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New GWP Chairperson

Margaret Catley-Carlson

New GWP Steering Committee


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Global Water Partnership Names Canadian as New Chairperson

Press Release from GWP, Stockholm, Friday August 18, 2020

The Global Water Partnership (GWP), a network that links thousands of water management professionals around the world, elected a new chairperson at a meeting in Stockholm, Sweden, on Friday.

The appointment of former Canadian diplomat Margaret Catley-Carlson is effective immediately. Catley-Carlson's 30-year career in economic development has included terms as president of the Canadian International Development Agency, Deputy Executive Director of UNICEF and chair of the Geneva-based Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council. She currently serves on the boards of a number of national and international organisations, primarily in the field of economic development.

"The Partnership is very fortunate to have an eminent person like Margaret Catley-Carlson willing to take on the responsibilities of chairing the Global Water Partnership," said Khalid Mohtadullah, Executive Secretary of the GWP. "This is especially important as the Partnership is facing newer and greater challenges that emerged this year as a result of the Second World Water Forum in The Hague."

The GWP facilitates the exchange of knowledge and experience in integrated water resources management, an approach to water management that seeks to balance human, industrial, agricultural and environmental needs.

In accepting the position, Catley-Carlson noted that water issues are closely connected to the status of women in developing countries and to economic development. "If you want to improve the status of women, water is an important place to start, because they are the ones usually responsible for obtaining it for their families," she said. "And if you want to take on the fight against global poverty, this is a substantial part of it."

She succeeds retiring Ismail Serageldin who has chaired the GWP since its foundation in 1996.

For further information contact: Communications Office, GWP, Sida, SE-105 25 Stockholm, Sweden. Tel: +46-8 6985384, Fax: +46-8 6985627, E-mail: gwp@sida.se 

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Margaret Catley-Carlson - Biography

Chair, Board member, Advisor to international and national public and private groups. International career spanning 35 years, two-thirds as CEO. Experience in a wide variety of governance, public policy, regulatory, management, economic, health, and development issues. Working with organisations applying science and knowledge to the better management of national and international problems in freshwater governance, health, agriculture, information management, environmental protection, international development and development finance.


Water Governance

  • Commissioner, Water for the 21st Century - Paris, Washington
  • Chair, Group Suez Lyonnaise des Eaux: Water Resource Management Advisory Committee - Paris
  • International Ocean Institute, Canadian Committee - Halifax

Agricultural Development

  • Chair, Board of Governors, Centre for Agriculture and Biosciences International - Oxfordshire, UK
  • Board, ICARDA - Centre for Agric. Research in Dry Areas - Syria
  • 2020 Vision Policy on Global Food Policy - IPRI - Food Policy Research - Washington, DC

Health and Population

  • Advisory Council, Health & Decisions - Minneapolis
  • Intīl Advisory Committee: Canadian Institute for Health Information - Ottawa
  • Clinical Professor, Tulane University - New Orleans

International Organisation, Finance and Development

  • Vice Chair, International Development Research Centre - Ottawa
  • Advisory Committee - Global Asset Management - New York, London
  • Board and Executive Committee - Overseas Development Council - Washington
  • Inter-American Dialogue - Washington
  • UN Secretary Generalīs Advisory Board UN Staff College - New York, Turin
  • Advisory Council, St. Georgeīs University - Grenada


Past voluntary affiliations:

  • Chair, Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council - Geneva
  • Board of Health, Institute of Medicine, National Academy of Sciences - Washington
  • Board of the Export Development Corporation - Ottawa
  • Board of PetroCanada International - Ottawa and Calgary
  • Trustee, Womenīs World Banking - New York
  • University of Alberta International Board - Calgary
  • Organizing Committee of the MicroCredit Summit - Washington
  • Yale School of Medicine Deanīs Council - New Haven
  • Club of Rome, former member



President, Population Council - New York, 1993-1998

The Council is an independent, non-profit research organisation with a staff of 450 active in 50 countries, and a 1998 budget over $55 million conducting biomedical research to develop and improve contraceptive technology, and advising on international population investment and policy through research in social and health system delivery issues.

Deputy Minister, Department of Health and Welfare - Ottawa, 1989-1992

12 000 staff across Canada accounted for about 40% of the Federal Budget spending and for Federal-Provincial transfer payments and negotiations in the social sphere, health protection and promotion, including Food and Drug administration, and Federal Pension and social programs and payments.

President, Canadian International Development Agency - Ottawa, 1983-1989

CIDA is responsible for Canadaīs development assistance programs globally, with a staff of 1 200 and a budget close to $3 billion throughout the 1980īs.

Deputy Executive Director, UNICEF - New York, 1981-1983
(rank of Assistant Secretary General of the United Nations)

The United Nations global network of 3 000 employees delivers services to governments to assist in promoting the welfare of children.

Department of External Affairs - Canada, 1966-1981

Twenty-five year career in government began with diplomatic posts in Sri Lanka and London. Became Assistant Under-Secretary for External Affairs.

Education and Distinctions

Graduated from the University of British Columbia; postgraduate work at the University of the West Indies, Trinidad and Tobago. Honorary doctoral degrees from the University of Regina, St. Maryīs University, Concordia University of Calgary, Carleton University, and a fellow of Ryerson Polytechnical Institute.


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