Water insecurity is increasingly a cause of social and political instability threatening peace and security at all levels. The Geneva Water Hub aims at better understanding and preventing water-related tensions between competing uses, between public and private actors, and between political entities and countries. The Geneva Water Hub is a joint Project of the Swiss Confederation (Agency for Development and Cooperation, Global Programme Water) and the University of Geneva. As of 2017, it becomes a Centre of the University of Geneva.
- Vision and Mission
Sustainable water resources management is a major global challenge of the 21st century. In its 2015 Global Risks report, the World Economic Forum ranked water crises as the highest global risk. Water is essential for public health, food security, energy, and ecosystem services. This vital resource is facing unprecedented challenges, and is more and more linked to insecurity at local, regional and global scale; this is illustrated by growing tensions around large dams, mining operations and various disputes over land and water.
However, despite the complexity of the challenges, water can become a theme for collaboration and can be transformed from a source of potential crisis into an instrument of peace. It is with this positive vision that the Geneva Water Hub was established to help prevent water conflicts at an early stage and to promote water as an instrument of peace and cooperation.
- The Blue Peace Movement
Blue Peace is a global movement that highlights initiatives on water, peace, security and cooperation. The Movement gathers numerous actions undertaken by different actors (academia, culture, political and diplomatic actions, civil society and the private sector) and at different levels (from local to global).The Blue Peace Movement is an initiative supported by Swiss Department of Foreign Affairs.
House of Switzerland video on Blue Peace:
Blue Peace Movement in action at the 2018 World Water Forum between 18 and 23 March in Brasília:
François Münger holds Masters degrees in mineralogy and geophysics (Univ. of Lausanne), hydrology (Univ. of Neuchâtel), and environmental engineering (EPFL). His experience spans across a range of different private and public institutions in Switzerland, Africa, Latin America, Central Asia and East Europe. He notably was the Chief of the Central America Water Programme for the Swiss Agency for Cooperation and Development (SDC) and Senior Water Specialist at the World Bank. After heading SDC’s Global Water Program for the past eight years, François was awarded the title of Swiss Special Envoy for Water and given responsibility for the creation and development of the Geneva Water Hub.
Prof Laurence Boisson de Chazournes
Research and Education Function, Full Professor
Full Professor at the Faculty of Law of the University of Geneva since 1999, Laurence Boisson de Chazournes has been and is Visiting Professor at the University Aix-Marseille III, at the Universities Paris I and Paris II as well as at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies. She is an Associate Member of the Institute of International Law (IDI). She is a member of the Board of Directors of the Master in International Dispute Settlement (MIDS), jointly organized by the Faculty of Law and the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies. She teaches courses in international law, law of international organizations, dispute settlement (ICJ, law of the sea, arbitration), international environmental law and international economic law. Access full biography on the dedicated University of Geneva webpage.
Prof Christian Bréthaut
Research and Education Function, Scientific Director
Prof Christian Bréthaut holds a PhD in Geosciences and Environment from the University of Lausanne. He leads the Geneva Water Hub’s Education and Knowledge component since August 2014. His area of expertise is the analysis of water policies and the issues associated with the management of cross border rivers. Prof Bréthaut’s particular focus within the domain of water management is the capacity of institutions to adapt, the water-food-energy-ecosystems Nexus and the exploration of the link between science and policy. Access full biography on the dedicated University of Geneva webpage.
Stéphane Kluser holds a Masters degree in Environmental Sciences from the University of Geneva with a specialization in geographic information systems (GIS) and remote sensing. He is responsible for the Geneva Water Hub’s communications as well as information management. His work includes the creation of monthly water maps, content management for the online platform and handling the Hub’s presence on social media networks. Access full biography on the dedicated University of Geneva webpage.
Dr Denis Lanzanova
Research and Education Function, Scientific Officer
Denis Lanzanova holds a PhD in Economics from the Toulouse School of Economics. He specializes in environmental and natural resources economics with a particular emphasis on valuation of freshwater ecosystem services, decision analysis and the water-food-energy nexus. Before joining the Geneva Water Hub, he worked as a scientific project officer at the Joint Research Centre (European Commission) and as a senior researcher at the Centre for Development Research (ZEF) at the University of Bonn. Access full biography on the dedicated University of Geneva webpage.
