From April 26 to 29, the 25th session of the Intergovernmental Council of UNESCO's Intergovernmental Hydrological Programme (IHP) was held successfully at UNESCO headquarters in Paris, France. The attendees included more than 30 Member States, as well as the water-related departments of the UN, IHP National Committees and key partners. The session was presided over by Yu Zhongbo, Chairperson of the IHP's Intergovernmental Council, professor of Hohai University and Director of State Key Laboratory of Hydrology-Water Resources and Hydraulic Engineering. It is the first time for a Chinese representative to chair the session. Shamila Nair-Bedouelle, Assistant Director General for the Natural Sciences of UNESCO attended the session and delivered a welcome speech.
IHP is the most important international intergovernmental organization in the field of hydrology in the world, and the sessions of its Intergovernmental Council are the most significant events of the organization. The 25th session deliberated the report on the implementation of the resolutions and decisions adopted at the 24th ordinary and 4th Extraordinary sessions of the IHP Intergovernmental Council. Member States were provided with information on the reporting process of main achievements of IHP-VIII(2014-2021). The session discussed the statements of Member States and partners in contributing to IHP-IX(2022-2029) implementation, IHP Flagships and Major Initiatives framework, and their contribution to the implementation of IHP-IX. IHP involvement in relevant high-level events towards 2023 UN conference on water was reported. The session adopted the Framework for the Planning, Implementation and Monitoring of IHP Flagship Initiatives and approved the establishment of eight thematic working groups and related terms of reference in support of the operational implementation of IHP-IX.
Prof. Yu has participated in preparing the Strategic Plan of IHP-IX (2022-2029) and its Implementation Plan throughout the whole process, and proactively facilitated holding major meetings of IHP, which was recognized by the Council, the Secretariat and Member States. He called for continued cooperation among all Member States and UNESCO's extended water family, including UNESCO category 2 Institutes and Centres, IHP National Committees, Chairpersons and key partners. Hopefully, they will jointly formulate sound, feasible science-based policies, address complex water resources challenges in a changing environment, enhance capacity development and knowledge reserve, and mobilize all resources to support the implementation of IHP-IX, in a bid to realize the common vision of scientifically building a water secure world in a changing environment. In addition, he noted that IHP, as a science and education programme, will be committed to contributing to the 2030 Agenda, the SDG 6 Global Acceleration Framework, the Water Action Decade and 2023 UN conference on water.
China has long been an active participant in the work of IHP, asl well as an active partner and vital contributor to IHP. Chinese National Committee for the IHP of UNESCO was established in 1979. Under the IHP framework, China and UNESCO have conducted fruitful cooperation in water science research, water education and training, and water culture exchanges. The country will strengthen dialogue and cooperation in the implementation of IHP-IX, and establish Chinese sub-committees focusing on the five priority areas and eight interdisciplinary thematic working groups to gather experts, so as to support and participate in the implementation of IHP-IX. China will expand talent training and research cooperation with Member States, found the Belt and Road Science and Technology Fund to continuously provide support for talent training and research cooperation in the field of water in Member States, and promote water-related science and technology training of young experts to help train and build capacity of young talent in the field of water around the world. At the same time, international water-related events will be actively staged to promote international academic exchanges and mutual learning among water civilizations. With a view to building a community with a shared future for mankind, China will share with Member States its ideas, knowledge and experience on water governance, and the achievements of global water science research and development, so as to make positive contributions to achieving the water-related goals of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.