high priority HWRP gives to issues related to data management:

  • Measurement of basic hydrological elements from networks of hydrological, climatologically and meteorological stations;
  • Collection, processing, storage, retrieval and publication of hydrological data, including data on the quantity and quality of both surface water and groundwater;
  • Provision of hydrologic data and related information for use in planning and operation of water resources projects and for monitoring the state of the freshwater resources.

Delta management & Building with Nature

These themes are not specifically mentioned in IHP and HWRP, but are closely linked to IHP Theme 4 : Water and human settlements in the future.

Water cooperation and diplomacy, water policy and governance

The link to IHP is on Theme 3 and Theme 6; Focal Area 3.1 – Improving governance, planning, management, allocation, and efficient use of water resources, Focal Area 3.3 – Promoting tools for stakeholder’s involvement and awareness and conflict resolution and Focal Area 6.5 – Education for trans boundary water cooperation and governance.

Sustainable groundwater management

This links to IHP Theme 2: Groundwater in a changing environment.

Disaster Risk Reduction & Hydro hazards

The theme relates to IHP Theme 1: Water-related Disasters and Hydrological Change.

Cross-cutting themes

Climate change adaptation

This is a focal theme for both IHP and HWRP, and encompasses a broad range of activities and programs existing within the Dutch water sector. It has been selected as overarching theme under which various topics can be addressed.

Water SDGs

Since 2010, UN member states and a wide variety of stakeholders have shaped a new international development agenda to follow up on the Millennium Development Goals that ended in 2015. On 25-27 September 2015, this agenda has been adopted at the “UN summit for the adoption of the post-2015 development agenda” in New York, convened as a high-level plenary meeting of the UN General Assembly. The Agenda comprises 17 Sustainable Development Goals with 169 associated targets. Freshwater and sanitation issues are addressed by a dedicated goal (SDG 6), with six technical targets (6.1 to 6.6) and two targets related to the Means of Implementation of the goal (6.6a and 6.6b). It is for the first time that also the Netherlands will have to regulate and report on the program.

The Netherlands have agreed to be a Proof of Concept country for GEMI. In that light, a Work in Progress Workshop has been held at UNESCO-IHE with the help of the Netherlands IHP-HWRP Committee. The topics discussed have been of interest to members of the committee and we will therefore follow-up on the developments in the Netherlands and internationally with the SDG process.

To be able to contribute to the implementation of the water SDGs and combine this with the Dutch focus for SDG17 by forming partnerships and involving all of society, we will engage youth in different topics of the water SDGs.

water awareness and involvement of youth

The OECD has ascertained in their report Fit for the Future that the Dutch water sector is known for its expertise in water management and the many scientific and professional organizations that are active on this terrain. At the same time, they conclude that the connection between science and practice is inadequate. They thus recommend to close these gaps in knowledge, human capital, technology and other competencies in order to establish and implement sustainable, efficient and effective water policies. Especially given the expected shortage of 20000 water professionals in the coming ten years. Since the IHP-HWRP Committee has as its first and foremost goal to be a platform for Dutch scientists, policy-makers and practitioners, it should contribute to the above recommendations. By doing so, it will also contribute to IHP Theme 6 and HWRP training activities.

Therefore, young water professionals and students will be invited to engage with Committee activities to bring in new ideas and help build their network and capacities, e.g. by helping them to enter international research programs and to bring them in contact with other (young) water scientists/experts. Committee members are encouraged to involve young people in their work for the committee, for instance as organizer of a thematic event and/or as researcher in the thematic working groups, or in new research initiatives related to the IHP and HWRP programs.

The Committee will also start engaging the newest generations with water issues. We will encourage UNESCO schools (also known as ASPnet schools), both in the Netherlands and abroad, to include water topics like Sandwatch and the Battle of the Beach into their curriculum. The network of Dutch UNESCO schools, 41 in total, range from primary school all the way to college schools.