The International Water Assessment Center (IWAC) is the subsidiary joint body of the Convention on the Protection and Use of Transboundary Watercourses and International Lakes (hereinafter referred to as the Convention).

«The Convention aims to protect and ensure the quality, quantity and sustainable use of transboundary water resources through the provision of assistance in cooperation.
The Convention was originally concluded in Helsinki in 1992 as a regional instrument of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE), but in 2003 it was amended to allow all United Nations Member States to accede to it. Since March 1, 2016, all States Members of the United Nations may accede to the Convention.

The Meeting of the Parties is the main governing body of the Convention. Its task is to continuously monitor the implementation of the Convention and to take the measures necessary to achieve the objectives of the Convention.

At the second session of the Meeting of the Parties (The Hague, Netherlands, 23-25 March, 2000), it was decided to establish the International Water Assessment Center (IWAC) as the joint center of the Convention. From 2000 to 2008, IWAC hosted in the Netherlands, from 2009 to 2012 - in Slovakia.

At its seventh session (Budapest, Hungary, 17-19 November 2015), the Meeting of the Parties accepted the offer by Kazakhstan to host IWAC starting in 2017.»

In 2017, the Memorandum of Understanding was signed between the Government of the Republic of Kazakhstan and the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) on the deployment of IWAC in Kazakhstan.
Based on this Memorandum, IWAC was established in Kazakhstan in Astana as a branch of the Institute of Geography LLP. Basic funding for IWAC activities is provided from the republican budget of the Republic of Kazakhstan.
As a joint center of the Convention, the main purpose of IWAC is to support the implementation of the Convention and, as relevant, its Protocol on Water and Health, as well as their work programs adopted by the respective Meetings of the Parties.

IWAC will:
- provide scientific, methodological and technical support to national governments for the implementation of the provisions of the Convention;
- assist countries to introduce best practices, including through pilot projects on transboundary waters;
- assist Parties to the Convention with an economy in transition through the organization of seminars and workshops on the exchange of information on best available technologies, on the results of research and development, on training related to monitoring and assessment of the state of water resources;
- assist to the Parties to the Convention in the preparation of reports on the status of transboundary waters, including on the basis of general regional information, as well as in the development and maintenance of relevant databases.
In carrying out its activities, IWAC shall abide with the principles of neutrality and cooperation, in the best interests of the Convention, in order to safeguard credibility, independence and objectivity
IWAC will have a special focus on Kazakhstan’s neighboring countries, other Central Asian countries, as well as other countries inside and outside the UNECE region, as appropriate.