The UNESCO Chair on “Water Resources Management and Culture”, established in Perugia in 2013 following the Agreement between Unesco, the University for Foreigners of Perugia and the Honors Center of Italian Universities (H2CU), is the only Chair in the Water sector in Italy.

The Chair, based at the University for Foreigners of Perugia, was ratified in June 5, 2013 in Paris by the UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova with an agreement that specifically states the Chair’s mission:

[…] Art. 2 The purpose of the Chair is to promote an integrated system of research, training, information and documentation on water management. It will facilitate collaboration between high-level internationally recognized researchers and teaching staff of the University  and other institutions in Italy, as well as in Europe, Africa, Asia, and other regions of the world.

The specific objectives of the Chair are:

  • develop further the existing six months course on Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) by combining technical and cultural aspects, and to train students, faculty, water and development professionals, water service providers, institutional decision makers and trainers;
  • carry out researches jointly with partners to enhance knowledge that would inform innovative and interdisciplinary strategies to manage water, and disseminate results widely;
  • help establish a network of experts and institutions to facilitate collaborations and the sharing of knowledge and good practices in water management;
  • foster the realization of scientific, social and management support systems to facilitate/strengthen cooperation among relevant institutions at the national and regional level;and,
  • cooperate closely with UNESCO on relevant programmes and initiatives, in particular with the International Hydrologic Programme and with the World Water Assessment Program in the context of activities such as the Umbria Water Festival […]

The  Chair  is part of the UNESCO University Twinning and Networking (UNITWIN) Programme whose objective is to foster networks and twinning among Universities. The UNITWIN/UNESCO Chairs program, established in 1992, is a program established to advance research and training for higher education with specific regard to inter-university cooperation knowledge transfer across border development projects.

The dual function of UNESCO Chairs and UNITWIN Networks is to act as both “think tanks” and “bridge builders” between the academic world, civil society, local communities, research and policy-making.