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Development Account Projects

Capacity-building to improve water management and accelerate investments in the water sector

Background:

There is an urgent need in developing countries to improve water resources management and water services, and to accelerate sustainable investments in the water sector, at the pace of demographic trends. Policy development, networking of national experts, information exchange and dissemination of proven experiences are essential for the implementation of UN conference recommendations related to water issues. Despite current efforts and initiatives in the water sector, many barriers need to be removed in order to accelerate sustainable investments. New, concrete support is needed at the local level. Distance learning and exchange of information electronically can contribute to capacity building in water management and sustainable water investments.

Objective:

To develop national capacities and implement national water strategies in developing countries at the local level

Expected accomplishments:

  • A network of national, basin and local institutions involved in the water sector will be established
  • The exchange of information and experience among five international river basin organizations will be enhanced
  • A United Nations virtual learning centre on water will be set up

Effects and Impact:

During the pilot phase of the Project, an innovative and globally-unique core curriculum was developed on Integrated Water Resource Management (IWRM) and electronic training materials and a resource databank were prepared. This 10-course, 250-hour programme employs innovative software, named StudySpace, specifically designed for the dissemination of the courses and for modification and customization of curriculum content to particular regional needs.

The Project has also resulted in the creation of the Water Virtual Learning Centre (WVLC) which facilitates the dissemination of the core curriculum by Internet and supports three regional centres, which are being established to ensure a focus on the developing world.Following extended negotiations, formal agreements were successfully concluded for the establishment of the first three delivery centres with the University of Ghana (UG), Ghana, the University of the South Pacific (USP) in Fiji and at the Asian Institute for Technology (AIT) in Thailand. Two large-scale databases have also been developed to support the curriculum. The first contains data and information that will be used by the students as enrichment materials for the courses and as source materials for assignments. The second is a repository of references to additional potential course materials that are being used during course customization by the Regional Centres. The general resource database will be further expanded throughout the entire pilot phase of the program as regional input accelerates. Furthermore, three pilot electronic networks in Africa, South East Asia and the South Pacific were established by providing equipment and relevant training to selected regional training institutions.