Skip to main content



The International Hydrological Programme (IHP) is the only intergovernmental programme of the UN system devoted to water research, water resources management, and education and capacity building. Since its inception in 1975, IHP has evolved from an internationally coordinated hydrological research programme into an encompassing, holistic programme to facilitate education and capacity building, and enhance water resources management and governance. IHP is implemented in six-year programmatic phases, currently in its eighth phases (IHP VIII).

IHP’s primary objectives are:

  • To act as a vehicle through which the Member States, cooperating professional and scientific organizations and individual experts can upgrade their knowledge of the water cycle, thereby increasing their capacity to better manage and develop their water resources
  • To develop techniques, methodologies and approaches to better define hydrological phenomena
  • To improve water management, locally and globally
  • To act as a catalyst to stimulate cooperation and dialogue in water science and management
  • To assess the sustainable development of vulnerable water resources
  • To serve as a platform for increasing awareness of global water issues.

IHP-IX: Science for a Water Secure World, in a changing environment

Water, the connector

The UNESCO Member States adopted the Strategic Plan of IHP-IX in June 2021 at the 24th Intergovernmental IHP Council. The ninth phase of the Intergovernmental Hydrological Programme was entitled "Science for a Water Secure World in a Changing Environment" from 2022 to 2029.

The Strategic Plan for the IHP-IX identifies key water priority areas to support Members States to achieve the 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), besides other water-related global agendas like the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, Sendai Framework on Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) and the New Urban Agenda (UNA).

IHP-IX Key Objectives:
  • Water: Transversal key to achieving 2030 Agenda and the SDGs

  • Water, central to the climate crisis

  • Understanding water across disciplines, sectors and cultures

  • Water use that leaves no one behind

  • Together for a peaceful and water secure world

The ninth phase (IHP-IX) represents a methodological response towards transdisciplinarity aimed to generate solutions.

It's priority areas are represented as 5 informative tools:
  1. Scientific Research and Innovation
    • Incorporating human interactions with nature in the context of complex water science and management problems
  2. Water education in 4th Industrial Revolution including Sustainability
    • Addressing complex interconnected water challenges by the end of this decade
  3. Bridging the data-knowledge gap
    • Transparency and  accessibility of data are among the main pillars that sustain the advancement of open science – a coming commitment of UNESCO. Hydrological measurements are essential for decision-making and sustainable water resources management.
  4. Integrated water resourced management under conditions of global change
    • Achieving water security while protecting its quality
  5. Water governance based on science
    • for mitigation, adaptation and resilience