The UNEP-DHI Partnership - Centre on Water and Environment is a United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) centre of expertise dedicated to improving the management, development and use of freshwater resources from the local to the global level. UNEP-DHI is hosted at DHI, an independent, international consulting and research-based not-for-profit foundation of more than 1200 employees, with offices in 30 countries, and with more than 50 years of experience in water resources management. Since its inception in 1996, UNEP-DHI has become a core resource for UNEP’s work on freshwater issues and in delivering UNEP’s Programmes of Work. UNEP-DHI’s ability to draw on DHI’s expertise in water and project implementation, as well as those of a broad network of partners, is one of its greatest strengths. 

The on-going Phase 4 of the UNEP-DHI Partnership Centre (2013 - 2015) is aligned with the recent UNEP Operational Strategy for Freshwater (2012-2016).The main focus of the UNEP-DHI will continue to be the promotion of IWRM principles and practices with emphasis on ecosystem based management of freshwater resources and in the coastal zone, in support of UNEP’s Sub-Programme 3 on Ecosystem Management. The UNEP-DHI will furthermore support the development of decision support systems to cope with adverse impacts on the water resource of climate variability and change (Sub-Programme 1) and support UNEP’s role in global assessments of water resources (Sub-Programme 7).

Phase 3 of the UNEP-DHI Partnership (previously UNEP-DHI Centre) concluded in 2013. In addition to providing technical and process support to the formulation of the UNEP Operational Strategy for Freshwater (2012-2016) some of the most notable achievements during the 3rd phase of the UNEP-DHI were:

  • Country and regional support in water resources management: providing direct support by facilitating the development and use of policy, planning, legal and institutional frameworks, as well as management instruments, aimed at promoting sustainable water resources management in more than 20 countries including Togo, Liberia, Côte d’Ivoire, Burundi (IWRM plans), Guinea Bissau, Guinea, Gambia, Sierra Leone (IWRM roadmaps), Rwanda (post-conflict assessment), Bhutan (Water Resources Inventory), Cambodia, Mozambique, Honduras, and San Salvador (climate change and water resources planning), and countries of the Nile, Volta, Congo Basin (climate change planning and institutional frameworks).
  • Key Global Assessments: UNEP-DHI was responsible for or played a significant role in the development of a number of global assessments that have been used as a knowledge-base of decision-making, raising awareness amongst stakeholders, and providing information on threats trends and emerging issues. Examples include the leading contribution on water to the UNEP 5th Global Environmental Outlook (2012); the leading contribution on water quality to the UN 4th World Water Development Report (2012); leading the coordination of the UN-Water Report on the assessment of global water resources management for use by the Commission on Sustainable Development at Rio+20 (2012); the role of lead author of the report on the assessment of water resources management in Africa for use by the African Ministers council on Water at Africa Water Week (2012); and one of the Lead Coordinators developing the Transboundary Waters Assessment Methodology for the GEF.
  • Capacity Building: More than 500 stakeholders from multiple sectors in more than 40 countries have received training in various aspects of water resources management from the UNEP-DHI. Examples include development and testing of a training curriculum on water pollution for technical experts from Burundi, DRC, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, South Africa, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zimbabwe, Sri Lanka, India, and Pakistan; training of national trainers in climate change and water resources management in Thailand; and development and testing of a training curriculum on drought management for East African and Latin American academics and government representatives.
  • Strategic Re-focussing and Leveraging: In response to requests from both UNEP and DHI, and in preparation of Phase 4, the Centre began to draw more upon the expertise in DHI relating to hydro-climatological modelling, and state of the art Decision Support Systems. The Centre played a facilitating role in the execution of a climate-related project involving all Nile Basin countries, and will soon begin to execute a GEF project developing flood and drought management tools for transboundary river basins. Both these projects have leveraged considerable resources outside the core budget. In the final two years of the 3rd phase the Centre leveraged more than double the amount of core funding to finance activities contributing to the expected results.