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Anne A. van Dam
Department of Environmental Resources
UNESCO-IHE Institute for Water Education
Delft, The Netherlands

van Dam, A.A. 2006. The UNESCO-IHE Institute for Water Education: capacity building and research in integrated water resources management. In M. Halwart & A.A. van Dam, eds. Integrated irrigation and aquaculture in West Africa: concepts, practices and potential, pp. 167–168. Rome, FAO. 181 pp.


UNESCO-IHE in Delft, The Netherlands is an international institute for capacity building and training in water and environmental management and infrastructure. Its activities include implementation of education and research programmes and development of partnerships and networks of institutions and professionals involved in the water sector. UNESCO-IHE's international postgraduate programme consists of MSc, PhD, short courses and tailor-made training. Collaborative research programmes often contribute to capacity building of partner institutions through integration with MSc and PhD training.

UNESCO-IHE was established in 1957 as an international institute for training hydraulical engineers, funded by the government of The Netherlands. In 2001, it was established as the UNESCO-IHE Institute for Water Education with a mandate to strengthen and mobilise the global educational and knowledge base for integrated water resource management and to contribute to meeting the water-related capacity building needs of developing countries and countries in transition. UNESCO-IHE's mission therefore is to contribute to the education and training of professionals and build the capacity of knowledge centres and other organisations in the fields of water, environment and infrastructure.

To achieve this, UNESCO-IHE works with partners to do research in the context of integrated water resources management and aims at global dissemination and knowledge sharing. Activities include: (1) implementation of education, training and research programmes; (2) establishing and fostering partnerships between academic centres and professional organizations that offer education, training and research programmes at the local or regional level; (3) developing and maintaining global networks of collaborating institutes, and encouraging active participation in these networks of all professionals involved in the water sector.

UNESCO-IHE counts five academic departments: Water Engineering, Environ-mental Resources, Municipal Infrastructure, Management and Institutions, and Hydro- informatics and Knowledge Management. Currently the number of academic staff is about 90. The institute is based in Delft, The Netherlands.

The UNESCO-IHE Alumni network counts more than 12000 alumni representing more than 120 countries. Shortly, UNESCO-IHE will launch its Virtual Alumni Community portal, which will be a knowledge platform for water professionals. Among the networks initiated by UNESCO-IHE is the PoWER (Partnership for Water Education and Research) network through which partnerships of international and national organizations and institutions active in water resource management are initiated and supported.

The international postgraduate programme consists of an international Masters programme (18 month MSc), a PhD programme, short courses and tailor-made training. There are four international Masters programmes, each with a number of specializations: Water Management, Water Science and Engineering, Environmental Science, and Municipal Water and Infrastructure.

UNESCO-IHE's research projects contributes considerably to training and capacity building of the partner institutions. E.g., in the Fingerponds project (Chapter 11, this volume) two research assistants in the African partner countries are registered as PhD-students at UNESCO-IHE. In addition, several MSc-projects are being carried out under the project (see Table 1).

UNESCO-IHE is involved in a number of networks in the area of integrated water resource management. It has recently received a small grant to set up an internet-based knowledge platform for wetland professionals, in collaboration with the Wetlands Advisory and Training Centre (WATC) of the Netherlands Ministry of Transport, Public Works and Water Management, Wetlands International and the Netherlands Water Partnership (www. This platform will facilitate communication between wetland researchers and managers and promote learning and the flow of wetland knowledge. The partners in the Fingerponds and Ecotools (another EU-funded wetland research project in East Africa) projects will use the platform to exchange information about the project and share results with other wetland professionals.

Table 1. PhD and MSc-projects carried out under the auspices of the Fingerponds project (2003).

Project titleName of studentDegree type, end year, institutionCountry
Utilization of wetlands through integration of fingerponds into riparian farming systems in East AfricaJulius KipkemboiPhD, 2006, UNESCO-IHEKenya
The dynamics and importance of manure nutrient applications on phytoplankton and periphyton communities in an integrated aquaculture system in Uganda.Rose KaggwaPhD, 2006, UNESCO-IHEUganda
Fish stocks and comparative yields from East African self-stocked fingerpondsHieromin LamtanePhD, 2006, King's College, LondonTanzania
Performance of substrates in periphyton production in fingerpondsDeborah KasuleMSc, 2004, Makerere University, KampalaUganda
Effects of organic manure on sediment characteristics, nutrient dynamics and benthic macroinvertebrates composition in Lake Victoria fingerpondsCyrus KilonziMSc, 2003, UNESCO-IHEaKenya
The phytoplankton primary productivity, biomass (Chlorophyll a) and species composition in the fingerponds (Uganda)Grace SsanyuMSc, 2003, UNESCO-IHEaUganda
Extent of plankton colonisation (spatial and temporal) in fingerponds. Case study of Uganda fingerpondsAustin MtethiwaMSc, 2003, UNESCO-IHEUganda

a In collaboration with Institute of Limnology, Mondsee and University of Natural Resources and Applied Life Sciences, Vienna, Austria.

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