International Hydrological Decade


Cambodia - stamp International Hydrological Decade 1967UNESCO’s action in the field of water resources began in 1965, when it launched the International Hydrological Decade, the first worldwide program focusing on hydrological studies. In 1975, this pioneer initiative evolved into the current International Hydrological Programme (IHP), UNESCO’s intergovernmental scientific co-operative program in the field of hydrology and water resources management.


Hydrology is defined as a scientific field which covers the entire history of the cycle of water on earth. It refers to the circulation of water from the oceans, through the atmosphere, back to the oceans, or to the land and thence to the oceans by overland or subterranean routes. Included in this science is a study of effects on man and the effects of man's activities on water.


The Decade led to greatly improved assessments of climate variability impacts on hydrology and stimulated the establishment of medium to long-term experimental basin studies, for example, in northern Australia, French Guyana and in Malaysia.





The Water Portal at the UNESCO website.



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International Hydrological Programme





Niger                                                                 28 February 1966

Papua and New Guinea                                       28 June 1967

Union of Soviet Socialist Republics                        12 October 1966









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last revised: 30 January 2011