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         3 September 2002

As a contribution to preparations for the International Year of Freshwater, 2003, the United Nations University (UNU) is cooperating with other UN agencies to hold an international conference on Sustainable Management of Headwater Resources in Nairobi, Kenya. The conference, which will take place from 5 to 8 September 2002 at the United States International University (USIU) - Africa in Nairobi, is being jointly organized by UNU, UNESCO, the United Nations Centre for Human Settlements (UN-HABITAT), the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), and USIU.

The conference will examine special problems related to headwater environments, the ultimate sources of water for all river systems and important reserves of natural biodiversity and special habitats. Headwater environments are typically found in the highest and most remote regions of watersheds, and traditionally have been associated with rugged landscapes, a low level of human activity and isolation from major population centers. Today, however, many headwater areas lie on the front line of development activities, such as agriculture, forest farming, mining, tourism and hydroelectric power generation, that jeopardize their productivity and purity. Damage in headwater regions can easily be communicated to regions downstream through changes in water quality, hydrological regime and natural resources supplies and exacerbate problems of social stress and livelihood disruption.

The conference on Sustainable Management of Headwater Resources will provide an international forum for discussions focusing on the interdisciplinary aspects of scientific and applied water resource management. The aim is to link and share perspectives from NGOs and community-based organizations, research scientists, hazard-risk experts, land management practitioners and policy makers. Conference participants will discuss problems caused by land degradation, natural hazards and development processes, and consider feasible land management, environmental protection and landscape regeneration practices and policies, with the objective of contributing to the promotion, development and evaluation of land management strategies that advance the self-sustainable development of headwater regions.

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For further information, please contact:
UNU Public Affairs Section,
Tel. (03) 5467-1243, -1246; Fax (03) 3406-7346




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