Over the past few decades, the challenges facing water resources have led to an increased awareness amongst international, regional and local stakeholders from international organisations, national and regional political bodies, and academia. To date, organisations dealing with water continue to significantly increase in number. Due to the cross-cutting nature of water as a resource in food and energy, the number of both public and private sector organisations engaging with water-related research and topics is vast. This article seeks to list and summarize the currently most important stakeholders in the water sector.
UN-Water is not an organization or an agency. It is the United Nations coordination mechanism for all water-related issues. UN-Water activities and programmes are therefore implemented by its members, with the support of its partners.
Equitable and sustainable management of water resources is a major global challenge. About one third of the world’s population lives in countries with moderate to high water stress, with disproportionately high impacts on the poor. With respect to the current projected human population growth, industrial development and the expansion of irrigated agriculture in the next two decades, water demand is expected to rise to levels that will make the task of providing water for human sustenance more difficult.
United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)
Since its establishment, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) has worked to promote sustainable water resources management practices through collaborative approaches at the national, regional and global levels. After more than 30 years, water resources management continues to be a strong pillar of UNEP’s work.
UNEP is actively participating in addressing water issues together with partner UN agencies, other organizations and donors. They facilitate and catalyse water resource assessments in various developing countries; implement projects that assist countries in developing integrated water resource management plans; create awareness of innovative alternative technologies; and assist the development, implementation and enforcement of water resource management policies, laws and regulations.
United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)
The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) partners with people at all levels of society to help build nations that can withstand crisis, and drive and sustain the kind of growth that improves the quality of life for everyone. On the ground in 177 countries and territories, UNDP offers global perspective and local insight to help empower lives and build resilient nations.
World leaders have pledged to achieve the Millennium Development Goals, including the overarching goal of cutting poverty in half by 2015. UNDP's network links and coordinates global and national efforts to reach these Goals. UNDP’s focus is helping countries build and share solutions to the challenges of:
- Poverty Reduction and Achievement of the MDGs
- Democratic Governance
- Crisis Prevention and Recovery
- Environment and Energy for Sustainable Development
A particular focus of UNDP has been placed on water governance concepts to achieve equitable allocation, develop capacities and implement integrated approaches to water resources management through adaptive water governance to reduce poverty and vulnerability, sustain and enhance livelihoods and protect environmental resources.
Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations
As a knowledge organization, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations creates and shares critical information about food, agriculture and natural resources in the form of global public goods. But this is not a one-way flow. FAO plays a connector role through identifying and working with different partners with established expertise and by facilitating a dialogue between those who have the knowledge and those who need it. By turning knowledge into action, FAO links the field to national, regional and global initiatives in a mutually reinforcing cycle.
The World Bank is well positioned to assist its clients in improving water resources management and services because of its capability in working across sectors, institutions and countries to help clients deal with the complex challenges of this century. The Bank’s vision for the water sector was initially articulated in the 2003 Water Resources Sector Strategy. This forward-looking strategy anticipated issues such as climate change and rapid urbanization before they were at the forefront of global discussions.
The implementation progress report “Sustaining Water for All in a Changing Climate” (2010) reaffirms the strategic directions for the World Bank Group’s approach to supporting water resources management. It emphasizes a water development agenda that is integrated with energy, climate, agriculture, land use, and overall economic development and asserts the importance of tackling institutional reforms along with infrastructure upgrades.
Global Water Partnership (GWP)
Global Water Partnership (GWP) was founded in 1996 by the World Bank, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), and the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA) to foster integrated water resource management (IWRM).
IWRM is the coordinated development and management of water, land and related resources in order to maximise economic and social welfare without compromising the sustainability of ecosystems and the environment.
The network is open to all organisations involved in water resources management: developed and developing country government institutions, agencies of the United Nations, bi- and multi-lateral development banks, professional associations, research institutions, non-governmental organisations, and the private sector.
The network is supported financially by Canada, Denmark, the European Commission, Finland, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Spain, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the United States.
Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) Institutes
The Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) is a global partnership that unites organisations engaged in research on food security. CGIAR research is aimed at reducing rural poverty, increasing food security, improving human health and nutrition, and ensuring more sustainable management of natural resources. It is carried out by 15 Centers that are members of the CGIAR Consortium, in close collaboration with hundreds of partner organizations, including national and regional research institutes, civil society organizations, academia, and the private sector.
Some of the centers related to water research are introduced below:
International Water Management Institute (IWMI)
The International Water Management Institute (IWMI) is a non-profit, scientific research organization focusing on the sustainable use of land and water resources in agriculture to the benefit of poor people in developing countries.
