Keynote Speakers

Water, sanitation, and climate resilience – keys to a water-wise future

Keynote addresses will be delivered by leading sector figures, specially invited to share their experiences in shaping and delivering solutions. The programme will also provide a unique platform for water professionals to present and share their recent findings and insights. This will give you an opportunity to:

  • Create new, inspiring solutions to the world’s water development challenges
  • Validate and disseminate work by presenting it during a world-class Congress
  • Learn and grow professionally through privileged access to the best content, cross-sector knowledge, and diverse experiences
  • Expand your network and meet new professional partners by engaging with the leading water experts

Meet inspiring thought leaders

Mathi Vathanan

Department of Housing and Urban Development, Government of Odisha, India

Opening Ceremony Keynote Speaker

16:00 | Main Auditorium

Mr. G. Mathi Vathanan is the Principal Secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development for the Government of Odisha in India. Since 2023, he has been a member of the Advisory Board for IWA’s Inclusive Urban Sanitation initiative.

As Principal Secretary, he leads a variety of initiatives, including the Jaga Mission, which provides slum dwellers with land rights and upgrades, and the 24X7 DRINK FROM TAP WATER SUPPLY programme, which offers every urban household direct access to clean drinking water. His approach of a decentralised strategy with community partnership has become a central aspect of the Odisha model of urban governance. His initiatives have earned recognition, such as the World Habitat Awards in 2019 and UN Habitat World Habitat Awards in 2023. 

Under his guidance, Odisha has achieved 100% water supply house connections in 105 cities out of 115, with 24 cities to date achieving a 24×7 Drink Directly from Tap Quality water supply system. Furthermore, he is promoting city-wide inclusive sanitation in all 115 cities in Odisha. His work has been recognised globally, including the Global Water Leader Distinction Award given to WATCO at the Global Water Summit in Spain in 2022 and WRI: Ross Prize for Cities Award, 2022 for the Urban Wage Employment scheme. 

11 December, 9:00 | MH-4

Dr Molwantwa is a leading figure in the African water sector and currently serves as the CEO of the Water Research Commission in South Africa. She holds a PhD in Biotechnology focusing on mine water remediation and water resource management. She has over 20 years’ experience in the water sector and governance experience. Her passion is capacity building, skills development, and inclusion of Historically Disadvantaged Individuals (HDI) in the mainstream science and technology careers and economy, of which water and land are integral. In her keynote, she will highlight Africa’s innovation potential to meet the SDGs and address water risks.

Jennifer Molwantwa

Water Research Commission, South Africa

Prof. Jiuhui Qu

Chinese Academy of Sciences & Tsinghua University

11 December, 17:15 | MH-4

Professor Jiuhui Qu is a research professor of Research Center for Eco-Environmental Sciences of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, and a distinguished professor of Tsinghua University. He is one of the foremost leaders in advocating and developing water pollution control technologies in China. He has received many awards, including the National Technology Invention Award of China and recognition in the IWA Project Innovation Awards – Global Honour Award and East Asia Regional Honour Award. He is a member of the Chinese Academy of Engineering (CAE), a foreign member of the US National Academy of Engineering (NAE), a fellow of the World Academy of Sciences for developing countries (TWAS), and a Distinguished Fellow of IWA.

At the Congress, he will explore possibilities to align technology, service, and policy to secure rural access to water supply.

12 December, 9:00 | MH-4

Dr. Silver Mugisha, a Ugandan civil engineer and utility expert, has been serving as the Managing Director and CEO of the National Water and Sewerage Corporation (NWSC) since 2013. He has over 20 years’ experience in water utility management, international policy, research, and advisory services. He specialises in institutional development, policy analysis and utility transformational and change management processes. Mugisha has contributed to the advancement of the water sector internationally by holding several positions in a number of renowned international institutions.

Silver Mugisha

National Water and Sewerage Corporation (NWSC), Uganda

Osward M. Chanda

African Development Bank, Côte d’Ivoire

12 December, 17:15 | MH-4

Osward M. Chanda, the Director of the Water Development and Sanitation Department at the African Development Bank, manages a vast program portfolio of US$4.9 billion, including oversight of the African Water Facility. A Civil Engineer and Fellow of the International Water Association, Chanda has played significant roles on the World Water Council governing board. With nearly 30 years of experience, 20 of which were in managerial capacities, his expertise spans policy dialogue, investment programming, project design, portfolio management, development finance, utility regulation, and policy development. Before joining the African Development Bank, he directed Zambia’s National Water Supply and Sanitation Council, an autonomous regulatory agency.

Driven by a passion for African socio-economic development and improved water sector management, Chanda champions sustainable practices and heightened water security. At the Congress, he will present visionary concepts on climate-resilient, low-emission water security and sanitation services for a water-wise future.

13 December, 9:00 | MH-4

Deepa Karthykeyan is co-founder and partner of Athena Infonomics, an impact solutions group. Deepa has led several programmes in Asia and Africa with a focus on advancing equitable and safe service in changing urban contexts. She serves as part of the Technical Advisory Group for the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data (GPSDD). She is a Steering Committee member for IWA’s Digital Water Programme, an initiative that aims to help facilitate the journey of the water industry towards digital uptake and integration into water services. Deepa holds a Master’s degree in economics from the National University of Singapore.

Deepa Karthykeyan​

Athena Infonomics, USA

Hasin Jahan

WaterAid, Bangladesh

13 December, 17:15 | MH-4

Ms Hasin Jahan, Country Director at WaterAid Bangladesh, is a pioneer in the development sector with decades of experience in water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH). She is recognised as an influential leader in WASH sector. Her areas of interest include promotion of ICT-based platforms, communication campaigns, gender sensitive enabling environment, and youth engagement. Recently she started supporting youth through mentorship for professional development.

In the academic domain, she graduated in Civil Engineering from Bangladesh Engineering University of Technology (BUET) and has completed an MSc in Water and Environmental Management from Loughborough University of Technology, UK, followed by a PGD on Disaster Management from the University of Dhaka.

As a TEDx speaker and TV show host on WASH topics, Ms Jahan contributes significantly to national media and policy dialogues. Her authored books “Girl, Be You” and “Hasin er Kherokhata” in Bangla highlight her diverse accomplishments. She is a member of the IWA Integrated Urban Sanitation Specialist Group.

14 December, 9:00 | MH-4

Marina Macedo is a Brazilian water professional, currently working as an Adjunct Professor at the Federal University of Itajubá, Brazil. Marina is a water representative of civil society and academia at the Rio Grande Watershed Committee, is a Steering Committee member of the IWA Digital Water Programme, and an Associate Editor of the Hydrological Sciences Journal. Marina holds a post-doctoral in Public and Environmental Health at the School of Public Health, University of São Paulo, and a PhD and Master in Sanitation and Hydraulic Engineering from the São Carlos School of Engineering, University of São Paulo. Their main subject expertise is on flood and water management, climate change mitigation and adaptation, hydrological modelling, and geopolitics. Marina is one of the IWA-Grundfos Youth Action for SDG6 Fellows.

Marina Batalini De Macedo

Federal University of Itajubá, Brazil

Supporting Partner