UNESCO’s Intergovernmental Hydrological Programme (IHP) in partnership with the IHE Delft Institute for Water Education launched an Open Online Course on Programming for Geospatial Hydrology Applications on 2 March 2021 during a webinar attended by over 300 participants from across the globe (majority from southern Africa).
In his remarks, UNESCO Regional Director for Southern Africa, Professor Hubert Gijzen stressed the value of water to life. He indicated the gap that exists in water resources management in southern Africa and the need to cover the gap in order to ensure water security and improve sustainable water management.
Professor Gijzen highlighted that capacity development in geological technologies such as Geographic Information System (GIS) and remote sensing is essential in understanding water resources management. He told the audience that the webinar was the first step in UNESCO and IHE Delft’s efforts to close the gap that exists in this field by introducing participants to the fundamental skills that researchers need when working with spatial data. He highlighted UNESCO’s contribution to establishing a scientific knowledge base and helping its member states to sustainably manage their water resources in line with its policy on open educational resources and open science
Speaking at the same occasion, Rector of IHE Delft Institute for Water Prof. Eddy J. Moors, also highlighted the importance of reducing capacity gaps in water management. He said the online course was important as it combines the three Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) accelerators highlighted by the Secretary-General on capacity building, innovation, and improvement of data and information. He urged participants to not only take up the course but also to further contribute to the research agenda.
The online course was developed under the UNESCO project on Enhancing Climate Services for Improved Water Management (CLiMWaR project) which seeks to build capacities of national and regional stakeholders to transfer the knowledge and technology for climate services.
The webinar was attended by water managers, engineers, academics, and representatives from government departments related to water resources.