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18 January 2021 - 21 January 2021
Brussels, Belgium
Water and Beyond

Wednesday, 20 January 2021

List of speakers

Almotaz Abadi

Union for the Mediterranean Secretariat (UfM)
Managing Director

Almotaz Abadi is currently holding the position of Managing Director at the UFM Secretariat responsible for the Water Policies and Development cooperation, closely working with the Water and Environment Division at the UfM Secretariat. Mr Abadi was appointed to this position based on the Understanding between the UFMS and the GoP. He has earned a Master degree in water resources management and another one in the Governance and Public Sector Services.

Mr Abadi served as an acting deputy secretary general for water and environment division during Sept 2015 until Sep 2016. Previously, Mr Abadi worked as a director of the aid coordination and management Unit at Palestinian Water Authority and adviser to the Minster. During the last five years he was very active in the water sector in the country and also in the region through his active engagement with the regional dialogue and also the bilateral and trilateral relations aiming to enhance the regional cooperation and to enhance the way water resource and services are governed. Mr Abadi was one of main drivers for the water sector reform and also the governance initiative for the Mediterranean. Currently, he is leading the development and implementation of the Mediterranean Water Policy framework of actions and its financial strategy.

Murray Biedler

UNESCO, Water Division on Human Capacity Development
Project Officer

At the UNESCO, Murray presently works with the African Union’s NEPAD African Water Centres of Excellence. Murray has more than 25 years of experience in Development and Humanitarian Assistance in the Water, Sanitation and Environmental Health with NGOs and different donors working ACP, Asia and Central America. He has worked 6 years for DG EuropeAid (DEVCO) in the MEDA Water Programme and the ACP-EU Water Facility. Consultancies include evaluating the Water Sector in the new Republic of South Sudan and the response to the West African Ebola Outbreak for Medecins Sans Frontieres. Publications include the WASH Chapter for the UN PDNA Guidelines, an MSc course on Groundwater Studies for Southern Africa, case study contribution to the World Bank publication: The Future of Water in African Cities. He has done research and lectured in Hydrology, Groundwater, Resource Policy and WASH in Emergencies, and contributed to the Master’s curricula for the African Union Pan African University for Water, Energy & Climate Studies. Murray Biedler holds a BSc in Geography (Victoria Canada), an MSc in Geohydrology (Rhodes South Africa) & an MA in International Politics (Paris XI France).

(Lesha) Boleslawa M. Witmer

Women for Water Partnership
Steering Committee Member

Lesha is founding- and Steering Committee member of Women for Water Partnership (WfWP). She serves as board and steering committee member of the European Pact for Water, the Butterfly Effect NGO coalition and the #ClimateIsWater campaign. She is a permanent representative to the UN for IFBPW (Business and Professional Women international) and WfWP and representative to the EU Parliament. Lesha is a former chair of the sustainable development committee of the Netherlands women’s council and a former advisor of the Netherlands government to the commission on sustainable development. Since 1991, Lesha works as independent senior advisor and facilitator. Her expertise: empowerment, equity, equality and participation (strategies), human resources, project- and process management; Sustainable Development policies; vocational training and mentoring, water stewardship, water diplomacy, water governance and management, advocacy, and capacity development. She holds degrees in Human Resource and General Management (Sittard & Nijenrode), studied western sociology (Erasmus) and (international and labor) law (University of Amsterdam).

César Carmona

European Commission, Joint Research Centre
Team Leader of Water Management in Developing Countries

Since 1997, César Carmona works as Senior Scientific Expert of European Commission at the JRC. He acts as the coordinator of the Networks of Centres of Excellence on Water Sciences in Latin America (RALCEA) and Africa (AU-NEPAD Centres of Excellence). He coordinated the scientific activities of the EUROCLIMA project for the assessment of the impact of climate change on natural resources in Latin America. He is currently coordinating the JRC's water resources management activities in developing countries and leads the EC WEFE-AFRICA project. In 1991, César Carmona-Moreno obtained a PhD in Computer Science and Applied Mathematics (Institut National Polytechnique de Toulouse - France) and was awarded the Léopold Scande prize in 1991 for the best scientific research work of the year.

Marlos de Souza

Land and Water Division
Team leader for Integrated Nexus & Water Resources Management

Marlos holds an Ph.D. in Water Resources Management from the University of Melbourne (Australia) and a M.Sc. in Water Quality from the University of Brasília (Brazil). Marlos has more than twenty-nine years of experience in dealing with water resources management in rural and urban watersheds in different regions, countries and contexts. In Brazil, Marlos has worked for the State Government Environment Agency in Brasilia, for the Federal Ministry of the Environment and the United Nations Development Program. In Victoria - Australia, Marlos has worked for the Environment Protection Authority (EPA) as the program leader for water resources and as a lecturer at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT). He also worked for the Australian Government Murray-Darling Basin Authority as the Director – Murray-Darling Basin Plan Development. Marlos joined FAO in July 2015 as a Senior Officer with the Land and Water Division. He is currently the team leader for Integrated Nexus & Water Resources Management.

