UN and NGO Corner
IAHS supports IHP The strong connections between IHP and IAHS were reinforced at the June 1998 meeting of the IHP Intergovernmental Council. IAHS Vice President Dr Kuniyoshi Takeuchi was elected President of the Council and Dr Reinder Feddes and Dr Abel Afouda, both very active within IAHS were elected Vice Presidents of the Council. In addition many IAHS officers and National Representatives were present at the Council meeting. IAHS itself was represented by its Secretary General, Dr Gordon Young. IAHS pledged its strong continuing support to the IHP activities and is represented on the planning group for the next phase of IHP by Dr Charles Vörösmarty.
IAHS at the next IUGG General Assembly, Birmingham, UK, 18 - 30 July 1999
A reminder to attend the IAHS events, both scientific and social, next year at Birmingham.. A full description of the IAHS, Inter-Association and Union Symposia may be found through the IAHS Internet site (address below). Symposia which will be of particular interest to hydrologists and water resources specialists are:
Inter-association Symposia in which IAHS is taking a role
Call for Papers for the 17th ICID Congress
The 17th World Congress of ICID will be organised in Granada, Spain, from 11-19 September 1999. The theme of the Congress is Water in the Next Millennium. The Congress proceedings will include a presentation of papers on Irrigation under conditions of water scarcity and Rehabilitation and modernisation of irrigation and drainage systems. A Special Session on Sustainable use of poor quality water and a Symposium on Irrigation Agriculture: Constraints, future role and crop diversification will also be held.
All enquires to be sent to: ICID, 48 Nyaya Marg, Chanakyapuri, New Delhi 110 021, India. Tel: 91-11-611-5679, 91-11-611-5962; Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
HKH-FRIEND STEERING COMMITTEE MEETING
ICIMOD, Kathmandu, 11-12 May 1998
The First Meeting of the Steering Committee of the Hindu Kush Himalayan Flow Regimes from International Experimental and Network Data (HKH-FRIEND) Group was jointly organised by UNESCO/IHP and ICIMOD in co-operation with the German IHP/OHP and was held at ICIMOD Conference Hall, Kathmandu, Nepal, from 11-12 May 1998. It was attended by official nominees and observers from the countries of the HKH region as well as representatives from UNESCO/IHP, WMO, the German National IHP/OHP Committee, Global Runoff Data Centre (GRDC), Germany, the Institute of Hydrology, UK and ICIMOD.
Mr. Mahesh Banskota, Acting Director General of ICIMOD, welcoming the participants, recalled how ICIMOD had joined hands with other outstanding organisations of the region to work on the hydrology of the HKH region. He further added that the HKH-FRIEND represents a milestone in two major aspects: firstly, in terms of a regional response to UNESCO's global initiative for co-operation in sharing information for sustainable management of water resources; and secondly, for being able to establish a strong relationship with many outstanding organisations in Europe. The opening session was also addressed by Mr. L. A. Mandalia, Programme Specialist in Water Sciences, UNESCO Regional Office, New Delhi.
Mr. K. Hofius, speaking on behalf of the German IHP/OHP Committee and WMO, pointed out the important and complementary role of the IHP of UNESCO and the OHP of WMO and expressed the hope that UNESCO will play a positive role in the sharing of hydrological data in the HKH region as it did in Europe. Mr. Alan Gustard, Institute of Hydrology, United Kingdom, highlighted the need for co-operation between FRIEND groups. Mr. W. E. Grabs, Head, Global Runoff Data Centre (GRDC) suggested that HKH-FRIEND should focus on the needs of the people of the HKH-region and urged for close communication between the collaborating institutions and the scientists of the HKH region.
The Steering Committee decided that the members of the HKH-FRIEND Steering Committee would be the official representatives of the regional countries (Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, China, India, Myanmar, Nepal and Pakistan). UNESCO/IHP, ICIMOD, WMO, German National IHP/OHP Committee, GRDC, UK IHP National Committee (Institute of Hydrology), International Funding Agencies and the observers of the HKH-FRIEND Steering Committee would be representatives of participating institutions from regional countries. Related International Projects/Agencies will also participate. Other FRIEND Groups: The Steering Committee elected unanimously Mr Kiran Shankar Yogacharya (Nepal) as Chairman of the HKH-FRIEND for the next two years and Mr. S. R. Chalise as its Executive Secretary for a term of three years. It was also decided that the Chairmanship should rotate alphabetically (countrywise) every two years. Mr. Chalise suggested that his term should also be reviewed after two years.
