Mark Smith

Director General

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 of the Global Water Program at the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), where he led innovative, multi-regional programs in Asia, Africa and Latin America addressing river basin management, transboundary cooperation and water governance, climate change adaptation and nature-based solutions. He led IUCN advocacy of water-related policies and strategies in UNFCCC, Ramsar Convention, Rio+20 and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), as well as delivery of support for national and regional-level policy innovation and scaling of water systems change.

Before IUCN, he was a Research Group Leader at CSIRO delivering analysis of environmental policy and management, strategies for sustainable development and support for planning and implementation of integrated water, land and ecosystem management. As a scientist at the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology (CEH), Smith worked in partnership with ICRAF on projects investigating the impacts of agroforestry on water resource management and productivity in smallholder farming systems.

He has a PhD in ecology and resource management from the University of Edinburgh and a Master’s in climatology from the University of Guelph.

Current Projects


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