UNESCO-IHE Enters the Era of Distance Learning

April 17, 2003

Water Education will never be the same again. This simple but powerful message can be distilled from the official launch of the first Global Development Learning Network (GDLN) studio in the Netherlands. The Studio was opened at the UNESCO-IHE Institute for Water Education in Delft in the presence of Melanie Schultz van Haegen, Netherlands Vice Minister for Public Works, Transport and Water Management, Frannie A. Leautier, Vice President of the World Bank Institute and Kezimbira Muyingo, Minister of Environment, Uganda. From now on international IHE courses , seminars and dialogues using audio and video facilities will be available at relatively low costs worldwide by means of the Distance Learning Centre.

In the presence of policy makers from several ministries and water-related institutes a live connection with a number of UNESCO-IHE partners from all over the world was established. Partner institutions in the U.S., Egypt, Uganda, Ghana, Sri Lanka and France joined the interactive session simultaneously and discussed the role of distance & e-learning in water education for sustainable development. Participants were very inspired. Dr. M. Gaweesh, Heading the Hydraulic Research Institute in Egypt: "We are extremely keen on using this new facility to develop further steps in our multi-stakeholder shared Nile River Basin project." Vice President of the World Bank Institute, Frannie Leautier, stressed that the facility is intended to connect, strengthen and disseminate the voices of the water sector and development communities closer to organizations like UNESCO-IHE.

Distance learning will be used by UNESCO-IHE to enhance educational activities, and intensify communication and professional activities with partners, expert communities, alumni and stakeholders in the water and environment sectors in all continents. Other water related water stakeholders in the Netherlands would also be able to use this innovative tool,. The Netherlands Water Partnership (NWP)has shown serious interest in setting up a GDLN session with related public and private partners in the near future. NWP's director, Mr. Jeroen van der Sommen: "We will soon have a test session with our partners to see how we can maximize the benefits of this technology". The GDLN studio has been realized with the support of the World Bank Institute, the Netherlands Ministry of Public Works, Transport and Water Management and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. For further info: Ruben van Dorssen (+31 6 24613525) Edu Willemse (+31 6 26072534) Anne-Marie Bakker (+31 6 13431362)