UNESCO HELP Programme

Tweed Forum gains UNESCO recognition

Tweed Forum is a member of the UNESCO HELP programme. HELP recognised the “standard-setting” work of the Forum and, particularly, the Catchment Management Planning Initiative, which has the aim of protecting, enhancing and restoring the total river environment. The idea behind the HELP programme (Hydrology for the Environment, Life and Policy) is to improve communication between scientists, stakeholders, managers, law and policy experts and also make sure that best practice is shared with other catchments around the world.

Tweed Forum were approached by representatives of the UNESCO Centre for Water Law, Policy and Science, based at Dundee University, to discuss applying for membership as an exemplar of best practice.  Dr Sarah Hendry, who sits on the UNESCO Evaluation Committee, explains the post-application process: “an international committee met in Ecuador to consider applications. This group of international experts were delighted to accept the application from the Tweed basin, which is working within all of the programme’s key areas. The committee recognised that the Tweed Forum was already operating under the HELP philosophy by championing integrated water resource management in the Tweed catchment. The Tweed can provide much in the way of good practice to other HELP basins.”  Professor Shahbaz Khan, Global Co-ordinator for the HELP programme, added that Tweed Forum “can be considered a model for others, in setting a standard for Scotland and the UK”.

Luke Comins, Director of Tweed Forum was “delighted to have this acknowledgement from such a respected body as UNESCO. This is a testament to the hard work of the Forum and its members. Our emphasis has always been on facilitating action on the ground but we have also been keen that the lessons learnt by land managers and professionals working at the coal face gets fed back up to the policy level. Effectively, this is what the HELP programme is about – ensuring that policy makers have the right information to make the right decisions”.