IWMI’s mission is “to improve the management of land and water resources for food, livelihoods and the environment”. IWMI has its headquarters in Colombo, Sri Lanka, and regional offices across Asia and Africa.
The Institute works in partnership with developing countries, international and national research institutes, universities and other organizations to develop tools and technologies that contribute to poverty reduction and to food and livelihood security.
WorldFish is an international, non-profit research organization dedicated to reducing poverty and hunger by improving fisheries and aquaculture.
Recognizing the opportunities that fisheries and aquaculture offer for the poor, the hungry and the vulnerable, WorldFish is committed to meeting two key development challenges:
- To improve the livelihoods of those who are especially poor and vulnerable in places where fisheries and aquaculture can make a difference
- To achieve large scale, environmentally sustainable increases in supply and access to fish at affordable prices for poor consumers in developing countries
International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA)
Moving agricultural research innovations into everyday use in the world’s dry areas is critically important, especially since these regions cover 40 per cent of the earth’s surface and are home to 2.5 billion people – a significant percentage of the world’s population.
This is the core work of the International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Area (ICARDA), which works with partners worldwide in developing innovations to improve food security and the livelihoods of the rural poor. ICARDA’s work targets non-tropical dry areas in developing countries, and also produces international public goods with potential for global application.
ICARDA’s research covers crops (wheat, barley, faba bean, lentil, chickpea and forage legumes), the management of natural resources (water, land, biodiversity), small ruminant production (sheep and goats), farming systems (intensification, diversification, integration between farming system components), and socio-economics and policy research, e.g. making policies more relevant to the situation of low income countries.
International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI)
The International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) works with partners worldwide to enhance livestock pathways out of poverty, principally in sub-Saharan Africa and Asia. The end products of these research partnerships help people in developing countries keep their farm animals alive and productive, increase and sustain their livestock and farm productivity, find profitable markets for their animal products, and reduce their risk to livestock-related diseases.
ILRI is a non-profit institution with a staff of around 700 and an operating budget of over USD 55 million. It has headquarters in Nairobi, Kenya, a principal campus in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, and offices in West and Southern Africa and in South, Southeast and East Asia.
In the developing world, livestock are the fastest growing part of agriculture. Due to population growth and other drivers of change, many of the developing world’s livestock systems are transforming as fast as they are growing. Livestock science helps the world’s one billion small-scale livestock keepers make better and more sustainable use of the immense changes and new trends.
To increase global food supplies by as much as 70 per cent in the next 40 years without depleting natural resources, options are needed to support the world’s vast array of smallholder food producers. This particularly refers to small-scale ‘mixed’ crop-and-livestock farmers who are the mainstay of the world’s food production and are likely to remain so for generations to come, and livestock herders who move their animals periodically to find new pastures and who are among the world’s most vulnerable people.
International Rice Research Institute (IRRI)
The International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) is a non-profit independent rice research and training organization. IRRI’s research is done under the framework of the CGIAR Research Program on Rice, known as the Global Rice Science Partnership (GRiSP), which IRRI also leads. IRRI develops new rice varieties and rice crop management techniques that help rice farmers improve the yield and quality of their rice in an environmentally sustainable way. The Institute works with its public and private sector partners in national agricultural research and extension systems in major rice-growing countries to do research, training, and knowledge transfer. Its social and economic research also informs governments to assist them in formulating policy to improve the equitable supply of rice. IRRI’s mission is to reduce poverty and hunger, improve the health of rice farmers and consumers, and ensure environmental sustainability through collaborative research, partnerships, and the strengthening of national agricultural research and extension systems.
International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT)
The International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT), working in collaboration with hundreds of partners across the developing world, is dedicated to developing technologies, innovative methods, and new knowledge that better enable farmers, mainly smallholders, to improve their crop production, incomes, and management of natural resources.
While aware of the many constraints to farming in the tropics, CIAT’s founders saw this vast region as a world of promise, where agriculture, with the aid of modern science, might contribute substantially to reducing hunger and poverty. Since no single organization can address the whole of tropical agriculture, CIAT complements the efforts of other members of the CGIAR Consortium and numerous partners by focusing strategically on selected crops and research areas.
Within CGIAR, CIAT has global responsibility for the improvement of beans, cassava, and tropical forages – crops that have historically been neglected by research despite their vital importance for food and nutrition security. It also conducts research on rice and tropical fruits for Latin America and the Caribbean.
International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI)
Established in 1975, the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) identifies and analyzes national and international policies and strategies for meeting the food needs of the developing world on a sustainable basis, with particular emphasis on low-income countries and on the poorer groups in those countries.
