Our Work

Bridging the gap between research innovation and international policy frameworks to effectively confront global water challenges

A farmer in Ghana's Upper West Region collects water from a river near his vegetable plot.
Water is health. Water is dignity. Water is a human right. There is nothing more fundamental to our very existence.
António Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations

Addressing the global water crisis and associated health, gender and climate-related impacts are at the core of UNU-INWEH’s work. We recognize that incremental change is not enough. Rather, what is required is a transformative approach that accelerates progress to our goal of a water-secure world for everyone.

UNU-INWEH’s value proposition is providing actionable policy options that promise measurable progress toward a water-secure world. We focus on delivering value in the following four areas: 

Governance, security and justice

Climate change, environmental degradation, population growth, and poor water and land management are mounting pressure on the world's natural resources, leading to tensions and injustices at the local, national and regional levels. With accountability, transparency and effective management options in place, better governance, supportive policies and strong institutions can support the sustainability of natural resources and water and food security at different levels.

Geospatial, climate and infrastructure analytics

This area of our work provides data-driven insights, geospatial and climate analytical methods and tools, open access training and capacity building, and collaborative networks to support evidence-based decision-making, sustainable development, and environmental and climate justice. 

Food, land and ecosystems

Much of the impacts of climate change, land degradation and biodiversity loss are the result of unsustainable food production and land use systems. Many public, private and civil society initiatives are attempting to address these issues. However, the main challenge that this proposed programme will address is the scaling up and speed of change of the innovations that will reverse these deleterious trends through research, capacity development and advocacy.

Health, sanitation and gender

Presently, the world is not on track to achieve universal water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) access by 2030. Consequently, an estimated 1.4 million lives and US$260 billion are lost globally every year, and hundreds of millions of women and girls worldwide miss economic and school opportunities just to carry water home. Mitigating the health and gender equity impacts of inadequate WASH through research, capacity development and advocacy is critical for global development.