IFC and Partners Launch Water Resources Group in Davos
February 13, 2012 -- IFC and partners recently launched the Water Resources Group, an innovative, multi-stakeholder partnership that aims to improve water security, at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. Politicians, leading business figures, and development agency heads from across the globe convened at a private session to discuss the WRG’s progress and impact and to chart the entity’s next steps.
At the same event, Anders Berntell was appointed head of the WRG. Prior to his appointment, Berntell was the Executive Director of the Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI) where he was responsible for the overall development and direction of SIWI’s activities, including the highly regarded World Water Week, an annual event held in Stockholm.
“We welcome Anders to the WRG. His leadership and expertise will help us deepen this partnership and build on our early successes,” said Lars Thunell, IFC Executive Vice President and CEO.
The WRG, which is now housed at IFC, is currently supporting six countries in their efforts to transform their water sectors. The group approaches transformation in three stages:
Scoping and preparations for the engagement;
Developing the database for individual water basins and analyzing the cost curve; and
Establishing countries’ capacity to implement the transformational measures.
“I’m looking forward to working with the WRG to encourage countries and regions to implement reforms that will help avert a water crisis,” said Berntell.
Berntell remarked that in government circles, the link between economic development and water is unclear, impeding decision-making that accurately reflects the cross-cutting nature of the resource. “We’re hoping to move the discussion about water management up the political agenda.” Berntell said. He pointed out that many private sector actors and multinationals have a clearer understanding of water issues than governments, making them an important partner in any effort to address global water security.
“We are honored to have Anders lead the work of the Water Resources Group. He is a global authority on water and brings the understanding as well as the connections across different spheres that will take this initiative to the next level,” said Usha Rao-Monari, Global Head for Water.