Press release

Agreement sees Dundee’s water expertise recognised

Published on 22 December 2020

A University of Dundee research institute that promotes global development through good water governance has had its prestigious UNESCO designation renewed for another six years.

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A University of Dundee research institute that promotes global development through good water governance has had its prestigious UNESCO designation renewed for another six years.

Dundee’s Centre for Water Law, Policy and Science was officially established in 2008 by agreement between the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and the UK Government, in partnership with the Scottish Government.

In 2018, the Scottish Government awarded £687,500 to the Centre as part of its Hydro Nation International programme. The UNESCO designation was renewed as part of the third and final tranche of this funding.

Globally, many regions are facing water shortages, problems with water quality, and issues of water security. Many countries and regions are also trying to address the challenges of developing efficient and equitable water governance systems. The Centre is committed, along with local and global partners, to solving these problems.

Andrew Allan, Director of the Centre for Water Law, Policy and Science under the auspices of UNESCO, said, “Access to clean water is a basic human right but, sadly, this is not the case for millions of people around the world and this situation is set to worsen as a result of climate change and environmental degradation.

“This funding and the renewal of our status will enable us to develop international partnerships to tackle issues around water supply and quality, and we have set a number of ambitious targets for education, research and outreach work.”

Category 2 institutes and centres under the auspices of UNESCO form a global network of institutions of excellence that contribute to the implementation of the organisation’s strategic priorities, programmes, and global development agendas.

Dundee is the only UNESCO Category 2 Centre in the UK and one of only two in the world working in the field of water law, policy and science. Its expertise is recognised as a vital resource by governments and organisations around the world.

Staff work on some of the world's most urgent problems across multiple sectors and environments, and maintain links to an international network of water scholars.

The Scottish Government’s Hydro Nation International programme seeks to maximise the value of the country’s water resources by sharing knowledge and collaborating with other countries to grow the international water economy. This includes exporting Scotland's expertise in water governance and management and delivering projects with partners in key international territories to support the aims of the Hydro Nation strategy.

Roseanna Cunningham, Cabinet Secretary for Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform, said, “I am pleased that the prestigious UNESCO Centre for Water Law Policy and Science at the University of Dundee has been re-confirmed in its role tackling some of the world’s most pressing water resource issues. 

“The continued presence of the Centre is evidence of Scotland’s profile as a Hydro Nation and a truly global centre of excellence in water knowledge, research and practice.  I wish the Centre every success.”

While support currently comes from the Scottish Government, the Centre also competes for external grant income from diverse sources, including national and international donor agencies, Governments, research councils, and non-governmental organisations. Currently, ongoing research initiatives are directly relevant to many of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and particularly to Goal 6 – to 'ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all'.


Grant Hill

Senior Public Affairs Officer

+44 (0)1382 384768