12 April 2016, Tokyo — The United Nations University (UNU) is pleased to announce the appointment of Dr Vladimir Smakhtin as the next Director of the UNU Institute for Water, Environment and Health (UNU-INWEH).
UNU-INWEH, based in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, is hosted by the Government of Canada and McMaster University. It seeks to help resolve pressing global water challenges through the synthesis of existing scientific knowledge; cutting-edge research to identify emerging policy issues; application of on-the-ground, scalable solutions; and relevant public outreach.
Director-Designate Smakhtin will take up the post in late June 2016. He will succeed Dr Zafar Adeel, who has served as Director of UNU-INWEH since 2006.
“I am excited for the opportunity to build on the institute’s excellent achievements”, said Dr Smakhtin. “I will work closely with the UNU-INWEH research team, with McMaster University researchers, and with UNU global faculty to foster UNU-INWEH’s role as an interdisciplinary ‘think tank’ on water and development that explicitly links blue sky, applied, and policy research and helps countries put it into action more effectively.”
Dr Smakhtin brings to the role three decades of experience as a researcher and research manager in the broad area of water resources, with an emphasis on global and regional water variability and scarcity, environmental water management, climate change, and food security.
Since 2008, Dr Smakhtin has led the Water Availability, Risk and Resilience Research Department at the International Water Management Institute (IWMI, Sri Lanka) — with projects in over 20 countries in Asia and Africa. In parallel, since 2011 he has led a component of the global CGIAR Research Program on Water, Land and Ecosystems (WLE) and coordinated the IWMI research portfolio of the CGIAR Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS).
From 2001 to 2008, Dr Smakhtin served as IWMI’s Principal Hydrologist, leading many research projects in Asia, Africa and globally. He also served as Acting Head of IWMI’s Communication and Knowledge Management Division. In 1993–2001, he worked in South Africa first as a Senior Research Officer – Hydrology with the Institute for Water Research at Rhodes University, in Grahamstown, and subsequently as Senior Water Management Specialist with the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) in Pretoria.
Dr Smakhtin holds a PhD in Hydrology and Water Resources from the Water Problems Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences. He has authored more than 200 research publications, including journal articles, books, and book chapters.
“I am pleased to welcome Dr Smakhtin to the UNU family. I am confident that under his leadership, UNU-INWEH will not only sustain but enhance its high level of activity and quality”, said UNU Rector David M. Malone.
“I would like to take this opportunity, also, to thank Dr Adeel for his contributions to the work of UNU during his ten-year tenure as Director of UNU-INWEH”, he added.
Journalists who would like to request an interview with UNU-INWEH Director-Designate Vladimir Smakhtin may contact UNU PR Coordinator Junko Nishikawa (+81 (03) 5467-1298, firstname.lastname@example.org).