Iran's Water Market

On May 27, a discussion on possible entry points in the Iran water market took place in Bern. Presentations of Switzerland Global Entreprise and the Geneva Water Directorate were followed by insights from members of the SWP with experience in Iran. It was decided to conduct a further meeting at then end of this year. If you would be interested to join this discussion group, please contact us.

First, Nader Erfani from Switzerland Global Entreprise gave some overall explanations of Iran’s society and economy. Potential entry points into Iran’s market were also identified. The entire presentation can be found here.

Then, Sepidey Nayemi, from the Geneva Water Directorate presented the results from the study tour they conducted on the Karun River. The entire presentation can be found here. the study tour found the following needs:

  • Water saving tools in agriculture
  • Technical support for wastewater treatment plants
  • Urbanwaste management (noth of Iran)
  • Water quality and drinking water supply
  • Water desalinization

The presentations were followed by discussion by the SWP members (from the academic, private and public sector) present at the meeting. There was a big interest in continuing the discussions and a follow-up meeting will thus be organized at the end of 2016.

If you are willing to join the discussion group, please drop us a line.

General Assembly 2016

The General Assembly 2016 of the Swiss Water Partnership took place on 18 May 2016 at the EPFL. 61 participants representing around half of the organizations of the SWP were present at the assembly. Next to the formal part of the assembly, the members got a chance to discover the activities of the CODEV, to discuss future activities of the SWP, to learn more on the dispatch on Switzerland’s International Cooperation 2017 – 2020 and to exchange their ideas during several networking opportunities.

In the morning, the Centre for Development and Cooperation of the EPFL presented some of their innovative projects and approaches. You may find these presentations hereafter:

During the statutory part of the General Assembly, the (re-)elections of  Thomas Zeller and Darcy Molnar (ETHZ-IfU) as members of the SWP steering board were announced. The elections were held electronically prior to the Assembly. Furthermore, several documents such as the annual report 2015 and the 2016-17 action plan got approved. More details can be found in the detailed minutes or in the overal slideshow of the assembly.

In the breakout sessions, members had the possibility to discuss several opportunities for cross-sector partnerships. A range of subjects were discussed:

  • The participation in the Citizen Forum of the World Water Forum in Brazil in 2018
  • Iran water market as business opportunity for Swiss Experts
  • Water governance in Tunisia
  • Water kiosks
  • Water from air: from lab to market

Furthermore several participants discussed the possible outcomes and modalities of a working group on wastewater which will amongst other discuss the topic in preparation of an event in Geneva on World Water Day 2017 and a thematic event in Stockholm 2017. This working group, under the lead of WaterLex, will be launche shortly.


Finally Odile Keller, head of Dicision Analysis and Policy from SDC, presented the main elements of the new dispatch and illustrated how water is reflected in the five accents foreseen in the dispatch.

More details on the discussion of the day can be found in the detailed minutes or in the overal slideshow of the assembly.

cewas is looking for motivated entrepreneurs …

cewas is still accepting applications for its annual start-up programme. Starting in August 2016, participants will be trained in sustainable sanitation, water and resource management as well as on business development. Participants create their business model and write a business plan according to the “Lean Start-Up” method. They will become part of the large cewas community and get in touch with the gatekeepers, experts and investors on the largest event of the sector – the World Water Week 2016 in Stockholm. With only two places left, applicants are advised to hurry. More information on:

Business Matchmaking Services in Sanitation, Water and Resource Management

Are you looking for a business partner that matches your needs in entering new markets?

seecon international gmbh launches exciting and novel opportunities in connecting businesses, start-ups and entrepreneurs in the sanitation, water and resource management sector across borders. We help you to find the perfect match, connect with companies that have common business interests, enter new markets and establish a presence abroad. Enter information on technologies, products and services you are looking for and which you are offering to our business matchmaking platform.

For further information and matchmaking service costs contact Johannes Heeb ( or Martin Wafler ( or visit

WaterLex General Assembly Elects Four New Members of the Board

Board and staff picture

Photo: The WaterLex General Assembly elected its newest Board Members in May 2016. From the left are new Board Members Dr Ania Grobicki and Mr François Münger, current WaterLex President Professor Eibe Riedel, current Honourable Secretary Catherine Brölmann, new Board Member Cécile Molinier, current Vice President Mr Yves Etienne, Executive Director and new Board Member, Mr Jean-Benoit Charrin, current Board Member Honourable Professor Giorgio Malinverni. At the right is WaterLex General Manager, Amanda Loeffen.

At the 2016 WaterLex General Assembly, the Assembly elected four new Board Members for the 2016-2019 period. WaterLex is fortunate to have the guidance and input from the newest Members: Dr. Ania Grobicki, Acting Secretary General of the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands; Ms Cécile Molinier, former Director of the UNDP Office in Geneva; Mr François Münger of the Geneva Water Hub and Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation – they have officially joined the Board of Directors of WaterLex as of May and will hold their first meeting together in September in Geneva. Mr Jean-Benoit Charrin, Executive Director of WaterLex is the fourth new Member who will step up to the Board on 1 August 2016.

