Water insecurity is increasingly a cause of social and political instability threatening peace and security at all levels. The Geneva Water Hub aims at better understanding and preventing water-related tensions between competing uses, between public and private actors, and between political entities and countries. The Geneva Water Hub is Centre of the University of Geneva, as well as a joint project with the Swiss Confederation (Agency for Development and Cooperation, Global Programme Water Division).
- Vision and Mission
Sustainable water resources management is a major global challenge of the 21st century. In its 2015 Global Risks report, the World Economic Forum ranked water crises as the highest global risk. Water is essential for public health, food security, energy, and ecosystem services. This vital resource is facing unprecedented challenges, and is more and more linked to insecurity at local, regional and global scale; this is illustrated by growing tensions around large dams, mining operations and various disputes over land and water.
However, despite the complexity of the challenges, water can become a theme for collaboration and can be transformed from a source of potential crisis into an instrument of peace. It is with this positive vision that the Geneva Water Hub was established to help prevent water conflicts at an early stage and to promote water as an instrument of peace and cooperation.
- The Blue Peace Movement
Blue Peace is a global movement that highlights initiatives on water, peace, security and cooperation. The Movement gathers numerous actions undertaken by different actors (academia, culture, political and diplomatic actions, civil society and the private sector) and at different levels (from local to global).The Blue Peace Movement is an initiative supported by Swiss Department of Foreign Affairs.
House of Switzerland video on Blue Peace:
Blue Peace Movement in action at the 2018 World Water Forum between 18 and 23 March in Brasília:
François Münger holds Masters degrees in mineralogy and geophysics (Univ. of Lausanne), hydrology (Univ. of Neuchâtel), and environmental engineering (EPFL). His experience spans across a range of different private and public institutions in Switzerland, Africa, Latin America, Central Asia and East Europe. He notably was the Chief of the Central America Water Programme for the Swiss Agency for Cooperation and Development (SDC) and Senior Water Specialist at the World Bank. After heading SDC’s Global Water Program for the past eight years, François was awarded the title of Swiss Special Envoy for Water and given responsibility for the creation and development of the Geneva Water Hub.
Prof Danilo Türk
Lead political advisor
Danilo Türk is a Slovenian diplomat, professor of international law, human rights expert, and political figure who served as President of Slovenia from 2007 to 2012. He was the first Slovene ambassador to the United Nations, from 1992 to 2000, and was the UN Assistant Secretary General for Political Affairs from 2000 to 2005. He is a visiting professor of international law at Columbia University in New York City, a professor emeritus at the Faculty of Law of the University of Ljubljana, and non-resident senior fellow of Chongyang Institute for Financial studies at Renmin University of China in Beijing. He is the founder of the Danilo Türk Foundation, devoted mostly to the rehabilitation of child victims of armed conflict. He was also Chair of the Global High Level Panel on Water and Peace between 2015 and 2017.
Prof Laurence Boisson de Chazournes
Research and Education Function, Full Professor
Professor at the Faculty of Law of the University of Geneva since 1999, Laurence Boisson de Chazournes is also Visiting Professor at Aix-Marseille University, Paris I and Paris II Universities as well as the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies (Geneva). She is the Director of the Geneva LL.M. in International Dispute Settlement (MIDS) and co-Director of the Geneva Center for International Dispute Settlement (CIDS). She is an Associate Member of the Institute of International Law (IDI). Laurence Boisson de Chazournes is an arbitrator and has acted as counsel before the International Court of Justice as well as in other international fora and has been involved in numerous negotiations regarding international watercourses. She was a member of the Global High-Level Panel on Water and Peace between 2015 and 2017. Her publications can be accessed here.
Prof Christian Bréthaut
Research and Education Function, Scientific Director
Prof Christian Bréthaut holds a PhD in Geosciences and Environment from the University of Lausanne. He leads the Geneva Water Hub’s Education and Knowledge component since August 2014. His area of expertise is the analysis of water policies and the issues associated with the management of cross border rivers. Prof Bréthaut’s particular focus within the domain of water management is the capacity of institutions to adapt, the water-food-energy-ecosystems Nexus and the exploration of the link between science and policy. Access full biography on the dedicated University of Geneva webpage.