While the research effort is geared to the precise objective of contributing to the reduction of hunger and malnutrition, the factors involved are many and wide-ranging, requiring analysis of underlying processes and extending beyond a narrowly defined food sector.The Institute’s research program reflects worldwide collaboration with governments, as well as private and public institutions, interested in increasing food production and improving the equity of its distribution.
International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT)
The International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) is a non-profit, non-political organization that conducts agricultural research for development in the drylands of Asia and sub-Saharan Africa. Covering 6.5 million square kilometers of land in 55 countries, the semi-arid or dryland tropics has over 2 billion people, and 644 million of these are the poorest of the poor.
ICRISAT and its partners help empower these poor people to overcome poverty, hunger and a degraded environment through better agriculture. ICRISAT is headquartered in Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh, India, with two regional hubs (Nairobi, Kenya and Bamako, Mali) and country offices in Niger, Zimbabwe, Malawi, and Mozambique. ICRISAT conducts research on five highly nutritious, drought-tolerant crops: chickpea, pigeon pea, pearl millet, sorghum and groundnut.
International Development and Research Centre (Canada)
To achieve self-reliance, poor communities need answers to questions like: How can we grow more and healthier food? Protect our health? Create jobs? A key part of Canada’s aid program since 1970, the International Development and Research Centre (IDRC) supports research in developing countries to answer these questions. IDRC also encourages sharing this knowledge with policymakers, other researchers and communities around the world. The result is innovative, lasting local solutions that aim to bring choice and change to those who need it most. A key member of Canada’s foreign aid program, the IDRC is one of the world’s leaders in generating and applying new knowledge to meet the challenges facing poor countries.
Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI)
The Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI) is a policy institute that seeks sustainable solutions to the world’s escalating water crisis. SIWI manages projects, synthesises research and publishes findings and recommendations on current and future water, environment, governance and human development issues.
SIWI serves as a platform for knowledge sharing and networking between the scientific, business, policy and civil society communities. SIWI builds professional capacity and understanding of the links between water-society-environment-economy.
Private sector organisations
2030 Water Resources Group (WRG)
The 2030 Water Resources Group (WRG) has been established to help address water-related challenges. WRG is an innovative and neutral public-private-expert-civil society platform that provides a partnership to help government water officials and their partners accelerate reforms that will ensure sustainable water resource management for the long term development and economic growth of their country.
African Ministers' Council on Water (AMCOW)
The was formed in 2002 in Abuja Nigeria, primarily to promote cooperation, security, social and economic development and poverty eradication among member states through the effective management of the continent’s water resources and provision of water supply services. In 2008, at the 11th ordinary session of the Africa Union (AU) Assembly in Sharm el-Sheikh, Heads of State and Government of the AU agreed on commitments to accelerate the achievement of water and sanitation goals in Africa and mandated AMCOW to develop and follow up an implementation strategy for these commitments. AMCOW has also been accorded the status of a Specialised Committee for Water and Sanitation in the African Union.
Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP)
In essence, the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) is about bringing together diverse key players - at the continental, regional and national levels - to improve co-ordination, to share knowledge, successes and failures, to encourage one another, and to promote joint and separate efforts to achieve the CAADP goals. CAADP aims to help African countries reach a higher path of economic growth through agriculture-led development.
It is composed of four pillars:
Pillar 1: Land & water management
Pillar 2: Market access
Pillar 3: Food supply and hunger
Pillar 4: Agricultural research
Arab Water Council (AWC)
The Arab Water Council (AWC) aims to promote better understanding and management of the water resources in the Arab States in a multi-disciplinary, non-political, professional and scientific manner; and to disseminate knowledge, enhance sharing of experience and information for the rational and comprehensive water resources development of the region for the benefit of its inhabitants.
Academia and research
International research institutes
UNESCO -IHE Institute for Water Education
The UNESCO-IHE Institute for Water Education was established in 2003. It carries out research, education and capacity building activities in the fields of water, environment and infrastructure. UNESCO-IHE continues the work that began in 1957 when IHE first offered a postgraduate diploma course in hydraulic engineering to practising professionals from developing countries. The Institute is based in Delft, the Netherlands, and is owned by all UNESCO member states. It was established as a UNESCO ‘Category I’ institute jointly by UNESCO and the Government of the Netherlands. The Institute is the largest water education facility in the world, and the only institution in the UN system authorized to confer accredited MSc degrees.
