Renowned environmentalists Ma Jun and Elizabeth Wathuti appointed to Global Commission on the Economics of Water

Denise Young
Johannes Mengel

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Distinguished environmental advocates Ma Jun (China) and Elizabeth Wathuti (Kenya) have been appointed this month to the Global Commission on the Economics of Water.

Ma Jun, founder of China’s Institute of Public & Environmental Affairs (IPE) and a prominent figure in environmental conservation, is renowned for this pioneering book “China’s Water Crisis” and was named one of TIME Magazine’s World’s 100 Most Influential People.

Elizabeth Wathuti, an award-winning environmentalist and young climate justice advocate, founder of the Green Generation Initiative, and TIME 100 Impact Award winner, joins the commission as the youngest Commissioner. She represents civil society and youth at the Nairobi Rivers Commission in Kenya, and has played a leadership role in the youth engagement mechanism for the Africa Climate Summit in Nairobi in September 2023.

Ma Jun emphasizes the importance of a global water data infrastructure, stating, “Building a global water data infrastructure is essential to safeguard water as a global common good. It will empower multi-stakeholder governance, enable informed decision-making by governments, create corporate accountability and market incentives, and enable innovative solutions.”

Elizabeth Wathuti, reflecting on her appointment, said, “As I join the Global Commission on the Economics of Water, I’m reminded that water is the essence of life, linking our environment, climate, nature, communities, and people. This appointment is a profound opportunity for me to bring these connections, on-ground locally-led solutions, and innovations to the forefront of global discourse.”

“I aim to infuse our discussions with a sense of urgency, and human lived experiences, ensuring that our actions today safeguard water for everyone, now and in the future. This is our moment to create a wave of positive change,” she added.

Both new commissioners took part in the recent in-person retreat at Zurich of the Global Commission, where they provided valuable insights and perspectives to inform the development of the Commission’s landmark report on a new economic paradigm for water that is due to be published in September 2024.

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