Water is an important component of our physical environment and it is, above all, indispensable for life on Earth. Groundwater covers a significant part of the corresponding water demands, in particular in areas with a relatively dry climate. Until not very long ago, the invisible groundwater used to be taken for granted in most countries, but this attitude is no longer appropriate. Lessons have been learned during the last half of a century during which different types of pressures on the groundwater resources started and continued increasing steadily.
The worldwide ISARM (Internationally Shared Aquifer Resources Management) Initiative is an UNESCO and IAH led multi-agency effort aimed at improving the understanding of scientific, socio-economic, legal, institutional and environmental issues related to the management of transboundary aquifers.
The project aims to strengthen the coordination and collaboration capacity of African Lake and River Basin Organizations (L/RBOs), Commissions and/or cooperative framework for transboundary groundwater management and their member states towards improved transboundary water governance in Africa through improved support by the African Network of Basin Organizations (ANBO).
Groundwater is the largest accessible and often still untapped freshwater reservoir on earth. Its world-wide resources are assessed at 10.5 million km³. The increasing number of regional water shortages and water crises can only be met with a rational and sustainable use of this resource. Such sustainable use requires understanding and knowledge as well as careful planning and management. Yet, information on this hidden resource is still weak in many places.
The project aims to initiate the implementation of the endorsed Strategic Action Plan (SAP) for the Nubian Sandstone Aquifer System (NSAS) shared by Chad, Egypt, Libya and Sudan. The project aims to achieve this by supporting capacity development, facilitate national reforms on policies needed, address knowledge gaps utilizing the results from pilot actions and identifying financial assistance for implementation of the SAP.
The DIKTAS project (Protection and Sustainable Use of the Dinaric Karst Transboundary Aquifer System), is the first ever attempted globally to introduce sustainable integrated management principles in a transboundary karst freshwater aquifer of the magnitude of the Dinaric Karst System. At the global level the project aims at focusing the attention of the international community on the huge but vulnerable water resources contained in karst aquifers (carbonatic rock formations), which are widespread globally, but poorly understood.
The Strategic Partnership for the Mediterranean Sea Large Marine Ecosystem (MedPartnership) is a collective effort of leading environmental institutions and organizations together with countries sharing the Mediterranean Sea to address the main environmental challenges that Mediterranean marine and coastal ecosystems face. UNESCO-IHP executes MedPartnership Sub-component 1.1 on “Management of Coastal Aquifers and Groundwater”.
Groundwater Governance - A Global Framework for Action (2011-2015) is a joint project supported by the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and implemented by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), jointly with UNESCO's International Hydrological Programme (UNESCO-IHP), the International Association of Hydrologists (IAH) and the World Bank.
GRAPHIC (Groundwater Resources Assessment under the Pressures of Humanity and Climate Change) is a UNESCO-IHP project, seeking to improve our understanding of how groundwater interacts within the global water cycle, how it supports ecosystems and humankind and, in turn, responds to complex and coupled pressures of human activity and climate change. GRAPHIC was developed to successfully achieve these objectives within a global context and represents a collaborative effort that serves as an umbrella for international research and education.
The GEF funded International Waters Learning Exchange And Resource Network (IW:LEARN) project promotes experience sharing and learning among GEF International Waters projects, country officials, impending agencies, and other partners. Its overall goal is to strengthen transboundary water management around the globe by collecting and sharing best practices, lessons learned, and innovative solutions to common problems. IW: LEARN also aims to strengthen the International Waters portfolio as a whole by promoting dialogue, knowledge sharing, and replication between projects.
The project aims to advance transboundary water governance through the conjunctive management of surface and groundwater in the Central European adjoining Bug and the Neman river basins as a means to improve water security and sustainability of freshwater ecosystem services, balance competing water uses, and mitigate the expected impacts of climate variability and change. The project has the following components:
The PCCP (From Potential Conflict to Cooperation Potential) programme facilitates multi-level and interdisciplinary dialogues in order to foster peace, cooperation and development related to the management of transboundary water resources.
The Global Groundwater Monitoring Network (GGMN) is a participative, web-based network of networks, set up to improve quality and accessibility of groundwater monitoring information and to subsequently improve our knowledge on the state of groundwater resources. GGMN is a UNESCO programme, implemented by IGRAC and supported by many global and regional partners.
Food, energy, environment and water are critical systems to both people and landscapes. Too often decisions are made in one domain without consideration of the effects in another. This narrow focus imposes costs and risks on all, but especially on the vulnerable in poor countries.
The Drin project aims to advance transboundary water governance through the conjunctive management of surface and groundwater in the Central European Drin river basin. This will be done through the implementation of a program of on‐the ground pilot demonstrations. UNESCO-IHP is executing a pilot project aimed at designing and testing a modern multi-parameter groundwater monitoring network and related data sharing protocols in the Buna/Bojana Delta transboundary alluvial aquifer (Albania and Montenegro).
The Transboundary Waters Assessment Programme (TWAP) is a two year project funded by the Global Environment Facility (GEF), which aims at conducting the first global baseline assessment of transboundary water systems. The assessment will be carried out in five components, namely Transboundary Aquifers and SIDS Groundwater Systems, Transboundary River Basins, Transboundary Lake Basins, Large Marine Ecosystems and the Open Ocean.