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close this bookCentral Eurasian Water Crisis: Caspian, Aral, and Dead Seas (UNU, 1998, 203 pages)
close this folderPart V: International organizations and inland seas
close this folder12. The role of international organizations in the integrated management of international water bodies: The activities of the UNU, UNEP, and the World Bank in the Middle East
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentInternational water bodies require integrated management
View the documentThe need for international efforts and a role for international organizations
View the documentThe UNU: Accomplishments to promote sound management of international waters
View the documentAssistance given by UNEP and the World Bank to the Aral Sea programme
View the documentProgramme for the Caspian Sea basin as an international effort
View the documentConclusions
View the documentReferences

The UNU: Accomplishments to promote sound management of international waters

The UNU is an autonomous academic organization under the United Nations umbrella. Environment and sustainable development form one of its five major areas of concentration. The programme area entitled "Environment" responds to the United Nations' Agenda 21. The overall objectives of UNU activities in the field of management of international waters focus on the comprehensive and objective study of regions that share major international water bodies, with a view to providing bases for the sustainable environmental and political management of critical resources (Uitto, 1995).

The UNU Middle East Water Forum was organized, together with the International Water Resources Association (IWRA) and UNEP, in Cairo in February 1993. Participants invited to the Forum in their private capacities (27 leading authorities on Middle East waters) discussed the complex problems of sharing the limited water resources available in a very arid region (Biswas, 1994; Murakami, 1995; Wolf, 1995). Participants found the Forum useful in terms of developing personal contacts, new ideas, and an improved understanding of many technical facts. As a result of the Forum, the Middle East Water Commission was established.

Another UNU activity relates to environmental management of the Aral Sea region. The Aral Sea has been one of the regions studied under the UNU project on "Critical Zones in Global Environmental Change" (Kasperson et al., 1995). As an international (but not as an intergovernmental) academic institute, the UNU, through its global networks of scholars, has been actively involved in the identification of problems and solutions to water issues in the Middle East and other regions.