Pieter Hoekstra and Erna van der Werff

Platform of Vocational Excellence Water
Project Coordinators

Van der Werff and Hoekstra coordinate PoVE Water, a transnational project that draws on existing and emerging vocational competences and skills needs in the water sector, translating them into an approach of vocational excellence. Pilot PoVE Water aims to ensure that VET is at the forefront of research and technological developments in the water sector that current and future water sector professionals have the work attitude, knowledge and competences that the rapid changing EU water industry demands. Further, the project strives to identify the existing and emerging labour market needs and enhance the responsiveness of initial and continuing VET systems to these needs. Erna van der Werff and her Learning Hub Friesland Foundation tackle the challenges found in education and training with course development and delivery, professionalization, and by connecting people via networks.). Pieter Hoekstra is responsible for organisational development at the Centre for Innovative craftsmanship Water.

Silvia Saravia Matus

Water and Energy Unit, Economic Affairs Officer

Silvia has more than 12 years of experience working for International Organizations (ECLAC, FAO, European Commission) and Governments from Latin America, Europe and Sub-Saharan Africa on public policy, natural resources and development. At present, she is conducting regional research on sustainable water management challenges and SDG 6 monitoring in Latin America and the Caribbean, as well as promoting the implementation of WEFE Nexus on public programs. She holds a PHD in economics from the University of Sheffield, UK. Silvia also engages part-time in online teaching at the University of Oxford on aspects of globalization and development since 2010.

Philippe Mayaux

European Commission
Head of Sector for Biodiversity and Forest, Unit Environment, Sustainable Natural Resources, Directorate-General for International Partnership (DG INTPA)

Philippe Mayaux is the Team Leader for Biodiversity and Forest at the Environment, Sustainable Natural Resources Unit at the Directorate-General for International Partnership (DG INTPA). He started in 1988 as a researcher working on the monitoring of natural resources in Africa from Earth observation. He joined the Joint Research Centre (JRC) of the European Commission in 1995, working successively on tropical deforestation, land-cover mapping and biodiversity-related information systems, with a particular focus on Central Africa. Currently, within our unit, he coordinates the definition and implementation of biodiversity-related policies and programmes, in particular in line with the studies Larger than Elephants and Larger than Tigers. He has more than twenty five years of experience working at the European Institutions, including with the Institute for Environment and Sustainability at the Joint Research Centre in Ispra, Italy. He holds a PhD in forestry from the Université Catholique de Louvain.

Nchedi Sophia Maphokga-Moripe

South Africa Department of Water and Sanitation

Ms Nchedi Sophia Maphokga-Moripe is the Chief Director, Global Cooperation and Strategic Partnerships in the South Africa Department of Water and Sanitation. She is a member of the International Advisory Committee of the UN Water Action Decade 2018-2028, the UN SDG Political Forum Contributor, Water negotiator for the 2023 UN Conference, International Preparatory Group, and has served in high level advisory and negotiating roles as the Alternate Sherpa to the Director General of the Department, and the South African President during the UN- World Bank High Level Panel on Water (HLPW), the UN Water negotiator, on Sustainable Development, Commission, the UN negotiator, contributor and Panellist, on Commission on Status of Women, and the BRICS People to People’s Forum and the G20 Water Deputies negotiator.

Over the years, Ms Moripe has championed various initiatives to promote gender and the role of women globally. She championed the South African chapters of the Women Major Groups led by different Ministers, on Water, including other sectoral groups, like, SAWIMA, (South African Women in Mining) WOESA (Women in Energy South Africa) WINSA (Women in Nuclear South Africa) and was also the Leader of Delegation and Negotiator for UN Commissions in the sectors, Minerals and Energy, Women, and Water and Sanitation on Status of Women from 2003 to date. Nchedi has numerous accolades and Awards to herself, including the Industrial Action in the Public Service, Dispute Resolution and Representation, Best Special Programmes Coordinator, Best Public Service Employee of the Year and many other recognitions.

Michela Miletto

UNESCO World Water Assessment Programme (WWAP)

Michela Miletto joined Unesco in 2008 and is currently  Coordinator of the WWAP. Michela has been involved for over 20 years in the assessment, development and management of water resources, and also worked in geothermal energy and environment. Her working experience in technical assistance includes projects implementation in various regions as the Mediterranean, the USA, Europe, Central and South America and the Caribbean, Eastern Africa and China. Ms Miletto, a native of Italy, joined WWAP from the Organization of American States (OAS) General Secretariat in Washington DC, where she served as a Water Resources Senior Specialist since 2002.

Moshood N. Tijani

African Ministers’ Council on Water (AMCOW)

Moshood N. Tijani is presently, the Groundwater Desk Officer and Climate lead at the African Ministers’ Council on Water (AMCOW), Abuja, Nigeria. He is  charged with driving the groundwater agenda for sustainable utilization and management of groundwater resources in the African continent. He holds a doctorate degree in Hydrogeology and Hydrochemistry from the University of Muenster, Germany as well as a Post-graduate Certificate in Hydrogeology from University of Tuebingen, Germany.

