The United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) chair program promotes knowledge sharing and collaborative work. Through the UNESCO chair network, higher education and research institutions all over the globe address pressing challenges and contribute to the development of their societies.

In 2010 Quentin Grafton was appointed chairholder of the UNESCO Chair in Water Economics and  Transboundary Water Governance. To promote sustainable development and better water management, the project has the following strands: Local flexible-learning courses in water economics and transboundary water governance, student exchange and enrichment programs, web-based learning modules from the Global Water Partnership and International Water Management Institute and delivered through the Global Water Forum, and creating interactive, flexible learning modules in water economics, water governance and gender equity in integrated water resource management in collaboration with the Global Development Learning Network housed by the World Bank Institute.