News.Mar 26, 2015

Water cooperation centre impresses Swedish Minister

On March 23, SIWI hosted the inauguration of Sweden’s first UNESCO Category II Centre, the International Centre for Water Cooperation (ICWC). In attendance were Swedish Minister for Education, Gustav Fridolin and representatives from UNESCO Sverige, UNESCO-IHP, Uppsala University and Gothenburg University. Minister Fridolin reiterated the government’s commitment to working with water cooperation issues, in particular cooperation over transboundary waters.

He was impressed by the progress made by the Centre thus far. “I wanted to wish you all good luck but it seems you don’t need it. Some great work is already well underway”, he said.

SIWI Executive Director, Torgny Holmgren and UNESCO International Hydrological Programme Department Chief, Alice Aureli spoke about the importance of water cooperation in the context of current global development and security challenges. SIWI and ICWC Director, Therese Sjömander Magnusson introduced the scope of the centre and the potential opportunities its research presents.

The management of global water resources is an important issue affecting every country in the world, some more critically than others. Earlier this week, Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan signed a historic agreement regarding water cooperation in the Nile river. (Watch SIWI interview on the topic with Al Jazeera Inside Story). SIWI contributes to water cooperation discussion like those that lead to this agreement, providing strategic advice, sharing knowledge and facilitating meetings between basin actors.

The ICWC is the first Category II Centre in the world to focus on the relationship between transboundary water and peace, conflict and development. Its goal is to create understanding for how transboundary water can act as a catalyst for cooperation and peace-building and inform policy. Sweden has a strong research tradition around water, conflict and cooperation, and in collaboration with Uppsala University, the ICWC has set up the Research School for International Water Cooperation. Three PhD students from different corners of the world are now conducting water cooperation-related research through the School.

The ICWC was established by an agreement between SIWI, UNESCO and the Swedish Government.