UNESCO-IHE is the world’s largest postgraduate training facility in the fields of integrated water management, and the only unit within the United Nations system with the authority to confer accredited MSc and PhD degrees (the latter in collaboration with selected Dutch universities) in environmental science, water management, urban water and sanitation, and water science and engineering.
One of the comparative strengths of UNESCO-IHE is its solution-oriented focus, while maintaining a balance between engineering and other scientific disciplines.
Since its foundation as a Dutch institute in 1957, the Institute has graduated more than 14,500 individuals from 163 countries at the MEng and MSc levels and over 100 at the PhD level.
Approximately 97% of the Institute’s graduates return to their countries of origin to assume positions of responsibility. UNESCO-IHE regards its alumni as ambassadors, enabling the Institute to maintain access to and involvement with client governments.
Tailor-made training courses
The development and implementation of customised training courses on demand is one of UNESCO-IHE’s core competencies. Short courses can be arranged to upgrade the knowledge and skills of senior experts, to refresh their knowledge base or to provide exposure to applications of conventional, modern and new technologies.
UNESCO-IHE also offers special training courses to groups facing specific problems at regional or national levels, such as transboundary issues involving water, the environment or infrastructure.
Research and development
UNESCO-IHE’s scientific research and development activities, including PhD research, focus on priority areas of immediate concern to developing countries and countries in transition.
These activities also aim to contribute to the overall knowledge base in a wide range of fields covered by each of UNESCO-IHE’s five themes: water security, environmental integrity, urbanisation, water management and governance, and information and communication systems.
UNESCO-IHE offers a wide range of expertise to facilitate institutional or organisational reform programmes. UNESCO-IHE’s experts can contribute, for example, to training needs assessments, human resources development strategy development, training courses, and decentralisation strategies.
UNESCO-IHE can also provide support in strengthening in-house training centres, developing curricula, upgrading laboratory facilities, setting up research projects, staff development and retraining, administrative and management staff training, as well as the marketing of academic courses and services.
UNESCO-IHE’s experts have contributed to a number of international and national policy discussions on strategies for water and environmental management and urban mobility.
In recent years, UNESCO-IHE staff have been involved in the preparation of policy documents for events such as the UNDP Symposia on Strategies for Water Sector Capacity Building and the World Water Fora.
The Institute has also made significant contributions to the development of policy documents for multilateral and bilateral agencies. At the national level, UNESCO-IHE experts are available to assist governments in formulating conceptual frameworks for sector policies and management.
UNESCO-IHE’s staff members frequently participate in identification, formulation, appraisal, monitoring and evaluation teams for development projects.
In large-scale engineering projects, the Institute can also mobilise its professors and senior staff for the formation of ‘winning teams’ within international consortia consisting of consulting firms or contractors. UNESCO-IHE experts take assignments for developing training and research components of such projects, and /or contribute to feasibility studies or model calibration and evaluations.
Due to the independent status of the Institute, its staff is highly suitable for ‘second opinion’ assignments or for providing guidance in tendering procedures.