Global change impacts on water resources and the role of International Hydrological Programme (IHP)

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Monday, 18 January 2010: 1:30 PM
B301 (GWCC)
Anil Mishra, UNESCO, Paris, France

Global changes brought on by population growth, climate change, urbanization, expansion of infrastructure, migration, land conversion and pollution is altering the Earth and the way it functions. The hydrological impacts of various global change drivers, such as climatic variability and change as well as changes in population patterns and land use have been studied in various river basins and at various scales, yet the direction and degrees of modification are very complex at regional or local scale.

Although these changes are global, no institution or country can face the challenges they pose alone. UNESCO-IHP , as the only intergovernmental programme on water sciences with a focus on freshwater in the UN system, can foster the cooperation needed to bring all players together, whether they are Member States, research institutions, universities, UN agencies, NGOs, or national or international associations. The role of UNESCO IHP is to offer a platform to facilitate and support research and capacity to help to understand the scope of global change impacts on water resources in order to manage the water resources in a sustainable and adaptive way.

UNESCO's mission under IHP–VII (2008-2013) 'Water Dependencies: Systems under Stress and Societal Responses' is to strengthen scientific understanding of the impacts from global changes on water systems, and to link scientific findings to policies for promoting sustainable management of water resources. The current phase of IHP has endeavored to address demands arising from a rapidly changing world. Several focal areas have been identified by the IHP to address the impacts of global changes on river basins and aquifer systems. This paper will overview the current perspective on water science and policy in the context of global changes and outlines the themes and activities of the seventh phase of IHP (2008-2013). Adaptation to the impacts of global changes on river basins and aquifer systems is a theme central to this phase.