Lead water specialist
Natasha Carmi, an engineer by education, holds a Master’s Degree in Hydrology for Environmental Management. She joined the Geneva Water Hub in March 2018 and contibutes to the establishment of the Global Water Observatory on Water and Peace, as well as the development of the women, water and peace agenda. Prior to that, she worked as water policy advisor to the Palestinian Negotiations Support Project, working closely with decision makers, and has experience in bilateral and regional water negotiations. She is used to working in highly sensitive and timely political environments. She worked with water resources and environmental challenges in the Middle East for the past 20 years. She serves frequently as a faculty member for conferences and workshops dealing with transboundary water resources in general, and hydropolitics in particular, at which water is a core political issue and international water law is a necessary framework for resolving conflicts and identifying opportunities and solutions.
Senior Programme Manager
Sybille Chevalier-Gianadda holds a Master in International Studies from the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva and a Master of Arts in Law and Diplomacy from the Fletcher School in Boston. She is mainly working on innovative financing mechanisms specifically aimed at promoting water as an instrument of peace to foster transboundary water cooperation, following the recommendation of the Global High-Level Panel on Water and Peace. Before joining the Geneva Water Hub, she has been active for 10 years in the sustainable finance industry. In this context, she gained experience in different fields such as sustainability research, shareholder engagement, innovation in sustainable finance, SDG investing or asset management. She has also worked on projects related to adaptation to climate change for a UN agency in Latin America.
Fatine Ezbakhe holds a PhD in Civil Engineering from the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya (UPC) in Barcelona (Spain). She specializes in water and environmental data analysis with an emphasis on the development of policy tools to support decision making under uncertainty. She has experience in both industry and academia, first as a Technical Engineer at Aigues de Barcelona (SUEZ Water Spain) and then as a Research Support Officer at the UPC. At the Geneva Water Hub, she contributes to the research project on monitoring for international hydropolitical tensions.
Maria Güell i Pons
Maria Güell i Pons holds a Bachelor in geotechnical engineering from the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya and a Master of Science in numerical analysis from the International Center for Numerial Methods in Engineering (CIMNE), both in Barcelona (Spain). Her experience spans across a range of engineering consulting companies in Spain, Austria and Switzerland and as a research assistant in academia. She has worked eight years as a senior dam safety specialist in the Swiss federal Office for Energy and as a project consultant for The United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS). At the Geneva Water Hub, she contributes to the research about the role of large dams in transboundary water negotiations.
Hannah Hilbert-Wolf holds a PhD in Geology (James Cook University, Australia), and is currently pursuing a MSc in Innovation, Human Development, and Sustainability at the University of Geneva. She worked as a sedimentologist prior to beginning her MSc on projects in Australia, New Zealand, the U.S., and South Africa. Hannah also has experience in science education and communication, working as a STEM careers coordinator at Scitech in Western Australia. Hannah is interested in combining her experiences and training in the natural and social sciences to contribute to innovative, sustainable water governance and development. As an intern at the Geneva Water Hub, Hannah’s main responsibilities include contributing to the team’s Back-to-Back Safe Spaces project and the Politics of Dams action track.
Öykü Irmakkesen is a researcher at the Geneva Water Hub and at the Platform for International Water Law of the University of Geneva. She is also a teaching assistant at the Geneva Academy of International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights and is a PhD candidate at the Faculty of Law of the University of Geneva. She holds an LLM degree from the Geneva Academy and a bachelor’s degree from the Galatasaray University (Istanbul, Turkey). Previously she has worked for the Legal Division of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and as an assistant programme coordinator for the Association for Solidarity with Asylum Seekers and Migrants (Ankara, Turkey). In 2014, she was the recipient of the Henry Dunant Research Prize.
Stéphane Kluser holds a Masters degree in Environmental Sciences from the University of Geneva with a specialization in geographic information systems (GIS) and remote sensing. He is responsible for the Geneva Water Hub’s communications as well as information management. His work includes the creation of monthly water maps, content management for the online platform and handling the Hub’s presence on social media networks. Access full biography on the dedicated University of Geneva webpage.
