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Helping bring clean water to millions – additional funding awarded to UCC centre

8 Feb 2021
The UNEP GEMS/Water Capacity Development Centre, based in the Environmental Research Institute at UCC.

The lack of clean water and sanitation affects millions globally. Now, funding has been approved for researchers at UCC to help improve the lives of people across the world.

The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) GEMS/Water Capacity Development Centre, based in the Environmental Research Institute at UCC, was founded in 2015 to provide global capacity development in water quality monitoring and assessment.

Now, it has been awarded $750,000 (approx. €624,000) in additional funding by UNEP from donations provided by the Irish Government, to continue its work with partners in more than 100 countries, from six world regions to support its role to improve water quality and the ability to monitor and manage it.

The importance of good quality freshwater for health and development has recently been highlighted by the new 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and the associated Sustainable Development Goals (SGDs). The SDGs, which provide a blueprint for achieving a more sustainable future for all, list Goal 6 as ‘clean water and sanitation for all’; among the indicators outlined to help achieve this goal, is good ambient water quality.

Over the past five years, the Centre – funded by UNEP, with support from Irish Aid and the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage – has met with personnel in governmental departments, water sector organisations and educational institutions, and given training workshops in all aspects of water quality monitoring and assessment.

Dr Deborah Chapman, Director of the UNEP GEMS/Water Capacity Development Centre, said: “After five years of educating, upskilling and raising awareness on the topic of freshwater quality, we are now beginning to see the benefits in developing countries.

“We are therefore delighted that we can continue this work over the next few years and expand the delivery of capacity development to reach more communities. We are extremely grateful to the Irish Government for continuing to support the Centre in its mission to protect freshwater resources globally and to help countries on their path towards achieving Sustainable Development Goal 6 – ‘water and sanitation for all’.”

The Centre also designed and continues to deliver a new MSc and Postgraduate Diploma programme, and Continuous Professional Development courses accredited by UCC.

The latest round of funding will support capacity development in water quality monitoring worldwide for the next three years. As the Centre works on a programme of activities to support the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, it will be taking the lead role in providing and facilitating capacity development globally as part of the World Water Quality Alliance.

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