Delft, The Netherlands, 24 Oct 2013

Happy United Nations Day 2013

Today, the world celebrates United Nations Day 2013. This is the perfect opportunity to show how proper management of water issues can contribute to maintaining peace throughout the world. Also, we will explain how UNESCO-IHE Institute for Water Education is integrated into UNESCO, and fits into the overall UN system.

About UN Day

24 October has been celebrated globally as United Nations Day since 1948 and marks the anniversary day of when the UN Charter came into effect. With the ratification of this founding document by the majority of its signatories, including the five permanent members of the Security Council, the United Nations officially came into being. As we celebrate UN day, it is also worthwhile to explain the UN’s activities in greater detail and how the UNESCO-IHE Institute for Water Education fits into the overall UN system.

Below is an extract and a link to the full message from the UN Secretary-General - Ban Ki-moon to officially commemorate UN day 2013.

"This year again, we saw the United Nations come together on armed conflict, human rights, the environment and many other issues. We continue to show what collective action can do. We can do even more. In a world that is more connected, we must be more united. On United Nations Day, let us pledge to live up to our founding ideals and work together for peace, development and human rights.”

Click here to read UN’s Secretary-General's entire message for UN Day 2013.


Cover photo by Jim, the Photographer.

About the UN

The UN is the largest global intergovernmental organisation with wide ranging scope and reach across every corner of the world. Its involvement extends to a number of key global issues that includes the fostering of peace and security, development, human rights, humanitarian affairs and international law across all nation states.   

The UN describes itself has having four main purposes, these include:

  • Maintaining peace throughout the world;
  • Developing friendly relations among nations;
  • Helping nations work together to improve the lives of poor people, to conquer hunger, disease and illiteracy, and to encourage respect for each other’s rights and freedoms;
  • Being a centre for harmonizing the actions of nations to achieve these goals.


Photo by Gabriel Rodriguez.

Water for Peace, UNESCO-IHE in the UN

UNESCO-IHE Institute for Water Education concentrates its efforts on water education, research and capacity development, and envisions a world in which people manage their water and environmental resources in a sustainable manner, and in which all sectors of society, particularly the poor, can enjoy the benefits of basic services. 

Water is one of the most important issues of the 21st century. How can water can be managed forty years from now in a world inhabited by more than nine billion people?

This and many other questions relating to water demand direct action. Water is critical to the world’s prosperity and environmental sustainability. Safe drinking water and appropriate sanitation are vital factors in human health and quality of life. More than half the world’s population already live in cities, and this number is only set to increase. UNESCO-IHE’s strategic plan recognizes that addressing global challenges such as poverty, climate change and public health requires a strong foundation of knowledge to improve water management practices.

UNESCO-IHE is part of the UN Water family, and was established as a UNESCO 'Category I Institute' jointly by UNESCO and the Government of the Netherlands. 

More information:


UNESCO’s International Hydrological Programme (IHP) is the only intergovernmental programme of the UN system devoted to water research, water resources management, and education and capacity building. The IHP Secretariat serves UNESCO’s 190 Member States, through the IHP National Committees, other governmental bodies, and academic and research institutions in the implementation of the programme.

UNESCO’s work in the water sector is built on three tracks:

  • hydrological science for policy relevant advice
  • education and capacity building responding to the growing needs of sustainable development
  • water resources assessment and management to achieve environmental sustainability

UNESCO’s water family operates as a global network that works together to implement the organization’s strategic goals.

  • UNESCO-IHE Institute for Water Education – an integral part of UNESCO – is IHP's educational arm.
  • Twenty-six agencies of the UN system cooperate through the World Water Assessment Programme (WWAP) to provide an ongoing global assessment of the state of the world’s freshwater resources. The programme is hosted and led by UNESCO.
  • UNESCO’s Regional and Cluster Offices assist in the implementation of IHP in the regions.
  • Water-related Institutes and Centres under the auspices of UNESCO work on relevant thematic and geographic priorities in their areas of expertise. Since Member States have realized the potential of these centres, the network has been rapidly expanding.
  • UNESCO’s Water-related Chairs are established as teaching or research positions at universities or research institutes around the world.

This information was taken from International Hydrological Programme's websiteFor more information on UNESCO's work in water, including a graphical map of UNESCO's water family, please refer to this page.

Recent UNESCO-IHE efforts on harmonizing water improvements

UNESCO-IHE along with more than 1200 delegates met at the Budapest Water Summit, recommending the United Nations to position water issues as a central goal in the post-2015 development agenda. Water quality and security continue to be issues that undermine the developmental progress of many nations. Given the impact water issues have had on society it is critical that easy access to clean drinking water remains a top priority for the protection of human health, maintenance of food and energy security and the eradication of global poverty.
Read more.

Prof. Andras Szollosi-Nagy, Rector of UNESCO-IHE, was Chair of the International Program Committee as well as that of the Drafting Group. Therefore, he was one of the key players in the process of drafting and finalizing the Budapest Water Summit Statement.
Read more.

One of the main recommendations that came out of the Budapest Water Summit was to develop a dedicated and comprehensive Sustainable Development Goal on Water,  to strive for a "Water-Secure World". This goal is to clearly address the inter-linkages of other Sustainable Development Goals. Developing this dedicated goal is crucial in achieving the agreed upon Millennium Development Goal targets related to water and sanitation.
Read the Water Summit Statement.

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