Dr Denis Lanzanova
Research and Education Function, Scientific Officer
Denis Lanzanova holds a PhD in Economics from the Toulouse School of Economics. He specializes in environmental and natural resources economics with a particular emphasis on valuation of freshwater ecosystem services, decision analysis and the water-food-energy nexus. Before joining the Geneva Water Hub, he worked as a scientific project officer at the Joint Research Centre (European Commission) and as a senior researcher at the Centre for Development Research (ZEF) at the University of Bonn. Access full biography on the dedicated University of Geneva webpage.
Senior Programme Manager
Rukan Manaz holds a Master Degree in International Affairs and Governance from the University of St. Gallen as well as a second Bachelor Degree in Psychology from the University of Basel. Within the Geneva Water Hub she is mainly working on new financing mechanisms for transboundary water cooperation following the recommendation on innovative financing of the Global High Level Panel on Water and Peace. Prior to joining the Geneva Water Hub, she has worked at the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) within the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs. Already as Program Manager in the Global Program Water, she worked on the Blue Peace Movement as well as on financing challenges in the water sector but also on Public Private Partnership Projects for the Sustainable Development Goals.
Project Assistant and Analyst
Ms. Monica Nuñez holds university degrees in Law and in Political Sciences (University of Lima – Peru), a masters degree in European and Economic Law (University of Lausanne) and a second one in Business Law (University of Geneva) as well as a Diploma in International Environmental Law (United Nations Institute for Training and Research-UNITAR). She has since complemented her legal studies with several courses on conception and development of online training projects (University of Geneva, Faculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences). Before joining the Geneva Water Hub, she worked for UNITAR where she was in charge of developing, managing and implementing online and face-to-face capacity building projects in the field of International Law, in particular in International Environmental Law.
Corporate Operations Administrator
Caroline Pellaton holds a PhD in Earth Sciences from the University of Geneva. She joined the Geneva Water Hub in June 2018 as Corporate Operations Administrator. Her work consists of managing administrative issues as well as monitoring the achievements and implementation of the objectives and contributing to some operational activities. She is also in charge of the fundraising activities and donor relations. Over the last ten years, she worked as a country level water program manager in emergencies and post conflict environments in various contexts such as Sri Lanka, Niger, Republic of South Sudan, Central African Republic, Yemen and Jordan.
Prof Géraldine Pflieger
Research and Education Function, Associate Professor
Géraldine Pflieger is Associate Professor in urban and environmental policies at the University of Geneva (Department of political science and international relations and Institute for Environmental Sciences) and the Director of the Hub on environmental governance and territorial development (GEDT). She holds together with Christian Bréthaut the UNESCO Chair in Hydropolitics at the University of Geneva. She is the Director of the Institute for environmental sciences. Her current research is centered on the regulation of shared natural resources (mainly water and land) – at the international, regional and local levels – as well as the transformation of the governance of urban spaces in the face of the major contemporary infrastructural and environmental challenges (for example the links between transport and land-use or between urbanization and resource consumption).
Dr Mara Tignino
Research and Education Function, Reader
Dr Tignino is a Reader at the Faculty of Law and Coordinator of the Platform for International Water Law. She holds a PhD in International Law from the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies of Geneva and has been a Visiting Scholar at George Washington University School of Law in Washington DC. She is the author of the monographs "Water During and After Armed Conflicts: What Protection in International Law?" (Brill, 2016) et “L’eau et la guerre. Éléments pour un régime juridique” (Bruylant, 2011) and co-editor of the books “Public Participation and Water Resources Management: Where Do We Stand in International Law?" (UNESCO-IHP, 2015) and the “Research Collection on International Water Law” (Edward Elgar, 2015). In 2017, she won the prize "Women Peacebuilders for Water" from "Fondazione Milano per Expo" for her research in international water law and her dedication to the creation of new generations of international lawyers. Access full biography on the dedicated University of Geneva webpage.
Senior Project Officer
Jean Willemin holds a Master's degree in Sociology and a Certificate of Advanced Studies in Water Policy and Management from the University of Geneva. Before joining the Geneva Water Hub, he worked in the field of human rights, both for international organisations and NGOs with an increasing engagement on water governance issues since 2014. Furthermore, he is specialised in facilitation methods that he performs in the frame of mandates for international organisations, NGOs and public administrations. At the Geneva Water Hub, Jean contributes to the development and implementation of the global agenda and is in charge of organising roundtable sessions on current water governance challenges.