The Meeting identified the following six project activities for the HKH-FRIEND:
It was decided that the draft project proposal would be revised by Mr. M.F. Bari (Bangladesh) after the budget estimates had been provided by the co-ordinators of the six project groups.
The collaborating institutions, i.e. the German IHP/OHP Committee, GRDC, and the Institute of Hydrology, UK, expressed their willingness to provide financial and/or technical support for various project activities and also offered to assist in getting funding support from donor agencies.
It was decided that the Secretariat for the HKH-FRIEND would be provided by ICIMOD and the Regional Database Centre would also be located at ICIMOD for the time being. Draft policy guidelines for the regional database centre will be prepared by the end of 1998 for the consideration of the Steering Committee. The next meeting of the HKH-FRIEND Steering Committee will be held in Pakistan and the Pakistan Council for Research in Water Resources will provide organisational and local support.
The concluding session on 12 May was chaired by Mr. Egbert Pelinck, Director General of ICIMOD. In his address, Mr. Pelinck highlighted the importance of water in ICIMOD's programme activities and its mandates for the HKH region on Research, Training, Information Exchange and Advisory Services.
HKH-FRIEND: Regional Training on Database Management
Subsequent to the Steering Committee Meeting, a Regional Training Course on introduction to Database Management was organised at ICIMOD from 13-22 May 1998, with technical and financial support from GRDC, the German IHP/OHP Committee of the Federal Institute of Hydrology, Germany, UNESCO/IHP and ICIMOD. It was the first technical activity of the HKH-FRIEND and 12 participants from relevant institutions in Bangladesh, China, India, Nepal and Pakistan took part in the training. Mr. W. Grabs, Head, GRDC and Mr. J. Pauler from GRDC were the principal instructors.
WMO (World Meteorological Organization)
STATUS OF WHYCOS COMPONENTS
The World Hydrological Cycle Observing System (WHYCOS), which was launched by WMO in 1993, aims at building the capacity of national Hydrological Services for water resource assessment. It is being implemented through regional HYCOS components tailored to meet the priority needs of the participating countries. The present status of the various HYCOS components which are being implemented or further developed is summarised below.
Water Resources Assessment - Handbook for Review of National Capabilities
During the past two decades, it has become increasingly apparent that the capabilities for the assessment of water resources are far from being adequate world wide. On the contrary, there are increasing disparities and the overall deterioration of water resources assessment capabilities in many countries puts socio-economic development at risk. Assessment of water resources is the responsibility of each country and therefore any review at national level is also the responsibility of the individual countries.
In 1988 WMO and UNESCO jointly published a guidebook entitled Water Resources Assessment Activities - Handbook for National Evaluation. The methodology contained in this handbook was tested through pilot projects in various countries and the book was also reviewed at various regional meeting by experts who endorsed it for use in individual country water resources assessment programmes.
More recently, following the major international conferences in Dublin and Rio de Janeiro in 1992 and the further development of water resources assessment and management procedures, it was realised that there is a need to update and upgrade the original Handbook
For this purpose, UNESCO and WMO jointly established an expert group to prepare a new version of the Handbook.
The new version, entitled Water Resources Assessment - Handbook for Review of National Capabilities has been published in English and is currently being translated into French and Spanish. This handbook provides guidance for reviewing current levels of activity in the basic water resources assessment programmes in individual countries. These current activity levels are compared with minimum acceptable requirements in terms of number of installations, degree of computerisation, skilled manpower and related management structures, as well as education, training and research programmes. This comparison provides a basis for proposing action considered necessary to achieve minimum requirements. On this basis, a national action plan for upgrading basic water resources assessment programmes can be established. The Handbook can be used to review basic water resources assessment capabilities in any country or region; however, it is aimed at reviewing the capability of developing countries in particular.
The Handbook is available free of charge for Hydrological National Services. They are encouraged to test the handbook at national levels in their countries. The WMO and UNESCO Secretariats would be very interested in having any feedback regarding the use of the methodology described and would welcome comments and proposals for a future improved version.