Friday, December 10, 2004



This article by William J. Shampine of the U.S. Geological Survey was published in Issue No. 102 (Winter, 1996) of Water Resources Update published by the Universities Council on Water Resources. This was a special issue, titled: "Water: The Emerging Crisis?". It is somewhat outdated, but relevant to the interest in UNESCO's scientific work, and especially to UNESCO's International Hydrological Program. I decided to post the link.

"Since the efficient development of water resources is a world-wide problem, international cooperation should be on a world-wide scale. People concerned with specific problems in one part of the world should be able to benefit by the knowledge gained in any other part of the world. In order to encourage and promote the necessary international cooperation in the field of hydrology, the International Hydrological Decade (IHD) was organized by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). It was initiated on January 1, 1965 and extended through 1974. The IHD was very successful and UNESCO decided to continue providing support for the global cooperative spirit that was generated by continuing the effort as the International Hydrological Program (IHP). The IHP has operated continuously since 1974 in a series of six-year phases. Each phase has been planned around a central topic in order to narrow the focus of the program into a manageable work effort. The central topic then was further subdivided into a series of even more specific themes and projects......

"Individual countries throughout the world have formed groups known as National Committees in order to help coordinate and focus hydrologic work on IHP activities at a local scale. By the end of 1994, 113 National Committees had been established in the Member States of UNESCO. In addition, other groups with the same objective, but known as National Focal Points, also had been established in another 37 Member States. Thus, a total of 150 (out of 184) Member States of UNESCO have designated some type of national counterpart to coordinate local IHP activities."

Although not a Member State of UNESCO when this paper was published, United States' scientists continued to participate in the program via a National Committee on Scientific Hydrology. Now the United States again has a National Committee for the International Hydrological Progam of UNESCO.

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