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International Water and Environmental Assessments

These international projects focus on International Watershed Studies activities in environmental assessments aimed at identifying water-related problems on a global scale. They include development and application of comparative methodologies for assessing transboundary rivers, lakes, groundwater aquifers, large marine ecosystems and the open oceans. Another project involves the status of the water environment around the world, including linkages with other environmental components, and socioeconomic and environmental implications on a regional basis. These projects are meant to provide data and information to water scientists, managers and policymakers around the world to inform water-related decision-making.

  • Transboundary Waters Assessment Programme (TWAP) – The objective of this ongoing international project is the development and application of comparable methodologies for a global-scale assessment of transboundary rivers, lakes, groundwater aquifers, large marine ecosystems and open oceans, for the purpose of prioritizing ‘water systems at risk’. It also is meant to catalyze partnerships and arrangements for undertaking the global assessment on a continuing basis. The project manager is Walter Rast, IWS Director, in cooperation with the International Lake Environment Committee (ILEC), Shiga, Japan, and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). Further information on this project is available on the GEF/IW:LEARN website:

  • Global Environmental Outlook (GEO) – As a contribution to the fifth edition of UNEP’s biennial global-scale assessment of the state of the environment (GEO-5) prepared by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), Walter Rast, IWS Director, is a lead author of the Water Chapter. This document was launched at the global RIO+20 conference in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in June 2012. It is being distributed widely to scientists, policymakers and governments throughout the world. An electronic copy of GEO-5 can be downloaded from the UNEP website:

  • Evaluation of Global Environment Monitoring System (GEMS/Water) – Undertaken at the request of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), this project critically evaluated the effectiveness of UNEP’s Global Environmental Monitoring System – Water (GEMS/Water), the only global-scale water quality monitoring program. This assessment was presented to UNEP’s Internal Evaluation Unit, and was subsequently used in reorganizing of the GEMS/Water program structure.