Skip to main content

2014 Press Releases

UCC and UN Environment Programme partner

9 Jul 2014

UCC is to take the lead in coordinating the efforts of Irish universities to assist the United Nations Environment Programme’s (UNEP) Global Environment Monitoring System for Water (GEMS/Water).

At the first ever United Nations Environment Assembly, which concluded in Nairobi in July 2014, the European Commission proposed that Ireland and Germany would jointly take responsibility for the United Nations Environment Programme’s Global Environment Monitoring System for Water (GEMS/Water). The UN Environment Assembly agreed unanimously to the proposal and the transfer of responsibilities will take place in the autumn.

Ireland will lead with the capacity building, with UCC coordinating the Irish activities through the newly established UCC GEMS/Water Capacity Development Centre. Other universities involved will be TCD, NUIG and DCU and it is also hoped to involve some Irish companies that have relevant expertise in water and data capture and processing. Germany will coordinate the data collection and manage the GEMStat information system.

At the request of Mr Phil Hogan TD, Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government, UCC has agreed to coordinate the efforts of the Irish universities to assist GEMS/Water by leveraging the expertise in the area of water that is already within Irish universities.

The President of UCC, Dr Michael Murphy, welcoming the announcement, remarking: “Ireland has a long association with water and Irish universities have both expertise and capacity to address the very significant global challenges that exist in this area. Being involved with the UNEP in helping to solve some of these very important global issues will be good not only for Ireland but also for the universities involved and we in UCC look forward to playing our part.”

“UCC is honoured to be able to lead in the United Nations Environment Programme’s GEMS/Water. We have significant expertise within UCC and we look forward to working with our partners in NUIG, TCD and DCU who also have important expertise in this area.”

“We would like to express our appreciation to Minister Hogan and the Government for their foresight and confidence in getting the Irish universities involved in this initiative. They will leverage the tremendous investment by successive Irish Governments in science and engineering in the universities and they will allow that expertise to be utilised in addressing significant and important global challenges. This will undoubtedly be beneficial not just for the countries involved in this programme, but also for the Irish undergraduates and postgraduates who will now be able to participate in this important work of connecting the regions to the globe. It is also hoped to engage Irish companies with expertise in this sector as part of the work of the Centre and there should be opportunities for these Irish companies to play their role at global level.”

“Providing adequate freshwater of sufficient quality to support sustainable development globally in 2015 and beyond is a major challenge”, said UCC’s Dr Debbie Chapman, a member of the Irish delegation at Nairobi.

“By combining the broad and extensive experience in water quality monitoring and management available in Irish universities, we will be making a major contribution to meeting this challenge through our capacity development activities as co-hosts of GEMS/Water. We will be reaching out globally to provide training for water quality monitoring and to promote water quality assessment. UCC will be in the forefront of activities to address global water issues and environmental sustainability.”

University College Cork

Coláiste na hOllscoile Corcaigh

College Road, Cork T12 K8AF