Creation of the International Centre for Interdisciplinary Research on Water Systems Dynamics under the auspices of UNESCO

UNESCO and France have formalized the creation in Montpellier of the International Centre for Interdisciplinary Research on Water Systems Dynamics (ICIReWaRD) which will provide expertise, carry out research and training actions in management and governance, of water science and technology in vulnerable regions, focusing in particular on problems linked to rapid urbanization, demographic pressure and the foreseeable effects of climate change.

This research institute, within the University of Montpellier, will promote partnerships in the field of research and training, in order to strengthen the capacities of Member States. It also aims to train future professionals with the skills and expertise to tackle complex water issues.

The promoters of this new institute aim to strengthen a North-South, South-South and triangular collaboration that is solid and fruitful for water security in Mediterranean countries, the Middle East and Africa. The research centre will help the Intergovernmental Hydrological Programme to develop the capacities of Member States to tackle water problems in a world where challenges as well as opportunities multiply, according to UNESCO.

ICIReWaRD-Montpellier, which aims to be one of the most important scientific centres in its field at the global level, both by the diversity of its research and training themes as well as by the influence of its teams, will bring together around 400 researchers and 150 doctoral students belonging to 16 research units.

The creation of this new “category 2” centre under the auspices of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization was approved by its 40th General Conference in November 2019. It strengthens the UNESCO Water Family, a global network of 36 centres and 63 chairs specializing in the study and management of water.

Unlike category 1, category 2 institutes and centres are not legally part of the Organization but are associated with it. They are committed to participating in the achievement of UNESCO’s strategic programme objectives and are funded directly by the Member States that host them. As for the Intergovernmental Hydrological Programme (IHP), it is the only intergovernmental programme of the United Nations system devoted to water research, water resources management, as well as education and capacity development.