Water Catalyst Award

It is now widely recognized that the primary determinant for addressing the issue of global poverty is the provision of safe water. Access to safe water enhances the potential for educational opportunities (particularly for girls) and facilitates participation in local community economic development. Thanks to the commitment and dedication of a number of people and organizations who speak out on the need to address the global water crisis, the world is finally beginning to take notice and prioritize this issue. Recognizing the work of these key individuals who are at the forefront the global call-to-action is paramount to inspire others to join the ongoing efforts to ensure safe and adequate water access for all. The Water Catalyst Award serves to achieve this goal.

The Water Catalyst Award, funded by SUEZ, identifies an individual who has demonstrated exceptional advocacy to improve the lives of others through improving access to drinking water or heightening the prominence of water issues in the political sphere and on the international development agenda. This award gives the opportunity to share their experiences through a public lecture. Providing the award winner with an international platform will not only bring increased attention to water issues but can also inspire others to make water a policy priority.


2017 Winner: His Excellency Seleshi Bekele Awulachew, Minister of Water, Irrigation and Electricity of Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia

Minister Awulachew is a global leader on water issues, and has been instrumental in leading the Ministry that has significant portfolio in advancing water and energy development in one of the most rapidly growing developing countries in Africa. Ethiopia is putting in place a unique development partnership model for achieving rapid water supply and sanitation access, water for advancing rapid irrigation development including as a means of agricultural transformation, productivity and food security. Minister Awulachew is educated as Civil Engineer at Addis Ababa University; M.Sc. in Hydraulic Engineering and Hydrology at University of Newcastle Upon Tyne, England; and Ph.D. in Water Resources and Hydraulic Engineering at Dresden University of Technology, Germany.

Water Catalyst Award Lecture


2015 Winner: His Excellency Mr. Sirodjidin Aslov, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Tajikistan

H.E. Minister Aslov is a global leader on water issues, and has been instrumental in mobilizing governments around the world to act on water challenges and in catalyzing action by the United Nations community. He has championed dialogue on water sharing and water cooperation, leading to a series of major conferences attended by a large number of government representatives, experts, global institutions, and thought leaders. The Honorable Minister discussed the global water challenges facing us, and how the international community can collectively respond.

Water Catalyst Award Lecture


2012 Winner: The Honourable Maria Mutagamba, Minister of Water and Environment in Uganda (2006-2012)

Minister Mutagamba is a member of the UN Secretary General’s Advisory Board for Water and Sanitation, past-president of the African Ministers’ Council on Water, and coordinator of the Global Women Leaders Forum for Water and Sanitation. She was also recognized and accorded the title of “Mama Africa for WaSH” during the 2012 Africa Water Week.
Why Women? Why Water? Why Me? Powerpoint Presentation

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