Vice Chair, UN-Water, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
Former Member of the WLE Steering Committee
Olcay.unver (at) fao.org
Olcay Ünver is Vice Chair of UN-Water, operating out of the headquarters of Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations in Rome, Italy.
He served as the Deputy Director of Land and Water Division at FAO from September 2013 to March 2019. At FAO, he was responsible for managing water, land and soil-related activities and programs, mainstreaming water across the various sectors and disciplines, and cooperating with partners and stakeholders within and outside the UN system.
Before joining FAO, Olcay was the coordinator of the UN World Water Assessment Programme and the director of the UNESCO Programme Office on Global Water Assessment. Prior positions include a professorship with Kent State University, Ohio, where he founded the Euphrates-Tigris Initiative for Cooperation between Iraq, Syria and Turkey. While he was president of the Southeastern Anatolia Project Regional Development Administration in Turkey, Olcay transformed a large infrastructure project into a sustainable socioeconomic development program. In 1999, he was listed among 19 “European Visionaries” by Time Magazine and was featured in New York Times for his efforts for sustainable, human-centered development.
Olcay holds a PhD in civil engineering from The University of Texas at Austin and master's and bachelor's degrees, also in civil engineering, from the Middle East Technical University, Ankara, Turkey.