Below, please find short biographies of our newest Board Members.


Ania Grobicki Dr Grobicki took up the position of Deputy Secretary General of the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands in March 2015, and since November 2015 she has been leading the Convention Secretariat as Acting Secretary General of the Convention. Previously, she worked in the oil industry in South Africa, started a consultancy firm, developing projects on the restoration of urban wetlands and urban catchment management, as well as writing and publishing on the water needs of cities, industry, agriculture and energy. From 2002, Ania led the CGIAR Challenge Programme on Water and Food, based in Sri Lanka. Thereafter she was based for 3 years at WHO in Switzerland working on issues of Research for Health. As Executive Secretary of the Global Water Partnership (2009-2015), based in Sweden, she managed a world-wide network of over 3000 partner organizations, and developed global action programmes including a focus on water and climate change adaptation.

Dr Grobicki holds degrees in Chemical Engineering and in Economics, and a PhD in Biotechnology.


Cécile MolinierCécile is a current Member of WaterLex. She joined the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in 1992 from the UN Secretariat. Her first assignment in UNDP was as Deputy Resident Representative in Tunisia followed by Resident Coordinator/Resident Representative assignments in Sao Tomé and Principe, Togo, and Mauritania. She was reassigned as Director to the UNDP Office in Geneva in August 2007, and retired from UNDP in October 2012. . As UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative at country level, Cécile contributed to the achievement of national development objectives in strategic areas such as community based management of natural resources in Tunisia, environmental protection, poverty reduction and capacity development in Sao Tomé and Principe, mobilization against HIV/AIDS in Togo, support to democratic transition and human rights in Mauritania. At Headquarters level, she was instrumental in promoting the UN reform agenda and UNDP corporate priorities by developing innovative partnerships with non-traditional partners such as sub-national authorities, the academic community, civil society organizations and the private sector.

Ms Molinier holds both Bachelor and Master of Arts degrees in English from the Sorbonne in Paris, a Master’s degree in English Literature from Queen Mary College, London University, and an MBA (Organisational Behaviour) from Pace University in New York.

Mr François MÜNGER

Francois MüngerFrançois is a current Member of WaterLex. He is the former head of Global Programs Water Initiatives at the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, SDC, where he launched, developed and profiled many large programmes in his eight years there. He is now the Swiss Special Envoy for Water at SDC. He launched the Geneva Water Hub, (Pôle eau de Genève) in 2015, an international platform for hydro-politics in International Geneva. The Geneva Water Hub has three pillars: (i) Networking of the water units in the international Geneva, (ii) post-graduate courses & research on water governance and hydro-diplomacy, and (iii) a think-tank on water & security.

Mr Münger holds a MSc in geophysics and mineralogy (University of Lausanne), MSc. in hydrogeology (University of Neuchatel) and an European MSc. in environmental engineering and biotechnology (Swiss Federal Institute of Technology –EPFL), as well as a CAS in geological hazards (University of Geneva). He worked previously as a scientific researcher for the EPFL, as director of a dams & deep boreholes project in Africa, as Chief of SDC Water Program in Central America and as Senior Water Specialist in the World Bank.

Mr Jean-Benoit CHARRIN

Jean-Benoit CharrinJean-Benoit Charrin has been the Executive Director of the WaterLex International Secretariat since January 2011, overseeing strategy and operations. He progressively specialized in the undertaking of country-specific water and sanitation legal and institutional sector assessments, as well as human-right-to-water compliance reviews. Mr Charrin’s commitment to the human right to water and sanitation and to improving international water governance is unparalleled. Under his leadership, WaterLex has become a true catalyst for change.

Mr Charrin holds an LLM in international human rights law from the University of Essex (United Kingdom) and a Master’s degree in theology from the University of Fribourg.

More information on the WaterLex Board is posted here.

Historic Roundtable on Middle East Water: Outcomes from the IPU Committee on Middle East Questions

IPU Group photo

Photo Credit: Inter-Parliamentary Union. 2 June 2016. Delegates on balcony at IPU. Roundtable on Middle East Water, IPU Committee on Middle East Questions (image source)

“The role of science and technology in projects of peace” was the focus of this historic meeting held in Geneva, 31 May to 2 June, 2016.

WaterLex General Manager Ms Amanda Loeffen and Scientific Officer Dr Florian Thevenon presented the expertise of WaterLex to the attendees. The roundtable participants, welcomed by IPU Secretary General Mr Martin Chungong and Committee President Ms Denise Pascal Allende, Member of the Chilean National Assembly, included members of the Committee from Belgium, France, Lesotho, Palestine, and the United Arab Emirates. The delegations included Members of Parliaments from Bahrain, Egypt, Israel, and Palestine, as well as experts. The meeting was open to all parliaments in the Middle East to attend. Also presenting at the roundtable were Dr Maurizio Bona of CERN and Professor Herwig Schopper of the SESAME Council.

