Rianna Gonzales, is the first Caribbean National to be elected, not only to the Strategic Council of the International Water Association (IWA) but also to hold a position on the Emerging Water Leaders Steering Committee. This Committee brings the voices of young water professionals to the global stage and offers hands-on experience in the water sector and access to some of the leading global experts in water.
These positions were officially announced by Diane d’Arras, President of IWA at the World Water Congress and Exhibition in Tokyo Japan from 16-21 September 2018 under the theme“Shaping Our Water Future”, which Ms. Gonzales attended. The Congress brought together 10,000 participants from 98 countries and over 250 global exhibitors. The Strategic Council is made up of international representatives with varying backgrounds (utilities, researchers, consultants, equipment manufacturers) intended to provide guidance to the Board of Directors and the Governing Assembly in the strategic direction of the Association and to assist in the development and coordination of member activities within the Association.
Emerging Water Leaders (EWL) Steering Committee, is a representative body of thirteen (13) Young Water Professional aged 35 and younger that provides advice to the Association about the appropriate ways to address young water professionals needs. This encourages and develops ways to engage new generations of water leaders and develop IWA’s current activities at national and international levels.
In Tokyo, Rianna, as a member of the Programme Committee for the Congress, supported the design and content coordination of the session events and activities. She also had the opportunity to participate in sessions as a presenter and panellist on areas such as Nature-Based Solutions for the Water sector, Financial and Regulatory Incentives for Green Infrastructure in Water Utilities, Post SDG Solutions and Sustainable Water Use in Industries.
Rianna’s water journey with IWA started in 2016 when she won the highly competitive International Young Leadership Award for her activities and dedication to the promotion of youth inclusion towards sustainable development in small island states as well as her input in the implementation of Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) as the Senior Water Planning Officer attached to the Water and Sewerage Authority (WASA).
Rianna started her advocacy path through the Caribbean Youth Environment Network (CYEN) as the National Coordinator of the Trinidad and Tobago Chapter and further went on to be the Regional Coordinator of the Commonwealth Youth Climate Network (CYCN). She was also the first Caribbean National be selected to participate in the Stockholm World Water Week in 2017 on the Young Scientific Programme Committee on the Theme “Governance in the Water Sector”. She has represented the country at various high-level events such as the Small Islands Developing States Conference in Samoa and other UN events.
She was the Coordinating Lead Author for the UNEP Global Environment Outlook 6 – Regional Assessment on Water and Coasts for Latin America and the Caribbean that was published in 2017.
Her qualifications include an MSc. in Coastal Engineering and Management and a BSc. in Environmental and Natural Resources Management both from the University of the West Indies, St Augustine Campus. She has also completed a range of professional certifications from IHE Delft Institute for Water Education, Netherlands, Columbia University’s Water Centre, United States, and the National Water Agency, Brazil.
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The International Water Association (IWA) is a global organization that works with an interdisciplinary network of water professionals and partners to create a water wise world. These experts collaborate and combine knowledge to spread practical know-how throughout the entire water cycle to help reduce, reuse and replenish water resources.