In 2007, Dr. Nidal Salim, along with a group of scientists and academic colleagues, founded the Global Institute for Water, Environment and Health. Having identified the maintenance of a reliable water supply and a healthy environment as one of the greatest challenges facing the planet, Dr. Salim saw the need for a new broad-based, research-centered, interdisciplinary initiative to respond more effectively to this challenge.
GIWEH was formed in Geneva, Switzerland on three main pillars:
- to bring together the disciplines of hydrology, environment and health
- to bridge the gaps between scientists, engineers, socio-economic experts, academics, the public sector, the private sector, and civil society
- to provide a platform for effective networking
The overarching goal was to develop a positive vision for the future of the environment and its effects on the well-being and health of humans and all other life forms.
In the first three years, GIWEH concentrated on building a strong network, constructing a national and international cooperative database, organizing information and networking events, building GIWEH’s brand and corporate identity, and completing small-scale projects. In 2009, GIWEH started its first program in cooperation with the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), which was presented at a conference titled, “Water and Environment in a Changing World: Leadership for Positive Change.”
Since then, GIWEH has built strategic partnerships with many organizations, governments, and civil society and has extended its scope from the Middle East to include North and East Africa--particularly focusing on the Great Lakes region, the Caucasian region, and parts of Asia. GIWEH has launched training programs on policy and strategy, water governance, socio-economic indicators, and science.
GIWEH’s achievements include creating the annual Water Award, inaugurated in 2009, and hosting its own International Conference on Water Resources and Environmental Management (ICWRE), the first of which was held in 2011 in Morocco.
GIWEH is guided by an international Steering Board whose members come from diverse educational, professional, and cultural backgrounds. GIWEH's Scientific Professionals Network of academics, scientists, and decision-makers from the North and the South, and the international internship program enable the development of creative and innovative ways of supporting the Millenium Development Goals and the Post-2015 Development Agenda.