Press Release

City of Richmond Hill Named the New Host of the United Nations University in Canada

The UN flag was raised in Richmond Hill in honour of the United Nations University.

RICHMOND HILL, CANADA – Earlier today, Canada’s International Development Minister and other high-level officials joined the Mayor of the City of Richmond Hill to officially welcome the United Nations University (UNU) to its new home in Canada. The UN flag was raised outside the City Hall to celebrate the inauguration of the new headquarters of the UN University Institute for Water, Environment and Health (UNU-INWEH) in Richmond Hill.

Founded through an agreement between Canada and the United Nations, the institute has been working for nearly three decades on the most pressing water, environmental, and health problems around the world with particular attention to the countries in the Global South. It is one of the 13 UNU institutes located in 12 countries around the world that collaborate with the UN member states on research, education, and policy outreach activities that can improve human well-being and the environment. The institute is currently led by Professor Kaveh Madani a world-renowned environmental scientist and leader who previously served as the Vice President of the United Nations Environment Assembly Bureau, overseeing the world's highest-level decision-making body on the environment, with a universal membership of all 193 UN Member States.

UNU-INWEH is globally known as the UN Think Tank on Water for the major leadership role it has played in addressing global water security challenges and was hosted by McMaster University in Hamilton for nearly three decades before moving to Richmond Hill. "The United Nations University Institute for Water, Environment and Health has promoted global collaboration and positive change worldwide. Richmond Hill's new campus will welcome students from around the world, serve as a world-class educational hub for sustainability, and encourage environmental leadership for years to come,” said Ahmed Hussen, Canada’s International Development Minister.

"This is an exciting time for Richmond Hill to welcome this globally respected organization to our city! To have the opportunity to collaborate with a like-minded group on environmental matters that we as a community have been long committed to is huge. I look forward to seeing where the future takes us and want to personally welcome the staff of the United Nations University Institute for Water, Environment and Health to our city,” said David West, the Mayor of the City that was selected to host UNU-INWEH’s new headquarters in Canada.

The selection was based on the City of Richmond Hill’s commitment to sustainability, its highly skilled and educated workforce, the many opportunities the City offers for partnership with the private sector, and its interest in using the best available knowledge to improve the quality of human life and the environment.


Ribbon Cutting
Canada's International Development Minister cutting the ribbon for UNU-INWEH office in Canada along with the elected officials representing the York Region in Canada House of Commons', Mayor of Richmond Hill and the Director of UNU-INWEH  

Since 1996, UNU-INWEH has been supported by the Government of Canada to pursue its research and education mission through collaboration with the world’s leading scientists in Canada and the rest of the world. “We are thankful to the people and Government of Canada for the continuous support of the UN University. Their support has enabled us to make a difference in Canada and the rest of the world. We will continue our collaborative efforts to make science and education accessible globally and to ensure that we can collectively tackle our water, environmental, and health problems. It’s exciting to see the UN flag raised in Richmond Hill and we are very much looking forward to working with the Richmond Hill community and the rest of Canada to make the world a better place for all,” said Madani who was appointed as the UNU-INWEH Director by the UN Under-Secretary-General and UN University Rector last year.

The new headquarters will work with academic institutions around the world and in Canada to support global policies in water, environment, and health, and will collaborate with technology providers, start-ups, and innovators that are focused on environmental management and sustainability to raise environmental awareness and make a positive impact on sustainability transition and innovation. "Today marks a proud moment as Richmond Hill welcomes the academic arm of the United Nations University, a renowned institution with a global impact,” said Majid Jowhari, Member of Parliament for Richmond Hill.

Media Contact 

Kyra Bowman

Head of Communications, UNU


Sogol Jafarzadeh

UN and Government Relations Coordinator, UNU-INWEH