Chair, Technical Advisory Committee, United Nations World Water Assessment Program

Prof. Uri Shamir is Professor Emeritus in the Faculty of Civil and Environmental Engineering, and Founding Director (1992-2003) of the Stephen and Nancy Grand Water Research Institute at the Technion - Israel Institute of Technology, and the Academic Director of the MA Program on Management of National Water Resources and Systems at the Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya.

Prof. Shamir's expertise is hydrology and water resources management. He holds a BSc (1962) from the Technion and a PhD (1966) from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He lectures, conducts research and consults in Israel and around the world on hydrology and water resources management. Since 1992 Prof. Shamir has been a senior consultant to the Israeli Water and Sewage Authority (IWA) on matters of planning and policy, and previously (1967-92) was consultant to Mekorot, the National Water Supply Company. He is a member of the IWA core team that elaborated the 2012 Water Master Plan for Israel, a member of the negotiating team with Israel's neighbors on water, chairs the Steering Team for Monitoring Lake Kinneret and its Watershed, and is a member of the Steering Committee of the project "Israel-4" for rainfall enhancement by cloud seeding.

He was Visiting Professor in various universities and research institutes in the US and Canada, and has published widely on research and applications in hydrology of surface and groundwater, water supply systems, planning, design and operation of water resources systems, water policy, and management of international waters.

Prof. Shamir was Chairman of the Israeli Association of Hydrology (1984-1986), President of the International Association of Hydrological Sciences (1991-1995), Vice President of the International Union of Geodesy and Geophysics IUGG (1995-2003) and IUGG President (2003-2007). He was Member of the Executive Board of the International Council of Science (ICSU) for the periods 2005-2008 and 2008-2011.

Prof. Shamir is Chair of the Technical Advisory Committee of the World Water Assessment Programme (WWAP-TAC), the UN water programme led by UNESCO. The TAC advises the preparation of the World Water Development Reports (WWDRs) with several hundred contributors around the world; WWDR-2015 is titled "Water for a Sustainable World".

He is Fellow of the American Geophysical Union, Fellow of the American Society of Civil Engineers, Foreign Member of the Spanish Academy of Science, Honorary Member of the Israel Water Resources Association, recipient of the 2000 International Hydrology Prize awarded jointly by IAHS, UNESCO and WMO, recipient of the 2003 Julian Hinds Award from the American Society of Civil Engineers "for significant contributions to water resources management", Fellow of the Environmental and Water Resources Institute of the ASCE, and recipient of the Life-Long Achievement Award of the Israeli Water Association.


09:30-11:00 5 NOVEMBER
PLENARY SESSION I. Sustainability check 2015

We focus on the current situation and need for improvements in sustainable management of water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH). The SDGs for this domain can be summarized concisely as: to guarantee good quality water with adequate quantity and reliability and provision of proper sanitation services, for all, at affordable prices. But other goals served by water must also be considered, including: food production by irrigated agriculture; flood protection; soil conservation; control of water-borne diseases; protection of stream and wetland habitats; trans-boundary cooperation on water management.

UN Water declares the objectives of a sustainable future: healthy people; increased prosperity; equitable societies; protected ecosystems; resilient communities; universal access to safe drinking water, sanitation and hygiene; sustainable development and use of water resources; sharing benefits; equitable societies; robust and effective water governance with more effective institutions and administrative systems; reduced risk of water-related flood and drought disasters to protect vulnerable groups and minimize economic losses.

The WASH related SDGs have overall been remarkably successful in focusing attention and mobilizing resources to address the major gaps in this domain, but further advances require closer attention certain guidelines.

First, think global and act local. While the goals are universal the responses must be at a scale that is locally relevant to the water resources, the consumers and the water delivery systems, with due recognition of the specific physical, environmental, social, economic and political conditions.

Also, it is critical to recognize and deal with the stresses on sustainable management of water supply and sanitation. These include: population growth and urbanization; climate variability and change; past depletion of sources and degradation of their quality; economic and environmental costs. And most critical are ubiquitous failures of governance.