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Meeting the Challenge of Water

April 23, 2003—A new multilateral institution focusing on water resources management became the newest member of the Global Development Learning Network this month and embarked on a new program of knowledge sharing for countries linked through GDLN.

The UNESCO-IHE Institute for Water Education is the Netherlands’ first GDLN center and will serve all institutions in the Netherlands. The historic city of Delft, just minutes away from the administrative and governmental seat of the Netherlands in The Hague, is home of a number of important institutions focusing on water, hydraulic engineering and transport. The new center at UNESCO-IHE Institute will be open to all potential users of GDLN in the Netherlands.

GDLN is a growing family of partners spread across the world. The network now has 58 centers, with new ones coming on line regularly. Through GDLN, development practitioners share knowledge, exchange expertise and coordinate donor activities.

Supported by a €400,000 grant from the Netherlands Ministry of Transport, Public Works and Water Management, the UNESCO-IHE Institute will develop at least 12 new GDLN modules on water resources, public works and transport management. The World Bank Institute’s Water Program in partnership with UNESCO-IHE will take the lead in developing and delivering some of these modules and will work with IHE in the development of others.

Programs under development include Integrated River Basin Management; Wetlands Management; Public Private Partnerships; Water Law and Institutions; Drinking Water Distribution Systems; Groundwater Modeling; Flood Management; River Engineering; Natural Treatment of Urban Wastewater; Cleaner Production Technologies. Dutch Ministry personnel who work on these subjects will contribute to the development of the modules and will act as resources in some of the GDLN events.

Roughly 1 billion people in the developing world live without access to safe drinking water and 2.4 billion live without access to improved sanitation. An estimated 250,000 people per day will need to gain access to safe drinking water and 350,000 people per day to safe sanitation in order to achieve the MDG for water supply and sanitation. Yet fewer than 1 in 10 low-income countries appears to be on track. The challenge is great and progress will require scaling up of the efforts and an innovative approach.

"We see the partnership with IHE-UNESCO as a critical link to one of our greatest challenges: how to help countries make real progress in water resource management," said Frannie Léautier, the World Bank Vice President who heads WBI. "We all know that business as usual will not work to make the kind of progress we need to make. That’s why we are working in partnership through GDLN—tapping into the power of technology—to scale up our efforts and improve our outcomes."

UNESCO-IHE has already used GDLN for several programs delivered to Africa and Asia and plans programs for virtually all parts of the world.

Useful links: 

Click here for more information on UNESCO-IHE.
Click here for more information on GDLN.
Click here for more information on WBI’s Water 






   The facade of the UNESCO-IHE Institute of Water Education





  Participants at the new GDLN Center in the Netherlands

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