News from the Secretariat
|From the Secretary
|Two exciting events
took place in June. The first was the International Conference on World
Water Resources at the Beginning of the 21st Century: Water
- A Looming Crisis? held from 3-6 June. Attendance reached record limits
and discussions were lively and entertaining. Our Feature
Article in this issue gives a more detailed account of the conference
and includes the working group reports and final statement.
The conference was followed by the 13th session of the Intergovernmental Council of the International Hydrological Programme which took place from 8-13 June 1998. Representation was high and it was most rewarding to note the extremely active participation in the discussions and decision-making processes. After all, the IHP programme belongs to the Member States which means that they need to be involved to the greatest degree possible in its governance.
The following is a summary of the Director-General's statement at the end of the session:
The Director-General addressed the 13th session of the IHP Intergovernmental Council on Friday, 12 June. He started by welcoming the delegates who are members of the Council and, in particular, the 14 States elected to the Council at the 29th session of the General Conference of UNESCO together with the considerable number of observers from Member States not members of the Council, with a special welcome for the United Kingdom. Representatives of UN bodies and non-governmental IHP partners were also welcomed.
He emphasised UNESCO's determination to contribute significantly to the solution of the world's water problems by strengthening the International Hydrological Programme and explained that it was in this spirit that he had decided to re-inforce IHP. He drew attention to the policy note (DG/Note/98/3 of 14 January 1998) which he had issued in January 1998 defining the ways in which he intended to strengthen IHP which he considers as the focal point for all water-related affairs within UNESCO.
He then informed the Council that on 11 June he had instructed the Bureau of the Budget to transfer the sum of US$612,000, representing deferred funds from the budget of the last biennium, to the IHP budget. He also informed the Council that he had instructed his services that, henceforth, the IHP budget would not be subject to budget deferments or reductions.
He drew attention to the in-depth discussions undertaken by the Council regarding the establishing of a governing mechanism which would serve the best interests of all the Member States and emphasised the fact that, while water problems are reaching global dimensions, solutions are basically regional and national thereby calling for closer regional co-operation. He congratulated the participants on their keen involvement in IHP and reminded them that IHP is not just a programme set up and run by UNESCO but that it belongs to the Member States themselves and it is for them to design and implement it and also to propose changes to the General Conference.
He recalled that a policy-relevant science and education programme is what is wanted; that IHP should be a provider of good science-based recommendations to national governments if further support either in terms of funding or staffing is to be forthcoming.
He drew attention to the planning of the freshwater component of UNESCO's next Medium-Term Strategic Plan which he feels reflects current thinking admirably; he also mentioned the interdisciplinary co-operation achieved by UNESCO's five international scientific programmes and pointed out that it is at the level of interaction, that we can hope for breakthroughs for really sustainable water resources development and management. However, such interaction requires a context of strong public and political support - it is only when there is a general awareness and widely based understanding of this issue that it will be possible to implement successful strategies, because the way we use water is deeply rooted in our every day behaviour and attitudes to natural resources. Water and Civilisation are inseparable, he added, and a feature of modern civilisation is the priority given to specific budget areas, and notably to armament. We cannot pay the price of war and the price of peace - we have to choose, he added. The delegates to the IHP session not only understand this point but also are dedicating their skills and energies to changing attitudes and finding new responses. He added that IHP, with its far-sighted vision, would keep it at the forefront not only in monitoring water resources and developing water management strategies, but also in educating the public and the younger generations to understand what is at stake.
He finished by emphasising the high priority that he personally - and the Executive Board of UNESCO - attach to IHP adding that he has every confidence that it will continue to be a strong pillar of UNESCO's environmental programmes and will remain a major force for the promotion of science and education in the field of hydrology and water resources.
He concluded by thanking the participants for their active and focused participation, which he sees as a sign of their strong conviction that water is our common heritage, and that we all share the responsibility of protecting it for future generations.
Election of the Chairperson and Vice-ChairpersonsOn the first day of the IHP Council the Chairperson and Vice-Chairpersons were elected.
