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About Capacity Development

UNESCO-IHE strives to strengthen the programmes of universities and research institutes as well as the knowledge and capacity base of ministries and other water sector organizations in Africa, South-America and Asia/Pacific.

We do this by training water professionals on-the-job, creating water education networks, joint research, policy advice, distance & e-learning, participation in innovative projects and facilitating knowledge sharing.

Water supply, sanitation and water resources are affected not only by climate change, rising demands for water and increasing pollution of sources but also by weak human and institutional capacity. Developing countries and countries in transition are often ill-equipped to tackle problems and to play their role in international negotiations and sustainable development, which sustains a situation of dependency.

Building strong local and regional education and research environments to educate future water leaders and creating adequate institutions enabling the sound management of water resources are at UNESCO-IHE's core.

Levels of capacity development

Our goal is to increase the capacity of people and organizations to identify and solve their water-related problems over time. UNESCO-IHE undertakes capacity development at three different levels: the individual, organizations and the enabling environment. Organizational capacity is fostered by co-creating knowledge and capacity interventions to help improve organizational performance and learning.

To address the individual level, UNESCO-IHE strengthens knowledge institutions in developing countries and assists them in developing and implementing their water education and research programmes. In this way, UNESCO-IHE ensures that high-quality and up-to-date water programmes become more accessible and affordable for many individuals. In addition, UNESCO-IHE supports sector organizations and the development of an enabling environment where people and organizations can prosper.


Read the stories from our partners, alumni and staff on our capacity development impact.


Browse through our capacity development projects around the world.


Visit the Knowledge & Capacity Development chair group.


Meet our capacity development experts:

Guy Alaerts, Professor of Capacity Building
Uta Wehn de Montalvo, Senior Researcher and Programme Coordinator K&CD
Carel Keuls, Advisor Knowledge Management
Jan Luijendijk, Programme Manager CD/Knowledge Manager