Prashanth Vishwanathan/IWMI

WLE Legacy Symposium

Timing: Edmonton: 06.00–08.00; Cali/Washington DC: 08.00–10.00; Accra/London: 13.00–15.00; Amsterdam/Rome/Geneva: 14.00–16.00; Nairobi: 16.00–18.00; Colombo: 18.30–20.00; Sydney: 00.00–02.00+1

This WLE symposium will celebrate the achievements and impacts of the CGIAR Research Program on Water, Land and Ecosystems (WLE) which will close following a ten-year journey in December 2021.  

The event will highlight the science-driven, practical innovations that WLE has generated to address critical climate challenges and advance the transition to more equitable, productive, sustainable and resilient food systems. It targets a wide range of stakeholders – and aims to inform future research, planning and investments.    

The program will begin with a presentation of key WLE solutions. A keynote speaker will then place WLE’s research in a broader context, connecting it to global debates around water, land and ecosystem sustainability. This will be followed by a high-level panel discussion, some short personal reflections from people closely involved in the program, and concluding remarks that will look to the future and consider how WLE research can help to address the climate crisis.      


Time (CET)/Session

14.00: Welcome by the Master of Ceremony, Marcela Quintero, CIAT/WLE.

14.05: Opening remarks by Dr Roberto Lenton, IWMI Board Chair.

14.10: Video showcasing WLE highlights and impacts over the past decade.

14.15: Keynote presentation by Prof. Olcay Unver, Arizona State University, former Deputy Director of the Land and Water Division, UN FAO, and a former member of WLE's Independent Steering Committee, 2014–2019. 

The presentation will focus on current and future challenges for water, land and ecosystems in a changing climate.

14.30: Moderated Q&A with Prof. Olcay Unver, Ms Yvonne Tamba, ICRAF (youth representative) and Dr Stefan Uhlenbrook, WLE Program Director and IWMI.

Putting the video and keynote presentation into perspective.

14.40: 5-minute break

14.45: High-level panel discussion: Building on WLE's legacy

Moderated by Ann Tutwiler, Chair of the WLE Independent Steering Committee, 2019–2021.

Panelists (contributions in italics):
  • H.E. Dr Seleshi Bekele, Chief Negotiator and Advisor on Transboundary Rivers and GERD, former Minister of Water, Irrigation and Energy, Ethiopia (A country perspective: WLE's achievements in Ethiopia and future needs).
  • Dr Jo Swinnen, Global Director of Systems Transformation, CGIAR, and Director General of IFPRI (WLE's impact on the CGIAR 2030 research and innovation strategy).
  • Dr Dan Walker, CEO, ACIAR (Increasing food system outcomes through the integrated management of water, land and ecosystems).
  • Dr Claudia Ringler, WLE Deputy Program Director and IFPRI (On the role of research for development to advance water, energy and food systems sustainability and build resilience).
  • Dr Malu Ndavi, Lead Technical Specialist, Research and Impact Assessment Division, IFAD (A development finance perspective on translating WLE's research results into tangible outcomes).
  • Dr Ruben Echeverría, CoSAI Chair and former Director General of CIAT 2009–2019 (Feeding the future through sustainable intensification of agricultural production in water, land and ecosystems).

15.30: Reflections by:

  • Dr Andrew Noble, former WLE Program Director, 2012–2015
  • Dr Nathanial Matthews, CEO of GRP, and former WLE Global Research Manager, 2014–2016

  • Dr Kalifa Traore, Directeur de Recherche, IER, Bamako, Mali

  • Dr Izabella Koziell, Deputy Director General, ICIMOD and former WLE Program Director, 2016–2021
  • Pravin Parmar, Secretary of Dhundi Solar Pump Irrigators' Cooperative, Gujarat, India [video recording]
  • Michael Victor, Head of Communication and Knowledge Management, ILRI and former WLE Head of Communication, 2013–2017
  • Jefferson Valencia, Alliance of Bioversity/CIAT, WLE early career scientist

15.50: Closing remarks by Dr Mark Smith, Director General of IWMI (CGIAR Center that has led WLE for 10 years).

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