IHE-HELP Centre at the University of Dundee
The IHP-HELP Centre at the Unversity of Dundee, Scotland has a strong focus on research, believing that providing high quality and reliable insights into different aspects of water law, policy and science is one of our foremost tasks. IHE-HELP leads and participates in projects covering a wide variety of topics, including transboundary water governance, integrated water and coastal zone management, ecosystems services, biodiversity and shared groundwater. They work in a range of geographical locations, stretching from South-East Asia, Africa, and India to the borders between England and Scotland.
IHE-HELP expertise in water law, policy and science provides complementary knowledge in more science-based projects, and is an area of competence in its own right.
The Centre also fulfills an important role in disseminating research results; they produce policy briefs, reports and papers which present results in a form suitable for policy makers and managers, as well as in high quality academic publications.
University of Arizona (UA) collaboration with Centre national de la recherche scientifique (CNRS)
Water, Environment, and Public Policy are the focus of a newly created Joint International Unit (UMI) between CNRS and the University of Arizona (UA) with a duration of four years. The UMI will promote research partnerships between the UA and CNRS and expand research funding opportunities, comparing water resources management and governance in the Southwestern United States, the Americas, France, and the European Union.
The mission of the collaboration is to develop international, comparative and interdisciplinary knowledge on water, conceptualized as a complex system within the framework of regional and global processes. In particular, the Center’s focus is the interaction between water, society and environment in a contemporary context. The UMI promotes research between U.S. and French scientists and between social, natural and physical sciences, aiming to develop joint international partnerships.
Institut de recherche pour le développement (IRD)
Institut de recherche pour le développement (IRD) is a French research organism, original and unique on the European development research scene.
Emphasizing interdisciplinarity, the IRD has focused its research for over 65 years on the relationship between man and its environment, in Africa, Mediterranean, Latin America, Asia and the French tropical overseas territories.
Its research, training and innovation activities are intended to contribute to the social, economic and cultural development of southern countries.
Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research
The Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research is an organisation based in the United Kingdom that brings together scientists, economists, engineers and social scientists to 'research, assess and communicate from a distinct trans-disciplinary perspective, the options to mitigate, and the necessities to adapt to current climate change and continuing global Warming, and to integrate these into the global, UK and local contexts of sustainable development'.
The Centre, named after the 19th century UK scientist John Tyndall (b. Ireland) and founded in 2000, has seven core partners: University of East Anglia, University of Cambridge, Cardiff University, University of Manchester, Newcastle University, University of Oxford, University of Southampton, and University of Sussex.
Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK)
The Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) addresses crucial scientific questions in the fields of global change, climate impacts and sustainable development. Researchers from the natural and social sciences work together to generate interdisciplinary insights and to provide society with sound information for decision making. The main methodologies are systems and scenarios analysis, modelling, computer simulation, and data integration.
Center for Development Research (ZEF)
The Center for Development Research (ZEF) was founded in 1995 and started its actual research activities in 1997. ZEF's research aims at finding solutions to development-related issues.
By covering three main research areas, which are interrelated through interdisciplinary research projects, ZEF offers a broad and integrated perspective on development. Since development is rarely constrained by a single problem within a single discipline, ZEF works on crosscutting themes of central importance for the developing world. The research programs build on the methods and analytical styles of the disciplinary research areas and link and integrate knowledge and capacities from these different areas. ZEF's three research departments are:
- Political and Cultural Change (ZEF A)
- Economic and Technological Change (ZEF B)
- Ecology and Natural Resources Management (ZEF C)
German Institute of Global and Area Studies (GIGA)
The German Institute of Global and Area Studies (GIGA) is the principle research institute for area studies and comparative area studies in Germany, as well as one of the largest in Europe. Its research focuses on political, economic and social developments in Africa, Asia, Latin America, North Africa and the Middle East. GIGA researchers also concentrate on inter-regional linkages and global themes.
University of Hohenheim
Since 2012, the DFG Research Unit 1695 "Agricultural Landscapes under Global Climate Change - Processes and Feedbacks on a Regional Scale" coordinated by the University of Hohenheim addresses this topic applying an interdisciplinary approach and in that way carrying on research of an integrated project on regional climate change funded by DFG since 2008. It is the joint objective of the researchers from Hohenheim and their colleagues from Munich and Giessen to improve process understanding and knowledge of feedbacks between land surface and atmosphere by combining integrated modelling with hitherto unequalled spatial resolution, intensive field measurements and controlled experiments. This will enable them to elaborate projections of landscape development and potential adaptation strategies until 2030. For this purpose, high-resolution climate, land use, and crop growth models will be coupled with socio-economic models forming an advanced land system model. By means of specific sensor systems and remote sensing techniques, data on energy and matter fluxes between the soil-plant system and the atmosphere will be collected in two study regions in Southwest Germany. Crops will be exposed to future CO2 and climate conditions in climatic chambers in order to assess the effects on crop yield and yield quality. Data obtained from field measurements and climatic chamber experiments as well as from socio-economic investigations in the study regions will serve for improving model components and for the validation of the novel land system model.
