The United Nations University (UNU) is the academic arm of the United Nations (UN). It
bridges the academic world and the UN system. Its goal is to develop
sustainable solutions for current and future problems of humankind in all
aspects of life. Through a problem-oriented and interdisciplinary approach it
aims at applied research and education on a global scale. UNU was founded in
1973 and is an autonomous organ of the UN General Assembly. The
University comprises headquarters Tokyo, Japan, and more than a dozen Institutes
and Programmes worldwide.
WISDOM is a German-Vietnamese initiative
comprising eighteen research institutions based in Germany
and Vietnam and coordinated
in Germany by the German
Aerospace Centre (DLR) and in Vietnam
by the Southern Institute of Water Resources Research (SIWRR). WISDOM aims to
support the development of IWRM (Integrated Water Resources Management) strategies
in the Mekong Delta, Vietnam,
through the development of an Information System. UNU-EHS is involved in two research thematic
areas of WISDOM: vulnerability assessment to water-related hazards and studies
on pesticide management, pollution and fate. Additionally, UNU-EHS coordinates
the PhD Programme of the project.
The main objective of WISDOM is to overcome
gaps in the water-related information flow among research institutions working
in different disciplines and between these information generating agencies and
decision making authorities. Specific objectives of the work undertaken at
To understand how vulnerabilities emerge and progress and to assess
in vulnerabilities amongst different socio-economic population groups
respect to floods, salinisation, water-scarcity, storms and river bank
Based on the findings of the research, vulnerability maps and profiles
generated and fed into the integrated Information System in order to
decision making with respect to water-related issues.
To assess local pesticide management practices and resulting environmental concentrations aiming to provide mitigation and adaptation measures and to raise Vietnamese authorities´ awareness for
health and environmental problems related to
To coordinate the work of fourteen WISDOM PhD students –
seven Vietnamese among them - by providing the institutional, contractual
environment, and organizing annual scientific seminars and various capacity building measures.
Vulnerability Assessment: The research methodology comprises
as well as qualitative approaches. Interviews, focus group discussions
Rapid Rural/Urban Appraisals (PRA) are conducted in a participatory
household level and with authorities and decision makers at Province,
and Commune level. Based on this, comparative questionnaire-based
surveys are conducted in all three case study areas. Moreover, secondary
sets such as statistics and government reports are collected and
Pesticide Monitoring and Modelling:
Local pesticide use
practices; drinking water use and treatment; pesticide residue
in surface and drinking water were systematically surveyed for one year
representative study sites in the Delta (August 2008 – September 2009).
samples were taken regularly and analysed for fifteen selected
using solid phase extraction and analytical determination by gas
mass spectrometry. Interviews
and Rapid Rural Appraisals (PRA) were conducted at household level and
authorities at Province level. Pesticide fate modelling (MIKE-SHE) is
at both study sites by using real pesticide use data as well as
derived from mitigation recommendations.
From 21 until 23 February 2012, the 5th WISDOM PhD Scientific Seminar took place in Can Tho City, jointly organized by UNU-EHS and Can Tho University. The seminar allowed the PhD students of WISDOM’s second project phase to present their fieldwork progress and to discuss preliminary results with their fellow PhD candidates as well as with other WISDOM scientists and selected external experts.