Mr. K. Takeuchi (Japan) was nominated as Chairperson of IHP. Mr. A. Afouda (Benin),
Ms. M. Endara S. (Panama), Mr. R. Feddes (Netherlands) and Mr. W. Strupczewski (Poland) were elected as Vice-Chairpersons. Together with the out-going Chairperson, Mr. Abu Zeid, they will form the IHP Bureau until the 14th Session of the IHP Council in 2000.
A group photograph of the
newly elected members of the IHP Bureau can be found
A short resumé of Mr. Takeuchi's career profile is:
Professor Kuniyoshi Takeuchi, was born in 1941, obtained his BS in 1966, his MS in 1968, his degree in Civil Engineering from the University of Tokyo, Japan in 1982, his MRP (Master of Regional Planning) in 1970 and his Ph.D in City and Regional Planning from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, USA in 1972. He worked as a research associate at the Department of Civil Engineering, Colorado State University, USA from 1971-72 and at the Department of Civil Engineering, Tokyo Institute of Technology, Japan from 1973-76. While on sabattical leave from 1975-1976, he worked as a research scholar at the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA), Austria. In 1977, he joined the Department of Environmental Engineering (now Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering), Yamanashi University, Kofu, Japan as an associate professor and since 1982 he has been a professor at the same university.
His major field of interest is hydrology and water resource systems. For many years, he has been working on reservoir operation and invented Drought Duration Curves for hydrological persistence statistics and reservoir operation. He was awarded the JSCE Research Promotion Award in 1975 for his work on the optimal control of a large scale reservoir system. His interests also cover hydrological statistics, remote sensing, satellite use for precipitation estimation and radar use for precipitation measurement and prediction. His current major interest is sustainable reservoir development and management. He is also extremely interested in humid tropics hydrology and the water resources of the Southeast Asia and the Pacific region. He is Secretary of the IHP Regional Steering Committee for Southeast Asia and the Pacific (RSC) and is one of the co-editors of the Catalogue of Rivers for Southeast Asia and the Pacific, volumes 1 and 2. He also leads the Asian Pacific FRIEND group and serves as its Co-ordinator.
He has worked for the following national and international scientific organizations:
Further details of the 13th Session of the IHP Intergovernmental Council can be found on the IHP Home Page or can be obtained from the IHP Secretariat.
Citation for the 1998 Tison Award recipientsThe Tison Award was presented during The International Conference on World Water Resources at the Beginning of the 21st Century, Water: a looming crisis? which took place at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris from 3-6 June 1998.
The 1998 Tison Award went to three Scandinavian hydrologists: Lena Tallaksen (Norway), Henrik Madsen (Denmark) and Bente Clausen (Denmark) for their joint paper, entitled On the definition and modelling of streamflow drought duration and deficit volume, published in Hydrological Sciences Journal, Vol. 42 NO. 1, February 1997, 15-33.
The work originates from the International FRIEND Project, a component of the UNESCO International Hydrological Programme (IHP). The work is a continuation of the excellent Scandinavian school of probabilistic and stochastic hydrology whose exponents are Professor Lars Gottschalk and Dr. Dan Rosbjerg, mentors of these laureates.
|We very much regret to announce the untimely death of Mr. Ludovit Molnar (Slovakia). Mr. Molnar will be remembered as an eminent scientist who contributed substantially to the advancement of hydrology both in the Slovak Republic and throughout the world. He was Vice-President of the Slovak Academy of Sciences and Chairman of the Slovak National Committee for IHP. He was also a member of the IHP Bureau from 1990-1992. He will also be remembered as a warm and fun-loving person with a word for everyone he came into contact with - he will be greatly mourned by all who knew him.|
It is with great sadness that we announce the tragic death of Rita Francesca Battista. Ms. Battista, an Italian philosopher, wrote a series of tales about water, inspired by mythology, which were exhibited together with the paintings of Giovanna Marini at the First World Water Forum in Marrakesh in March 1997. "Words about Water" were published as a Special Issue of the IHP Newsletter WATERWAY in June 1998.