17 August 2022 – The United Nations University (UNU) is pleased to announce that Prof. Kaveh Madani of Iran has been appointed as the next Director of the UNU Institute for Water, Environment and Health (UNU-INWEH).
A globally recognized environmental scientist, educator, and activist who has been working at the interface of science, policy, and society, Prof. Madani will take up the post of UNU-INWEH Director on 1 February 2023.
Hosted by the Government of Canada and McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, UNU-INWEH is one of the 13 UNU institutes located in 12 countries that contribute to efforts to resolve the pressing global problems of human survival, development, and welfare that are the concern of the United Nations, its Peoples, and Member States. The institute contributes to the resolution of pressing global water challenges by synthesizing existing scientific knowledge; conducting cutting-edge research; identifying emerging policy issues; and developing on-the-ground, scalable solutions.
UNU-INWEH represents UNU in UN-Water, the United Nations inter-agency coordination mechanism for all freshwater-related matters, including sanitation. UNU-INWEH also leads UN-Water’s efforts to support the UN-wide International Decade for Action on “Water for Sustainable Development” (2018–2028).
Prof. Madani came to UNU from Yale University in 2021, and has been working as Head of the Nexus Research Programme at the Dresden-based UNU Institute for Integrated Management of Material Fluxes and of Resources (UNU-FLORES). He also serves as a Research Professor at the City University of New York Remote Sensing Earth System Institute. Previously, Prof. Madani was a tenured faculty member of the Centre for Environmental Policy at Imperial College London.
“I’m delighted that Prof. Madani will lead UNU-INWEH, after having focused on the nexus between water, waste, and soil at UNU-FLORES. His impressive experience in both academia and public service will help UNU-INWEH bridge the gap between water resources research and the practical needs of decision makers in the Global South”, said UNU Rector David Malone.
Dr Michael Small, Chair of the UNU-INWEH International Advisory Committee, added: “Professor Madani has an impressive range of experience on water issues, both in the research and policy worlds, and at the national and international level. We look forward to him bringing that experience to bear in leading UNU-INWEH.”
Prof. Madani’s contributions to water and environmental management go beyond academia. He previously served at the Deputy Vice President level in his home country, as Deputy Head of Iran’s Department of Environment and as Chief of the department’s International Affairs and Conventions Center. He held a variety of strategic roles during his public service career and led Iran’s delegation in several major intergovernmental summits, including the COP23 climate change negotiations.
In 2017–2018, Prof. Madani served as a Vice President of the UN Environment Assembly Bureau, and more recently was a consultant to the UN Environment Management Group, playing a key role in helping the UN system define a coherent approach to a green, inclusive, and rights-based recovery from the COVID-19 crisis.
He holds a BSc in Civil-Hydraulic Engineering (University of Tabriz, Iran), a Master of Water Resources degree (Lund University, Sweden), and PhD in Civil and Environmental Engineering (University of California at Davis, USA).
Prof. Madani is an expert in the development and application of mathematical, economic, and systems analysis models for complex problems involving water, energy, food, climate, and environment to derive policy and governance insights. He is best known for his fundamental contributions to integrating game theory and various decision analysis methods into conventional water resources management models.
He has (co)authored more than 200 publications. He is a Fellow of the American Geophysical Union and the Environmental & Water Resources Institute, and has received numerous awards and recognitions for his research contributions, teaching innovations, and outreach and humanitarian activities.
Prof. Kaveh Madani will succeed Dr Vladimir Smakhtin, who has served as UNU-INWEH Director since June 2016.