Meet the XVIII World Water Congress Envoys!

At the end of 2022 IWRA opened a call for the second intake of applications for the World Water Envoy programme. Over 100 applications were received from across the globe. We are pleased to announce the 4 winners selected to participate in the XVIII World Water Congress in Beijing, September 2023.

Meet the World Water Envoys for the XVIII Congress

Kate Hawley is a senior manager for the UK’s Forestry Commission (a central government department) leading on protecting, improving, expanding and connecting the nation’s forests. She specialises in the delivery of publicly funded incentives looking at strategic woodland creation for Natural Flood Management (NFM), including the education and promotion of NFM as an alternative and sustainable approach to flood alleviation.

Son Tra Nguyen focuses on youth engagement and innovative solutions in water governance, climate change, biodiversity conservation, and environmental protection at the risks of saltwater intrusion, water scarcity, pollution, and land submersion in the Mekong region.

He finished his undergraduate studies in Wildlife Management and is working for YSEALI – Mekong, a leadership project to build capacity for youth in ASEAN countries and Timor-Leste to address climate change, biodiversity, and environmental challenges of the region.

Moemen Sobh is an Egyptian climate activist and founder of MycoTech, and Visenleer. He started his journey in 2019 when he started researching for solutions to help his community in Egypt and Africa. He currently runs 2 startups (Visenleer and MycoTech). His startups mainly focus on utilising waste material and creating byproducts out of them to support his community in Portsaid, Egypt. He works towards supporting the unemployed and local women by providing them with sustainable jobs and businesses.

Oudi Kgomongwe is a water resources management specialist committed to advancing groundwater governance for climate adaptation in Africa. She is involved in integrated water resources management at the Ministry of Water and Sanitation Republic of South Africa. She gives prominence to groundwater challenges and opportunities by enhancing the dissemination of information about groundwater, promoting sustainable approaches and tools for proper management.

What will the Envoys Do?

During the Congress, each World Water Envoy will have the opportunity to briefly introduce the difficulty in balancing the water needs of humans and nature in their community and the impacts those competing needs have on everyday life. They will then have the chance to discuss these issues and potential solutions in more detail over the following days with experts attending the Congress and in a dedicated workshop. During the Closing Ceremony, they will be asked to summarise what they have learned over the week, and what connections they made that might help their community to better meet the water needs of humans and nature in their community. 

The World Water Congress is the largest water event linking water researchers and policy practitioners in the world. In the XVIII editing since 1973, the Congress will focus on “Water for All: Harmony between Humans and Nature.” The Congress aims to facilitate knowledge and experience sharing, focusing on investigating the relationship between water, humans, and nature, identifying and reconciling all water-related factors in a coordinated manner, and formulating and implementing water management strategies and policies using systematic approaches. In that regard, IWRA created the World Water Envoy programme to hear stories from the next generation and give them a chance to showcase the difficult water issues they and their communities face, and the solutions they are exploring when it comes to balancing water needs of humans and nature. The four selected representatives are called “World Water Envoys”.