This roundtable on water was historic for two reasons. First and foremost, it was to create an environment of knowledge sharing to support a water-centric peace project in the Middle East in the hope of building regional, broad cooperation for improved water governance and security. Second, the roundtable’s focus on water fostered a constructive and positive atmosphere among the participants, and enhanced the discussions to further generate solutions that will be beneficial for the entire region.

The presentations of Ms Loeffen and Dr Thevenon described the role of WaterLex as a neutral actor to catalyse change in the region for improved water governance. Using WaterLex’s expertise in water legal and policy frameworks and water science, the roundtable outcome could support Sustainable Development Goal 6 (SDG 6) implementation in the Middle East and showed that it is possible to cooperate on an issue as intractable as water. The delegates listened attentively as Ms Loeffen explained the concept of transitional legal frameworks as a possible tangible solution for enabling cooperation. Creating a dialogue around water is a priority for the upcoming October IPU General Assembly, to be held in Geneva.

WaterLex considers SDG 6 as integral to all of the SDGs. It recognises that environmental, social and economic realities vary from one country to another so innovative solutions are needed to secure improved water governance and access to safe drinking water. The roundtable delegates demonstrated a willingness to discuss the complexities of water access, shared technologies for securing water, and discussed how to make the limited “water pie” bigger using new technologies and cooperative models within the region.

Next steps

The IPU Secretary General, Martin Chungong, noted that this roundtable on water “united scientists and parliamentarians across the region,” and he added that cooperative models based on science and technology are possible to build peace. The participants formed a working group to discuss ideas and proposals for cooperation over the coming months. This will hopefully lead to practical follow-up actions to be presented at the IPU General Assembly. WaterLex looks forward to supporting the efforts of the IPU Committee on developing this innovative approach to regional water management in the Middle East.

WaterLex Introduces the Waterpreneurs Initiative

WaterpreneursWaterLex is proud to introduce its support for the establishment of Waterpreneurs, an initiative that creates greater access to clean, affordable water (and sanitation) by scaling up the impact of water entrepreneurs in a safe environment with ethical funding. Waterpreneurs works in the field to generate impact in local communities.

Waterpreneurs will connect businesses and non-profits with each other based on shared interests. Waterpreneurs will also collaborate with corporations that have supply chains in water-stressed areas.

The idea of Waterpreneurs came from the WaterLex Business & Human Rights programme, out of dialogues with established water experts.

In 2016, the Waterpreneurs core team is finalising its governance model (a for-profit organization, B-Corp certified, fully owned by WaterLex), designing global partnerships and building its networks. In addition, it is preparing its concept validation through five small projects in Asia and Africa that will help it identify new business models that will enable the scaling-up of local, water-focused entrepreneurial ventures. The official launch of Waterpreneurs will happen in August 2016 at World Water Week, Stockholm.

True to social entrepreneurship principles, the enabling environment of WaterLex will provide Waterpreneurs with a foundation to secure and scale-up business involvement in water and sanitation services delivery. Any profits Waterpreneurs generates will be reinvested in the further growth of the company, or allocated to support local communities’ projects connected to its activities.


For questions, please contact:
Brieux Michoud at brieux.michoud (at)
Nicolas Lorne at nicolas.lorne (at)

Measuring the Human Rights to Water and Sanitation Realisation

Mr. Moez Allaoui of WaterLex presented at the Expert Group Meeting on the Water-related Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), a 2-day meeting in Beirut, Lebanon, in April 2016. His presentation on “Measuring the Human Rights to Water and Sanitation Realisation” to the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) was well received by the audience. The presentation covered water availability, quality, acceptability, accessibility, and affordability as well as the human rights principles of non-discrimination, access to information, participation in decision-making process, accountability and sustainability with a special emphasis on the Sustainable Development Goals. Mr. Allaoui explained in detail the measurement of the human rights to water and sanitation and presented the Special Rapporteur’s checklist, among other tools, to the audience.

UNESCWA Expert Group Meeting April 2016

UNESCWA Expert Group Meeting April 2016

The presentation and information shared by Mr. Allaoui helped the group to “formulate a set of expert recommendations on how the Arab Region should pursue monitoring and reporting on the water-related Sustainable Development Goals. The recommendations from the meeting will be submitted to the subsidiary bodies of the Arab Ministerial Water Council for consideration as part of the activities designated for follow-up on the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development” as stated on the event website.

A PDF of Mr. Allaoui’s presentation is posted here.

Questions for the experts in the meeting, the presentation by Wafa Aboul Hosn, Ph.D. Chief, Economic Statistics Section Statistics Division are shared here.

A presentation on Institutional Mechanisms for Monitoring and Reporting on the Water-related SDGs in the Arab Region is posted here.