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Vision, Mission & Strategy

Building on a knowledge network that catalyzes solutions for water challenges will be an essential task for the water sector. UNESCO-IHE recognizes that meeting these global challenges requires a strong foundation of knowledge to improve water management practices.


UNESCO-IHE envisions a world in which people manage their water and environmental resources in a sustainable manner, and in which all sectors of society, particularly the poor, can enjoy the benefits of basic services.


The mission of UNESCO-IHE is to contribute to the education and training of professionals, to expand the knowledge base through research and to build the capacity of sector organizations, knowledge centers and other institutions active in the fields of water, the environment and infrastructure in developing countries and countries in transition.


The Institute has three main goals:

  • Develop innovation, provide new knowledge, and promote the uptake of technologies and policies that will address the issues of the global water agenda, in particular those related to the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and the post 2015 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs);
  • Seek, evaluate and facilitate responses for the sustainable management of water, to meet the needs of all sectors of society, particularly the poor;
  • Strengthen and promote principles of good governance that drive institutional and management change to support the sustainable management of water.


Water will be one of the most important issues of the 21st century. How should water be managed 40 years from now in a world inhabited by more than 9 billion people? This and many other questions demand direct action. Water is critical to the world’s prosperity and environmental sustainability. Safe drinking water and appropriate sanitation are vital factors in human health and quality of life. More than half the population already lives in cities, and this number will only increase. UNESCO-IHE’s strategic plan recognizes that addressing global challenges such as poverty, climate change and public health requires a strong foundation of knowledge to improve water management practices.

Gender policy

UNESCO-IHE is a category 1 institute and implements the gender policy of UNESCO. The gender dimension of science and technology has become one of the most important and debated issues worldwide. Over the past 30 years, the United Nations General Assembly and UN Economic and Social Commission (ECOSOC) have emphasized issues related to inequalities, insufficiencies and disparities in the access of women to education, training and the labour market.

Various major international initiatives on the subject have been undertaken, including the United Nations Decades on Women and Development (1975–1995), and special attention has been directed towards the role of women in science and technology. Gender equality is one of the eight United Nations Millennium Development Goals, which clearly call for action related to science, technology and gender.

In this context, and given its mandate in Science, UNESCO is expected to play a major role in addressing the above-mentioned issues, implementing related recommendations and advocating and affirming the crucial role of women and the gender dimension in science and technology through its programmes and activities.

Read more on the Gender and Disaster Risk Reducation programme of UNESCO.