Global water research agency announces new Director General

IWMI is pleased to announce that its Board of Governors has appointed Dr. Mark Smith as Director General.

Dr Mark Smith - Director General(Colombo, August 20, 2020) CGIAR Research Center, the International Water Management Institute (IWMI) is pleased to announce that its Board of Governors has appointed Dr. Mark Smith as Director General.

In his previous role as IWMI’s Deputy Director General, Smith was responsible for IWMI’s research programs and was instrumental in the design and implementation of the Institute’s new strategy and management structure. Appointed for an initial period of two years he will maintain that momentum with a strong focus on ensuring business continuity and financial sustainability during the Covid-19 pandemic.

An immediate priority will be working with partners to ‘build back better’ by enhancing the resilience of water systems in the aftermath of the ongoing pandemic. Smith will also prioritise maintaining and further building IWMI’s contributions to the CGIAR and its transition into the new ‘One CGIAR’ and its new research agenda with water a critical and central component.

Mark Smith: “I am very pleased to be stepping up to this leadership position at this moment in IWMI’s history. In 2019, we launched IWMI’s new strategy, which sets out how we will build development impacts through the Institute’s research programs over the coming five years. Motivated by delivering solutions to critical global challenges, our programs – focused on water, food and ecosystems; climate change and resilience; and growth and inclusion – are growing. I am greatly looking forward to working with IWMI’s staff, CGIAR’s global network and our many partners in pursuing our vision of a water secure world.”

The announcement comes after current IWMI Director General, Dr. Claudia Sadoff, was appointed Team Convener and Managing Director, Research Delivery and Impact of the inaugural CGIAR Executive Management Team (EMT). The new team are collectively charged with stewarding the creation of ‘One CGIAR’ – a more unified CGIAR with a new research agenda embracing a systems-transformation approach for food, land and water.

Claudia Sadoff: “I feel honored to be taking up this new role, as I have felt proud and privileged to serve as the Director General of IWMI. I strongly believe that IWMI’s mission and the mandate of One CGIAR are central to meeting the most fundamental and urgent challenges facing our world today. I look forward to continuing to work within One CGIAR toward a more prosperous, sustainable and equitable future.”

Roberto Lenton, Chair, IWMI Board of Governors: “The Board is delighted that Mark Smith has agreed to take on the role of Director General. Mark has shown outstanding leadership skills as IWMI’s Deputy Director General, and we know he will not only maintain the momentum but also take the Institute to the next level of achievement and impact. The Board is also grateful to Claudia for her three years of exemplary leadership at IWMI, during which she has truly transformed the Institute and greatly increased its global visibility.”

Smith, formerly IWMI’s Deputy Director General – Research for Development, brings more than 25 years of research and program management experience in water resources, agriculture, climate and sustainability. He was formerly Director – Global Water Programme, and Manager for Organizational Change at the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), and a Governor at the World Water Council. He has led innovative, multi-regional programs in Asia, Africa and Latin America addressing river basin management, climate change adaptation and nature-based solutions, and transboundary cooperation in water management. He has a doctorate in ecology and resource management from the University of Edinburgh and a master’s in climatology from the University of Guelph.

CGIAR announcement on delivering as One CGIAR: Inaugural CGIAR Executive Management Team

More information on CGIAR’s transition to operating as One CGIAR can be accessed here.

For more information, please contact:
Toby Johnson, Head Global Communications and Knowledge Management
e-mail; tel +94 (0)779425984



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