Senior Project Manager
Jelena Milenkovic holds a Master Degree in Law from the University of Geneva Faculty of Law, and a Master Degree in Public International Law from the University of Aix-Marseille III (CERIC). She specialized in international dispute settlement, especially in the field of environment and natural resources. Prior to joining the Geneva Water Hub, she has worked at the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs of the Swiss Confederation in the field of nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation. She was positioned at the Permanent Mission of Switzerland to the United Nations Office and to the other international organizations in Geneva.
Project Assistant and Analyst
Ms. Monica Nuñez holds university degrees in Law and in Political Sciences (University of Lima – Peru), a masters degree in European and Economic Law (University of Lausanne) and a second one in Business Law (University of Geneva) as well as a Diploma in International Environmental Law (United Nations Institute for Training and Research-UNITAR). She has since complemented her legal studies with several courses on conception and development of online training projects (University of Geneva, Faculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences). Before joining the Geneva Water Hub, she worked for UNITAR where she was in charge of developing, managing and implementing online and face-to-face capacity building projects in the field of International Law, in particular in International Environmental Law.
Prof Géraldine Pflieger
Research and Education Function, Associate Professor
Géraldine Pflieger is Associate Professor in urban and environmental policies at the University of Geneva (Department of political science and international relations and Institute for Environmental Sciences) and the Director of the Hub on environmental governance and territorial development (GEDT). She holds together with Christian Bréthaut the UNESCO Chair in Hydropolitics at the University of Geneva. She is the Director of the Institute for environmental sciences. Her current research is centered on the regulation of shared natural resources (mainly water and land) – at the international, regional and local levels – as well as the transformation of the governance of urban spaces in the face of the major contemporary infrastructural and environmental challenges (for example the links between transport and land-use or between urbanization and resource consumption).
Dr Komlan Sangbana
Research and Education Function, Scientific Officer
Dr Sangbana holds a PhD in International Law from the University of Geneva and is Scientific Officer for the Geneva Water Hub. Since 2009, he is Associate Researcher for the Platform for International Water Law where he has been associated with projects on "Non-State Actors and the Management of International Freshwater Resources" (FNS, 2012-2014) and "GouvRhone, Transboundary Governance of the Rhône River from Lake Léman to Lyon” (ISE, 2014-2015). His studies focus on the legal protection of water resources and on environmental governance. Within the Geneva Water Hub, he is in charge of a research project on “Institutional arrangements for the regulation of the access of Lake Chad resources”, and is coordinating a new MOOC on International Water Law. Access full biography on the dedicated University of Geneva webpage.
Dr Mara Tignino
Research and Education Function, Reader
Dr Tignino is a Reader at the Faculty of Law and Coordinator of the Platform for International Water Law. She holds a PhD in International Law from the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies of Geneva and has been a Visiting Scholar at George Washington University School of Law in Washington DC. She is the author of the monographs "Water During and After Armed Conflicts: What Protection in International Law?" (Brill, 2016) et “L’eau et la guerre. Éléments pour un régime juridique” (Bruylant, 2011) and co-editor of the books “Public Participation and Water Resources Management: Where Do We Stand in International Law?" (UNESCO-IHP, 2015) and the “Research Collection on International Water Law” (Edward Elgar, 2015). In 2017, she won the prize "Women Peacebuilders for Water" from "Fondazione Milano per Expo" for her research in international water law and her dedication to the creation of new generations of international lawyers. Access full biography on the dedicated University of Geneva webpage.
After completing a Master's degree in Sociology at the University of Geneva, Jean worked in the human rights field for seven years, both for international and civil society organizations. Since 2014, he has been increasingly interested and involved in water governance issues. He is currently researcher at the Geneva Water Hub where he’s exploring the problematics around the topic of social impact assessment related to water.