City of Bonn, Flood 2021
City of Bonn, Summer 2022

Members and Partners of the BWN

Formally established in 2020 (after a more informal cooperation over the past 15 years), the Bonn Water Network (BWN) bundles the capacities of nine Bonn-based institutions and one partner institution based in Berlin, all renowned for working on water and related issues in international research, development policy and training.

Network Members

Bonn International Centre for Conflict Studies (BICC)

Bonn International Centre for Conflict Studies (BICC) deals with a wide range of global topics in the field of peace and conflict research centring on the challenges of organized violence.

These topics range from the (de-)mobilization of violent actors, arms exports and small arms control to the importance of organized violence in global migration flows and the use of natural resources, such as water. Given the increasing pressure on global freshwater resources, BICC analyses the relationship between water and conflict in different contexts and on different scales.

Based on applied and transdisciplinary research, BICC offers technical and policy advice and contributes to public debates. At the same time, its practical experience and the interaction with experts offer opportunities for further academic research, creating a unique ‘knowledge circle.’

Center for Development Research (ZEF)

The Center for Development Research of Bonn University (ZEF) has longstanding experience in water-related research, especially in Central Asia and Africa. ZEF’s strength lies in linking different dimensions by applying interdisciplinary approaches and bridging gaps between stakeholders by using transdisciplinary approaches. Another asset ZEF can add to the Bonn Water Network is its strong international research and stakeholder network.

Department of Geographie (GIUB)

At the Department of Geography at the University of Bonn a group of researchers focuses on water-related topics with research expertise in human-water system dynamics, global change impacts, hydrological extremes such as droughts and floods including paleohistorical analyses, water and health, water quality and ecohydrology, and water management and planning. Research and capacity development is conducted primarily in South and Southeast Asia, West and East Africa in collaboration with scientists and also with stakeholders and decision makers.

In addition, education is the primary focus of the department. The Master in geography can be studied with a focus on "Water in Global Change". Students and young scientists are supported by the supervision of BA-, MA- and PhD- theses and international Phd students and Post Docs are supervised in their project work.


German Institute of Development and Sustainability (IDOS)

Water research at the German Institute of Development and Sustainability (IDOS) starts from the premise that the global water crisis is a crisis of governance. The team analyses water governance problems within multiple political contexts to understand conditions for equitable and ecologically sustainable water access, use, and management, keeping a particular eye on the role of development cooperation.

IDOS is a founding member of the BWN and contributes its longstanding experience in research, training and policy advice on topics such as Payments for Ecosystem Services and Nature-based Solutions, governance paradigms such as Integrated Water Resources Management and the Water-Energy-Food-nexus, and international agreements such as the 2030 Agenda, but also on local political economies of water in many developing countries.


Environmental Law Centre of IUCN

The Environmental Law Centre (ELC) has been since 1970 a unit of IUCN in charge of the conceptual development of law to promote biodiversity conservation and the sustainable use of natural resources. It provides technical legal assistance in drafting and implementing legislation and agreements, as well as strengthening the capacities for decision makers at all levels of governance.

 Hygiene and Public Health (IHPH)

The tradition of the Institute for Hygiene and Public Health (IHPH) at the University Hospital Bonn as an institution for water analysis, research, consulting and training stretches back into the late 19th century. Since 20 years it is designated as a WHO Collaborating Centre for Health Promoting Water Management and Risk Communication.

Currently, the water-health-nexus is a major focus of most IHPH divisions, among them also the GeoHealth Centre. Current national and international research projects comprise: pathogens, antibiotics and AB resistances in the waste water cycle; health-relevant microbiology and chemstry of surface water bodies; microbial drinking water quality inside building installation systems; WASH in public buildings; microbial health impacts of water use in agriculture; and Hydrophilia: The impact of blue spaces for health-related well-being.

Academic education, training and supervision in water-related issues is provided for Bachelor, Master and PhD students from medicine, microbiology, global health and geography.

United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD)

The United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) is established in 1994. It is the only legally binding international agreement linking environment and development to sustainable land management. The Convention addresses specifically the arid, semi-arid and dry sub-humid areas, known as the drylands, where some of the most vulnerable ecosystems and peoples can be found. The Convention’s 197 parties work together to improve the living conditions for people in drylands, to maintain and restore land and soil productivity, and to mitigate the effects of drought.

United Nations Human Settlement Programme/Global Water Operators' Partnerships Alliance (UN-Habitat/GWOPA)

Formally founded by UN-Habitat in January 2009, upon the request of the former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, the Global Water Operators’ Partnerships Alliance (GWOPA) is an international network created to support water operators through Water Operators' Partnerships (WOPs). WOPs are peer support exchanges between two or more water operators, carried out on a not-for-profit basis, with the objective of strengthening their capacity, to provide a better service to more people.

GWOPA has documented case studies, analysed success factors, developed guidance material, and developed a strong alliance of water operators, water associations, development partners, labour and civil society bodies, International Financial Institutions, and the private sector. GWOPA has played the chief role in promoting and coordinating WOPs around the world.

United Nations University - Institute for Environment and Human Security (UNU-EHS)

UNUnited Nations University - Institute for Environment and Human Security (UNU-EHS) conducts research on risks and adaptation related to environmental hazards and global change.

The institute’s research promotes policies and programmes to reduce these risks, while taking into account the interplay between environmental and societal factors. Research areas include climate change adaptation by incorporating insurance-related approaches, environmentally induced migration and social vulnerability, ecosystem-based solutions to adaptation and disaster risk reduction, and models and tools to analyse vulnerability and risks linked to natural hazards, with a focus on urban space and rural-urban interfaces.

Get to know the Bonn Water Network members

In the following videos the network members present their expertice and contribution to the Bonn Water Network.

Bonn International Centre for Conflict Studies (BICC)

Department of Geography (GIUB)

IDOS // German Development Institute/Deutsches Institut für Entwicklungspolitik (DIE)

United Nations Human Settlement Programme/Global Water Operators' Partnerships Alliance (UN-Habitat/GWOPA)

Network Partners

International Center for Water and Resources and Global Change (ICWRGC)

The International Center for Water Resources and Global Change, founded by the German Federal Government under the auspices of UNESCO in Koblenz, commenced work in July 2014. Specialised UNESCO Water Centres pool competencies in single countries or regions, acting as international reference platforms for the exchange of knowledge and methods. The Centre is located at the Federal Institute of Hydrology (BfG).

The ICWRGC supports the implementation of the “Intergovernmental Hydrological Programme” (IHP) of UNESCO and the “Hydrology and Water Resources Programme” (HWRP) of WMO. The Centre pursues the Secretariat’s tasks within the scope of these programmes.

The ICWRGC works in close cooperation with partners from the scientific community, operational hydrological services, data centres and water-related UN-organisations. It supplies these partners with customised products for information, as a basis for scientific investigations, to improve operational skills, for policy advice and capacity development in the water sector.

Water Integrity Network (WIN)

SDG 6 will only be achieved by developing water and sanitation sectors that are based on integrity and free from corruption. The Water Integrity Network (WIN) champions integrity in the water and sanitation sectors. Our aim is to help realise the human right to water and sanitation and ensure the sustainable use of water resources. Based in Berlin, we work with our partners globally to develop practical, sector-led responses to corruption and for integrity, for example using tailored integrity tools.

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About the BWN

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