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New UNEP Collaborating Centre on Water and the Environment

Copenhagen/Nairobi, 9 April 2002 - International efforts to tackle global water problems received an important boost today with the announcement that the respected DHI Institute of Water and Environment in Denmark has been elevated to the status of a full UNEP Centre.

The creation of this new UNEP Collaborating Centre on Water and Environment represents a new and strengthened relationship between UNEP and the Government of Denmark.

Since 1996, the DHI Institute was an active UNEP partner, but the new set-up, including common financial and technical agreements, broadens the partnership. Under the new agreement, signed by UNEP, DHI and the Danish government (Danida), the institute, with its focus on finding solutions to water and environment problems, joins the growing list of UNEP "centres of excellence," which include the Collaborating Centre on Energy and Environment at Risø, GRID-Arendal in Norway and the World Conservation Monitoring Centre in Cambridge, UK.

The announcement was made today at a ceremony held at the Royal Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Copenhagen which included Klaus Toepfer, UNEP Executive Director, Per Stig Møller, the Danish Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Dan Nielsen, Danida Chairman and Khalid Motadullah, Executive Secretary of the Global Water Partnership organisation.

"The DHI Institute has highly respected expertise in the water field and thanks to the very substantial support of the Danish government, the new Centre will play a key role in assisting with the implementation of UNEP's water policy and strategy," said Klaus Toepfer.

"Without adequate clean water, there can be no escape from poverty," Toepfer continued. This year, water pollution, poor sanitation and water shortages will kill over 12 million people. Solutions to these and other problems will call for global action based on technical knowledge, and in this respect I believe the new Centre will make a significant contribution," he said.

The new Centre will be able to draw on the expertise of over 300 water professionals employed by DHI as well as the institute's global water sector networks which include individual experts, authorities, and organisations involved in water management all over the world.

Located in Hørsholm, Denmark, it will be run by a small permanent secretariat and directed by a steering committee made up of representatives from UNEP, Danida and DHI.

For more information contact: Mr Niels Henrik Ipsen, Head of the Centre on +45 4516 9518, email:, web:, or Robert Bisset, UNEP Press Officer and European spokesperson on +33-1-4437 7613, mobile: +33-6-2272-5842, email:

UNEP Information Note 2002/11