Three new Board Members were voted in at our second AGM on 13th July 2022. We are very pleased to welcome Olcay Unver, Rashid Mbaziira and Mamohloding Tlhagale to the Board. Mercedes Castro was also welcomed onto the Board in December to bring a stronger presence in Latin America. You may find their profiles below.
The work of the Board is coordinated by the Executive Office, led by the Chief Executive Officer. The Executive Office also provides editorial and technical services for all documentation related to Executive Board sessions and meetings, decisions, reports of sessions and the country programme documents.
As a membership organisation, and an Association under Swiss Law, HR2Water is also governed by the Annual General Meeting of Members (AGM, held in May/June), which decides on the Board positions, the inclusion of members, the auditors, and approves the final budget and plans that are presented by the Board at the AGM.
President – Dhesigen Naidoo
Dhesigen Naidoo is currently Senior Research Associate at the Institute for Security Studies Africa, a World Bank Senior Advisor, Climate Adaptation Lead for the South African Presidential Climate Commission, and a Founding Member of the Water Policy Group. He is a leader, a scientist and an activist for positive social change.
Previously he was the CEO of the Water Research Commission (WRC), South Africa’s dedicated national Water and Sanitation Innovation, Research and Development Agency for 10 years. He also served in senior positions in the South African national government and South African universities, beginning his career as a medical scientist in a specialist children’s hospital. He is a Councillor of the South African National Advisory Council on Innovation (NACI) and a Fellow of the Mapangubwe Institute for Strategic Reflection (MISTRA). He counts his lovely wife and beautiful children as both his primary source of inspiration and vanguard of his humility.
Secretary – Callum Clench
Callum Clench is a policy expert in sustainable development & business practices, with a particular focus on water and economic development. He has been the Executive Director of the International Water Resources Association (IWRA) since early 2016. IWRA is a non-profit, non-governmental, knowledge-sharing organisation, connecting water professionals across borders and sectors. It holds the World Water Congress focusing on the science-policy interface every 2-3 years.
Previously Callum worked at Climate-KIC based at Imperial College London, an innovation and business start-up programme established by the EU’s European Institute of Innovation and Technology. He has also worked as a policy advisor at the World Water Council, and for the UK’s Sustainable Development Commission reporting to the Office of the Prime Minister. He was also a lecturer at Birkbeck College, University of London, teaching a master’s course on “Environmental Management & Business Policy.
Alexandra Knezovich brings fifteen years’ of experience working with NGOs, SMEs and multi-stakeholder platforms in the US and Europe to her position as Managing Director Engagement at the Toilet Board Coalition. With a background in stakeholder engagement, project management and creative development, Alexandra joined the Coalition in 2016 and over the last seven years her work has centred around communications and development. She currently leads the Toilet Board Coalition’s market development, communications and research programmes, working closely with a team of formidable colleagues around the world.
Andrés Felipe Sánchez Peña
Andrés Sanchez is an Environmental Economist from the Universidad de los Andes (Colombia). He is a specialist in Integrated Management of Water Resources (IWRM) with a Master of Science in Environmental Science and Environmental Policy from Johns Hopkins University. He has 15+ years in the management of shared ecosystems/waters projects in the Americas and the Caribbean. Andrés serves as specialist in the Department of Sustainable Development (DSD) of the Organization of American States (OAS), in charge of the water program of his organization, focusing in the management of the of the Global Environment Facility (GEF) Projects Portfolio in International Waters projects portfolio that OAS executes in the Americas region. He has published peer-reviewed publications and articles in the field of water management, including subtopics such as water diplomacy, climate and hydraulic fracturing among others.
Dr. Anand Chiplunkar
Dr. Anand Chiplunkar has a unique expertise of more than three decades in the fields of urban infrastructure development and environment management. He worked in the Asian Development Bank, Manila till April 2016 as Director, Urban Development and Water Division in the Central and West Asia Department. Earlier he worked in IL&FS Infrastructure Development Corporation, New Delhi as Senior Vice President. Since 2016, he provides strategic advisory services to different organizations including the UN Economic Commission for Europe in People’s First Public Private Partnerships.