The Wuppertal Institute undertakes research and develops models, strategies and instruments for transitions to a sustainable development at local, national and international level. Sustainability research at the Wuppertal Institute focuses on the resources, climate and energy related challenges and their relation to economy and society. Special emphasis is put on analysing and stimulating innovations that decouple economic growth and wealth from natural resource use.
- ↑ UN Water: http://www.unwater.org/activities.html [2013-18.02].
- ↑ United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP): http://www.unep.org/ fckLR[2013-02-19].
- ↑ United Nations Development Programme (UNDP): http://www.undp.org/content/undp/en/home/ourwork/environmentandenergy/focus_areas/water_and_ocean_governance.html[2013-02-18].
- ↑ Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO): http://www.fao.org/index_en.htm
- ↑ The World Bank: http://water.worldbank.org/topics/water-resources-management [2013-02-18].
- ↑ The World Bank (2010): Sustaining Water for All in a Changing Climate. World Bank Group Implementation Progress Report of the Water Resources Sector Strategy. http://siteresources.worldbank.org/NEWS/Resources/sustainingwater.pdf [2013-02-18].
- ↑ Global Water Partnership: http://www.gwp.org/About-GWP/ [2013-02-18].
- ↑ Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR): http://www.cgiar.org/ [2013-02-18].
- ↑ 9.0 9.1 International Water Management Institut (IWMI): http://www.iwmi.cgiar.org/ [2013-02-18].
- ↑ WorldFish Center: http://www.worldfishcenter.org/ [2013-02-18].
- ↑ International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA): http://www.icarda.org/ [2013-02-18].
- ↑ International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI): www.ilri.org [2013-02-18].
- ↑ International Rice Research Institute (IRRI): http://www.irri.org/ [2013-02-18].
- ↑ International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT): http://www.ciat.org/ [2013-02-18].
- ↑ International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI): http://www.ifpri.org/ [2013-02-18].
- ↑ International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT): http://www.icrisat.org/ [2013-02-18].
- ↑ International Development and Research Centre (IDRC): http://www.idrc.ca/EN/Pages/default.aspx [2013-02-18].
- ↑ Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI): http://www.siwi.org/ [2013-02-18].
- ↑ 2030 Water Resources Group: http://www.weforum.org/issues/water/index.html [2013-02-18].
- ↑ African Ministers' Council on Water (AMCOW): http://www.amcow-online.org/index.php?lang=en [2013-02-18].
- ↑ Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP): http://www.nepad-caadp.net/about-caadp.php fckLR[2013-02-18].
- ↑ GIZ (2010): Agricultural Programme of the African UnionfckLR(CAADP). Briefing Note. http://www.giz.de/Themen/de/dokumente/gtz2010-en-briefing-note-agricultural-programme-african-union.pdf [2013-04-30]
- ↑ Arab Water Council (AWP): http://www.arabwatercouncil.org/index.php[2013-02-18].
- ↑ UNESCO-IHE Institute for Water Education: http://www.unesco-ihe.org/About/Introduction-to-UNESCO-IHE [2013-02-18].
- ↑ IHP-HELP Centre at the Unversity of Dundee: http://www.dundee.ac.uk/water/research/ [2013-02-18].
- ↑ University of Arizona (UA) and Centre national de la recherche scientifique (CNRS): http://www.hwr.arizona.edu/umi-3157-cnrs-university-arizona [2013-02-18].
- ↑ Institut de recherche pour le développement (IRD): http://en.ird.fr/ [2013-02-18].
- ↑ Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research: http://www.tyndall.ac.uk/about/structure [2013-02-18].
- ↑ Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK): http://www.pik-potsdam.de/institute/mission [2013-02-18].
- ↑ Center for Development Research (ZEF): http://www.zef.de/aboutzef.html [2013-02-18].
- ↑ German Institute of Global and Area Studies (GIGA): http://www.giga-hamburg.de/english/index.php?file=giga.html&folder=giga [2013-02-18].
- ↑ University of Hohenheim: https://www.uni-hohenheim.de/dfg-research-unit?&L=1 [2013-04-30].
- ↑ Wuppertal Institute: http://wupperinst.org/en/home/ [2013-02-18].