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Water Centers Category II of UNESCO

CAZALAC is part of the Water-related Centres under the auspices of UNESCO

The water-related centres under the auspices of UNESCO (category 2) work on relevant thematic and geographic priorities in their areas of expertise. Since Member States have realized the potential of these centres, the network has been rapidly expanding. “The Water Center is conceived as an organization to coordinate /articulate scientific and technological actions aimed at attaining sustainable water management in arid and semi-arid zones in Latin America and the Caribbean.”

The Latin America and The Caribbean (LAC) Region.

The total area of arid and semi-arid zones in Latin America and the Caribbean covers approximately 4.5 million square kilometers, including 22 countries from Mexico to Tierra del Fuego. A large portion of the population that inhabits these territories lives under poverty conditions in environments subjected to strong desertification processes, mainly due to water shortage and the lack of an appropriate knowledge on water management and preservation. Additionally, recurrent droughts make this condition even worse. The Region shows a critical need of developing sound water management techniques in arid and semi-arid zones, through an integral approach that includes technical, social and cultural aspects. However, there was no regional center in LAC to systematically address the severe problems caused by these extreme conditions of water shortage and impairment in arid and semi-arid environments. Therefore, CAZALAC’s operations will contribute to dramatically increase effort coordination and the identification of suitable strategies for the future. At a regional level, it is expected that the Center’s operations will have the following results: Improve the quality of life of people living in arid and semi-arid zones in LAC; contribute to attain sustainable development in the Region, by encouraging the generation and dissemination of the required knowledge regarding water management and preservation in areas affected by water shortage.

General Objective:

To reinforce the Region’s technical, social and educational development based on an improved water management and use in arid and semi-arid zones in Latin America and the Caribbean and, in addition, to increase the role of local communities in developing a water culture.

 Specific Objectives:

  • To promote scientific research on water issues and water management problems in arid and semi-arid zones in Latin America and the Caribbean.
  • To encourage greater contact among researchers working in water resources in the Region.
  • To disseminate results from research developed on water resources in arid and semi-arid zones of the Region.
  • To provide education and training on a sound water management and to encourage improving the capacities of regional scientists.
  • To establish a sustainable water management program in pilot areas in the Region, following the Dublin principles.



The Center’s activities directly benefit 22 countries, including Mexico, that show arid and semi-arid zones in Latin America and the Caribbean. In South America, 25.4% of the territory is arid and semi-arid, including 9 countries in this sector of the continent. Central America has 2 countries with 7.8% of their areas showing these environments and ten island-states in the Caribbean that have 20.5% of their territory with arid and semi-arid zones. The following may be highlighted among direct beneficiaries: Research Centers existing in the Region, which will be encouraged to increase or undertake new research projects on arid and semi-arid zones issues as a result of CAZALAC’s catalyzing or synergic effect. Productive companies linked to these zones (mining, tourism, agriculture, etc.), which will be provided with a wider technological basis as a result of the guidance supplied by the Center on some key considerations on water resources development and management. National and local governments, which will have an improved capacity to respond to their tax-payers demands, since better tools to predict and mitigate disasters will be available and will contribute to attain a more productive and sustainable use of natural resources. Local populations, who will have improved access to technological development, which will help to alleviate poverty and decrease nature risks. Professionals and technicians linked to water management, who will increase their ability to face the system’s technical, economic and social requirements through education and training. 

UNESCO Centers Category II in LAC Region

  • CAZALAC (Chile) Water Centre for Arid and Semi-Arid Zones in Latin America and the CaribbeanOrganization to coordinate scientific and technological actions aimed at attaining sustainable water management in arid and semi-arid zones in Latin America and the Caribbean. (+info)
  • CIH (Brazil-Paraguay) - International Centre on Hydroinformatics Multidisciplinary field of study that addresses environmental, social and technological issues, to improve water and environmental resources management at regional levels. (+info)
  • HidroEX (Brazil) International Centre for Education, Capacity Building and Applied Research in Water Centre that develops and execute programmes related to effective management of water, capacity building and education at all levels. (+info)
  • Regional Centre on Urban Water Management for Latin America and the Caribbean (Colombia). Promotes research on various aspects related to water management in urban areas, taking into account the specific needs of countries of the region. (+info)
  • CEHICA (Dominican Republic) Centre for the Sustainable Management of Water Resources in the Caribbean Island States Specialized center in generating and disseminating scientific and technological knowledge related to sustainable water management in the Caribbean Islands, in order to improve capacities for more efficient use of water resources. (+info)