He is before now, a Professor of Hydrogeology and Environmental Geology at the Department of Geology, University of Ibadan, Nigeria, with 20 years of teaching and research experience and over 70 scientific publications. He is a member of national and international professional Hydrogeological Associations.

Luisa Ragher

European External Action Service (EEAS)
Head of Human Rights Division

A national of Italy, Luisa Ragher holds a degree in Political Science and International Relations from the University of Trieste, and a Master Degree in European Studies from the College of Europe in Bruges. She started her career in the private sector as European and Governmental Affairs Manager for Ford Motor Company Europe. In 2001, she joined the European Commission External Relations Directorate General with responsibilities for relations with the US. During her time at headquarters, she has also been responsible for relations with Japan and worked for two years in the office of the Chief Operating Officer of the European External Action Service. Between 2006 and 2010 she served at the EU Delegation to the United States as head of section for transport, energy and environment. Between 2014 and 2018 she served as deputy Head of the EU Delegation to Thailand. She is currently Head of the Human Rights Division of the European External Action Service.

Stanzin Tsephel

Regional Director South Asia

As Director of BORDA South Asia, Stanzin Tsephel is responsible for the implementation and administration of all BORDA South Asia operations. He has 18 years of work experience in water and sanitation. He has worked with organization such as the Stockholm Environment Institute, International Water Management Institute, Ladakh Ecological Development Group (LEDeG), and the Government of Uttaranchal, India. He has an M.B.A from the Institute of Rural Management, Anand (IRMA) and a Master degree in Environmental Change and Management from University of Oxford, England. His most recent efforts include some pioneering work in the area of faecal sludge management in India and Nepal.

Antonella Vagliente

Young Water Solutions
Director General

Antonella Vagliente heads an international NGO based in Belgium that supports the contribution of young generations in low and middle income countries to water and sanitation issues. Born and raised in Argentina, she has been implementing youth empowerment and water projects since high school. She co-founded the transboundary programme SedCero in Argentina, Bolivia and Paraguay, and was Vice-President of the World Youth Parliament for Water. She holds a Licentiate degree in Local and Regional Development and an MSc in Integrated Water Management.

Young Water Solutions  www.youngwatersolutions.org

Jennifer Williams

Faecal Sludge Management Alliance (FSMA)
Executive Director

Jennifer Williams is the Executive Director of the FSM Alliance. The FSM Alliance is a new organization, created in January of 2020, to host the FSM conferences and to build and manage a centralised membership platform for organizations working in faecal sludge management (FSM). Prior to working at the FSM Alliance, Ms. Williams worked on the Water, Sanitation & Hygiene team at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation for seven years. Her background before joining the WSH sector was in non-profit/NGO management and event planning. She holds a bachelor's degree from the University of Washington (USA) in both sociology and political science.

Closed since 18 January 2021
Brussels, Belgium
Organised by
Belgium 102
France 35
Slovenia 32
Switzerland 23
Portugal 22
Italy 20
Netherlands 19
Germany 18
Sweden 18
South Africa 11
United States 10
Spain 9
United Kingdom 9
Lesotho 9
India 8
Mozambique 8
Bangladesh 6
Finland 6
Morocco 6
Nigeria 5
Czech Republic 5
Brazil 5
Bolivia 5
Uganda 5
Lebanon 5
Austria 5
Ethiopia 4
Kazakhstan 4
Greece 4
Romania 4
Luxembourg 4
Niger 4
Ghana 3
Egypt 3
Australia 3
Senegal 3
Guinea-bissau 3
Sri Lanka 3
Uzbekistan 3
Cambodia 3
Georgia 3
Serbia 3
Denmark 3
Chile 3
Israel 3
Kenya 3
Kyrgyzstan 2
Côte d'Ivoire 2
Nepal 2
Chad 2
Zambia 2
Azerbaijan 2
Barbados 2
El Salvador 2
Albania 2
Palestine 2
Türkiye 2
Gambia 2
Malta 2
Benin 2
Slovakia 2
Tanzania, United Republic Of 2
Ecuador 2
Tunisia 2
Belarus 1
Ukraine 1
Hungary 1
Mauritius 1
Bulgaria 1
Moldova, Republic Of 1
Rwanda 1
Kosovo 1
Fiji 1
Thailand 1
Sierra Leone 1
Jordan 1
Ireland 1
Yemen 1
Jamaica 1
Myanmar 1
Papua New Guinea 1
Djibouti 1
Zimbabwe 1
Norway 1
Latvia 1
Somalia 1
Syrian Arab Republic 1
Pakistan 1
Burkina Faso 1
Malawi 1
Swaziland 1
Togo 1
Croatia 1
China 1
Guinea 1
Peru 1
Iraq 1
Sudan 1
South Korea 1
Honduras 1
Aruba 1
United Arab Emirates 1
Estonia 1
Japan 1
Tajikistan 1
Total 549
Authority/Government 163
Other 146
Company 58
Association/Agency 53
University 21
R&D Institution 18
Total 459
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After event 44
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