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Institute for Water Education (IHE-Delft)

U.S. Grants $2.95 million for UNESCO Water Project in the Middle East and North Africa

View of spate irrigation flow in Siham, Yemen. © Abraham Mehari Haile

View of spate irrigation flow in Siham, Yemen. © Abraham Mehari Haile

The U.S. Mission to UNESCO is pleased to announce that the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has awarded a $2.95 million grant to UNESCO’s Institute for Water Education (IHE-Delft) for the creation of a “collaborative knowledge network” aimed at improving the management of groundwater in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) Region.  The MENA region includes Lebanon, Tunisia, Jordan, Algeria, the Palestinian Territories, Egypt, Morocco, Iraq, Yemen, Israel, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Bahrain, Kuwait and Oman.

The goals of Groundwater Sub-Net MENA are: to facilitate groundwater research in key areas of importance, strengthen groundwater capacity through training and scientific exchange, and create a dialogue between researchers and policy makers on groundwater management. These activities will bridge the gap between research and policy by addressing real-life groundwater problems of immediate interest to policy makers.  The project’s research will be used to develop policy and planning tools that can be easily used and adapted by relevant government agencies.  Ultimately, this project will improve access to clean water and preserve water resources in a region where they are increasingly scarce.

Development of the three-year project will take place at the Institute for Water Education (IHE-Delft), a UNESCO Category 1 Institute, with support from research institutions in the U.S., the Netherlands, and the Middle East/North Africa region. A consortium organized around the United States’ Category 2 Institute, the International Center for Integrated Water Resource Management (ICIWaRM), was actively involved in the grant application process and will continue to complement the work of the sub-network and provide expertise throughout its implementation. ICIWaRM is headquartered at the U.S. Army Engineer Institute for Water Resources (IWR) in Alexandria, Virginia and has been under the auspices of UNESCO since October 2009.