His experience in urban infrastructure development covers projects in water, wastewater and solid waste management, urban transport and other municipal activities. His expertise lies in developing Public Private Partnership (PPP) projects in partnership with government agencies in urban, industrial area development, transport and tourism sectors. He also has conducted numerous Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) studies for infrastructure sectors and industries. He holds a Ph/D. in Environmental Science and Engineering. He has been a Hubert Humphrey Fellow at the University of Washington, Seattle and affiliated with the US Environment Protection Agency. He is now retired and based in Pune, India.
Dominique Gatel is a senior director at Veolia, and has spent most of his career working in the water sector. Currently as Director of Public Affairs for Water at Veolia Group. Dominique brings many years of strategic thinking and policy expertise to the subject of water in all its forms, and brings an important bridge between the practical and utilitarian side of water and wastewater supply and management, with a human rights approach in practice a driver for change. He is involved in several professional water organisations, such as AquaFed, EUREAU and International Water Association (IWA). Veolia & AquaFed have always advocated for the human right to water and backed its adoption at UN level since the early 2000s. In 2021, they were one of only 113 supporters of access to toilets in the EC agenda.
Dr Mamohloding Tlhagale (PhD) is the Head of International and Stakeholder Engagement at the Water Research Commission (WRC) of South Africa. Her responsibility includes driving the WRC international and stakeholder engagement strategies, establishing and managing strategic partnerships to profile and position the WRC as a key knowledge partner for water and sanitation research and innovation, and facilitate access and uptake of WRC research and innovation products. Mamohloding has also worked in other sectors including national government as the Director at the Department of Science and Innovation and academia where she was a medical microbiologist and lecturer.
As President of the Women for Water Partnership, and immediate former President of Soroptimist International, Mariet Verhoef-Cohen is an expert in the Education, Empowerment and Enablement of women and girls, ensuring they have the capacity, experience and vocational training needed to manager water resources and gain careers in water related professions.
Mariet is based in the Netherlands, and her goal is to position women as active leaders, experts, partners and agents of change to realise access to safe water for all, for all uses, thus focusing through her SI President’s Appeal, ‘Women, Water & Leadership’ on SDG4 (education), SDG5 (gender equality) and SDG 6 (water for all for all purposes) as these three goals impact all 17 SDGs.
Mercedes Castro is a Peruvian economist and the leader of Agualimpia, an NGO that promotes the value of water and its efficient use. She is an expert in the development of high performance projects financed by international cooperation and the private sector, with the purpose of benefiting vulnerable people and having an influence on public policy and perpetual poverty reduction.
She has created programs to access to water and sanitation, inclusive microfinance, and the acceleration of water public infrastructure through innovative mechanisms.
Mercedes has been a partner & CEO at Hidrika in Peru since 2013, an international consultancy specialized in environmental and water issues. She is also a member of the IAB at Deltares Institute, a member of the Water Policy Group, a member of the IAC to the Dushanbe Process (International Decade for Action “Water for Sustainable Development” 2018-2028), a Sherpa of Peru for the High Level Panel on Water-UN&WB, and she Chairs the Steering Committee of the 2030 Water Resources Group in Peru.
Olcay Ünver is the Professor of Practice at the Environmental and Resource Management Program, and Senior Global Futures Scientist with Julie Ann Wrigley Global Futures Laboratory, at Arizona State University. He is also an active member of the Water Policy Group, a Senior Water Advisor to FAO, and an Industry Fellow at the Australian Rivers Institute.
In his public service career spanning three decades, Olcay led FAO’s water programs and activities, UN-Water’s World Water Assessment Programme, and UNESCO’s Program Office on Global Water Assessment and served as Vice-Chair of UN-Water. A Turkish national, Olcay spends his time between both countries.
Dr Rashid Mbaziira, a Ugandan national, is the AMCOW Executive Secretary based in Nigeria, and he works with a broad range of stakeholders in political mobilization, and inspires, manages and enhances AMCOW’s position as the African Water and Sanitation sector leader, convener and agenda setting organization. A Rhodes Scholar, he was admitted to the degree of Doctor of Philosophy of the University of Oxford, St Catherine’s College, in 2007. His research was in the field of Water Sciences, Policy and Management.
Dr Mbaziira has two decades of experience; 15 years of which have been in providing policy development leadership in the water and sanitation sector in Africa. His expertise includes formulation and operationalisation of strategic continental initiatives to implement the Sharm-el-Sheikh Declaration on accelerating the achievement of water and sanitation goals in Africa.