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 » The first ever binational water centre joins UNESCO
25.06.2016 - ODG

The first ever binational water centre joins UNESCO

From left to right: Mr Jorge Miguel Samek, Director-General of Itaipú Binacional for Brazil, Ms Irina Bokova, Director-General of UNESCO, and Mr James Spalding, Director-General of Itaipú Binacional for Paraguay.

UNESCO and Itaipu Binacional signed on 24 June an agreement in order to formalize the recognition of the International Centre on Hydroinformatics for Integrated Water Resources Management (CIH) as a Category 2 Centre under the auspices of UNESCO. The agreement was signed by the Director-General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova; the Director-General of Itaipú Binacional for Paraguay, Mr James Spalding; and the Director-General of Itaipú Binacional for Brazil, Mr Jorge Miguel Samek.

“This project translates into action UNESCO's mandate of building bridges for dialogue and foster scientific cooperation. It is also an important example of the  benefits of South-South cooperation to meet the challenges of the 21th century", said the Director-General.

"Itaipú not only produces clean renewable energy, it also fulfills a social responsability, inviting communities to complete government's actions in line with the United Nations mandate and the 2030 Agenda for sustainable development", declared Mr. James Spalding.

"UNESCO can count on Itaipú, which, as a citizen company, considers that the challenges of the region are Itaipú concerns", declared Mr Jorge Samek.

The International Centre on Hydroinformatics (CIH), created through a partnership between the Brazilian and Paraguayan Governments with UNESCO’s support, is already operational and contributing actively to UNESCO’s International Hydrological Programme (IHP). It is part of a much broader cooperation that has flourished between the two neighboring countries since the 1970s to build the world’s largest generator of renewable energy: Itaipú dam, a hydro-power plant on the border between Paraguay and Brazil that captures the energy of the Paraná River. Today Itaipú dam accounts for almost 80% of the energy generated in Paraguay and 20 % of the energy generated in Brazil.

The CIH is a scientific water-related centre that focuses on environmental management and the appropriate and rational use of natural resources by developing innovative solutions and hydroinformatics tools. Capacity building and knowledge-sharing is also an important part of the centre’s mandate. The experience and knowledge developed in Itaipú is unique, and the CIH’s efforts to develop innovative solutions in the field of water management and energy generation is increasingly important in the light of the adaptation to climate change many countries currently face.

Besides being an important electrical power producer in South America and in the world, Itaipú Binacional has one of the most complete regional environmental programmes, with a remarkable community participation.The agreement  signed today in Itaipú goes hand in hand with a tripartite agreement between UNESCO, Brazil and Paraguay, which will be signed in a next phase, upon which the CIH will officially join UNESCO’s 28 water-related centres under the auspices of UNESCO. 

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