‘Water for Life’ UN-Water Best Practices Award

5th edition: Selection Committee (International Jury)

The Jury is formed by international experts of proven distinction in the water and communication sector from international organizations, initiatives, universities and Think Tanks.

After being evaluated by the Technical Advisory Committee (TAC), the selected applications are reviewed by the international Jury which agrees for selecting winners of the 2015 edition.

Members of the International Jury

Blanca Jimenez CisnerosBlanca Jimenez Cisneros

President of the Jury of the 2015 edition of the "Water for Life" UN-Water Best Practices Award. Director of the Division of Water Sciences and Secretary of the International Hydrological Programme, UNESCO.

Ms. Blanca Jimenez Cisneros holds a Degree on Environmental Engineering specialized in water from the Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana; a Master´s and a Doctorate (Water and Wastewater Treatment) from the Institut National des Sciences Appliquées (INSA) in Toulouse, France. Among her most outstanding positions, she has been President of the International Water Association in Mexico; Vice President of the Mexican Academy of Sciences; Professional Development Coordinator at the Mexican Institute of Water Technology (IMTA); Deputy Director of Hydraulic and Environmental Engineering Institute of National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM); President of the College of Environmental Engineers of Mexico and the Mexican National Engineering and Environmental Sciences. At the international level, Ms. Jimenez Cisneros was a Senior Expert Consultant to the Governments of Argentina, Ecuador, Guatemala, India, Mexico, Nicaragua, Spain and South Africa in wide range of issues including the formation of national wastewater treatment programmes, water re-use; as well as co-Chair of the Inter-American Network of Academic Sciences and member of the Executive Committee of the International Water Association. She has closely collaborated with IHP initiatives in our region, especially with those related with urban waters, area that she has a clear commitment and with Aqua-LAC Scientific Journal, both as author of published articles and as a reviewer. She has received several awards.

Olcay ÜnverOlcay Ünver
Deputy Director, Land & Water division, FAO

Mr Unver responsibilities at FAO include the water, land and soil related activities and programs, mainstreaming water across the various sectors and disciplines, and cooperating with partners and stakeholders within and outside the UN system. Before joining FAO he was the Coordinator of the UN World Water Assessment Programme and the Director of the UNESCO Programme Office on Global Water Assessment. Prior positions include a professorship with Kent State University, Ohio, where he founded the Euphrates-Tigris Initiative for Cooperation (ETIC), between Iraq, Syria, and Turkey. While he was the president of the Southeastern Anatolia Project (GAP) Regional Development Administration in Turkey Mr. Ünver transformed a large infrastructure project into a sustainable socioeconomic development program. In 1999 he was listed among the 19 “European Visionaries” by the Time Magazine. Mr. Ünver holds a Ph.D. in Civil Engineering from The University of Texas at Austin and Master's and Bachelor's degrees, also in Civil Engineering, from Middle East Technical University, Ankara, Turkey.

Thomas ChirambaThomas Chiramba
Chief, Freshwater Ecosystems Unit in the Division of Environmental Policy Implementation (DEPI), UNEP

Thomas Chiramba’s expertise lies in: integrated water resources management (bulk water resources and water supply and sanitation); transboundary water resource management; and water infrastructure development. Thomas facilitated negotiations on agreements on transboundary water courses, and he also facilitated policy development at national and regional levels on water resources management. Thomas also organized international dialogue on controversial environmental and social issues on dams. In addition, Thomas has also provided technical advice on institutional development and on the job training to ministries and local governments on the delivery of technical services in urban and rural areas, oversaw the implementation of regional programmes on IWRM, and managed urban infrastructure planning, development and operations. Thomas holds a PhD in civil engineering from the Technical University of Karlsruhe, Federal Republic of Germany and a Masters degree in the same field from the Rhine Westfalia Technical Unversity, Aachen, Federal Republic of Germany.

David CoatesDavid Coates
Environmental Affairs Officer, Inland Waters UNCBD – United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity

David Coates graduated in biology from the University of Newcastle upon Tyne, UK, and also obtained a Masters Degree from the same university in tropical marine ecology. In the late 1970’s he worked on environmental management problems in irrigation schemes in the Nile Basin, Sudan. In 1980 he went to Papua New Guinea where he worked on a wide range of issues but particularly on large river fisheries development. He earned his PhD in 1986 at the Open University, UK, on applied biology of tropical freshwater fish faunas with focus on Africa and Australia. Joining the field programme of FAO for 11 years he concentrated mainly on the management and development of large river fishery resources, including food-security, sustainability and environmental issues. Working with the fisheries programme of the Mekong River Commission he dealt with water resource management aspects of fisheries in the region. And further to this he joined a project for mainstreaming biodiversity and environmental considerations into the fisheries, agriculture and water resources sectors in the lower Ganges Basin. Dr. Coates joined the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity, based in Montreal, in August 2003.