Zafar Adeel is the Director of UNU-INWEH. He also served as the Chair of UN-Water from January 2010 to February 2012, a group that coordinates water-related work in 30 United Nations organizations and a number of international water organizations. Presently, he co-chairs a UN-Water Task Force on Water Security.

He has served with UNU since 1998 and holds a Master’s Degree from Iowa State University (1992) and a Ph.D. from Carnegie Mellon University (1995). He served as a Senior Engineer at GeoTrans Inc. (USA) for a number of years before joining UNU. He has experience in a range of water and environmental issues, including monitoring and control of water pollution, water management in dry areas, solutions to industrial environmental problems, modelling of environmental systems, and environmental policy formulation.

Dr. Adeel has led the development of a network of scientists working in water-scarce countries, particularly those in Africa, Middle East, and Asia. Through his editorial lead, this network has published eight books in the UNU Desertification Series: New Technologies to Combat Desertification (1999), Water Management in Arid Zones (2000), New Approaches to Water Management in Central Asia (2001), Integrated Water Management in Dry Areas (2001), Sustainable Management of Marginal Drylands (2003), Challenges of Drylands in the New Millennium (2004), Desertification and the International Policy Imperative (2007), and What Makes Traditional Technologies Tick? (2009). He co-chaired the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment team that produced the global desertification synthesis in 2005.

Dr. Adeel serves on the editorial boards of Sustainability Science (Springer) and Global Environmental Change (Elsevier Science). He has studied formulation of environmental policy and governance at several levels; his book on this topic is East Asian Perspectives in Environmental Governance – Response in a Rapidly Developing Region (UNU Press 2003). Dr. Adeel also serves as an Adjunct Professor of Engineering at McMaster University.


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Professor Jennifer McKay , is a Professor of Business Law at the Law School University of South Australia in Adelaide and a  Part Time Commissioner in the Environment Resources and Development court of South Australia where she hears water resources matter related to water plans and Environmental Flows. She has over 160 publications in International and national journals on  consumptive water resources allocation, water law,  sustainable development, water institutional reform in Australia, India and Nepal.  She has a high citation index for these works with several being noted by SSRN.She has had national research grants from the Australian Research council, Cooperative research Centres and International projects for  the World Bank in China and Chile.

She was awarded a Senior Fulbright Fellowship in 2008 and there she went to Berkeley and spoke to the American Bar Association  on water law in Australia and also studied a Diploma in Human rights and Humanitarian  Law at American University.

She has  been given research excellence awards by UniSA , the Aust Water Association and  the Minister for Women SA . She is an honorary Professor at the Lincoln Law School UK. She has established at UniSA a world class collection of water law and policy books and materials.


Ms. Johanna Sjödin is a Programme Officer in the Water Economics team at Stockholm International Water Institute. She has several years of experience from the fields of water policy and international development. Currently she is leading SIWI’s work on the topic of water pricing. Prior to joining SIWI, she carried out research on financial and governance aspects of urban and rural water supply and sanitation in Chile and Nicaragua. Ms. Sjödin holds an MSc in International Development and Management and a BSc in International Social Science and Economics.


Dr Elena Lopez-Gunn is Founder and Director of ICATALIST. She is also  Cheney Fellow at the University of Leeds, UK and a collaborator with the Water Observatory, Botín Foundation. She was an Associate Professor at IE Business school and a Visiting Senior Fellow at the London School of Economics where she worked as an Alcoa Research Fellow. Dr Elena Lopez-Gunn finished her PhD at King’s College. She also has a Masters from the University of Cambridge. Professionally, Elena has collaborated with a number of organizations including UNESCO, FAO, UNDP, EU DG Research and Innovation, the England and Wales Environment Agency, as well as the private sector like Repsol, public institutions and NGOs like Transparency International-Spanish Chapter. She has published on a range of issues mainly related with innovation, water governance, climate change adaptation, partnership models, public policy reform and knowledge management.

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Cornelis Adriaan (Kees) Leendertse holds an MA in social sciences from the University of Utrecht. He specialized in rural and economic development issues, with special focus on aquatic resources.

After graduation, Kees had several teaching assignments at the University of Utrecht. He joined the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 1988 to assess development project proposals on their effectivity and efficiency. In 1990, Kees started work on a UNDP/FAO project for development planning and management of the Great Lakes in Eastern Africa. From 1992 to 1996, Kees worked with FAOs Fisheries Department at its headquarters in Rome, mainly on the formulation of integrated coastal zone and inland water bodies management strategies.

In 1996, Kees joined WL|Delft Hydraulics. He was ad-interim coordinator of a water resources planning project in Egypt and contributed to the development of a manual for environmental project development. He worked on the conceptualization of economic, social and institutional aspects of integrated water resources management. From 1998, Kees continued to work as an independent consultant on projects related to resources management and knowledge transfer on relevant subjects. In 2002 he joined Cap-Net as human resources development specialist.
Kees has contributed to international forums and published several position papers on social, economic and institutional aspects of water resources management.


Alberto Palombo is an industrial engineer by training with graduate studies in systems engineering and operations research from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, USA. He is a Ph.D. candidate in integrated water management at the Mexican Institute of Water Technology (IMTA) program with the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM). His career has focused on issues related to water management, environment and regional development, including the integration of information and knowledge for integrated land and water resources management, regional and land planning; formulation and implementation of water and environmental plans; environmental restoration and adaptation to climate change; regional water infrastructure projects; and finally, the promotion of public water policy based on management instruments and tools.

Mr. Palombo is currently the Secretary of the Inter-American Water Resources Network (IWRN) that organizes the Inter-American Dialogues on Water Management. He also serves on the Global Environment Facility CSO Network and offers his volunteer work through Rotary International initiatives, such as the Rotarian Action Group for Water and Sanitation (WASRAG).

Professionally, Mr. Palombo is a partner in SOTEINCA INGENIERIA, C.A., an engineering and consulting firm based in Caracas, Venezuela, with branches in Brazil, Peru, and Colombia. He was Task Manager at the Inter-American Development Bank (IADB) for the drafting and development of the National Water Resources Plan (PNRH) of Brazil between 2004 and 2007. He coordinated the Integrated Sanitation and Urban Development Plan in the Upper Paraguay River Basin in the State of Mato Grosso, Brazil between 2012 and 2013. Currently, he coordinates the preparation of the National Irrigation and Drainage Plan in Colombia. He also served as Regional Coordinator of the Water Center for the Humid Tropics in Latin America and the Caribbean (CATHALAC) in Panama and Brasilia, Project Coordinator of the Florida Center for Environmental Studies at Florida Atlantic University (CES), Adviser at the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources (MARN) of Venezuela, and Director of Systems Integration at the South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) in the United States.

Born in Venezuela and now living in Brazil and Colombia, he has worked as a consultant for UNESCO, UNEP, FAO, OAS, IICA, EU, IADB, CAF, World Bank and other multilateral banks, national and international organizations, and private companies on issues related to water, energy, environment and sustainable development in Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Spain, United States, Guatemala, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Dominican Republic and Venezuela.

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