Saturday 28 November, 2020

Trini woman first C’bean national elected to IWA Strategic Council

Rianna Gonzales. Photo: Caribbean Insight.

Rianna Gonzales. Photo: Caribbean Insight.

Trinidadian Rianna Gonzales has been elected to the Strategic Council of the International Water Association (IWA), becoming the first Caribbean national to sit on the council.

She also holds a position on the Emerging Water Leaders Steering Committee, which 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.

The official announcement was made by Diane d’Arras, President of IWA at the World Water Congress and Exhibition, which was  held in Tokyo, Japan from 16-21 September 2018.

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, as well as to assist in the development and coordination of member activities within the Association.

Emerging Water Leaders (EWL) Steering Committee, is a representative body of 13 Young Water Professionals, 35 and younger, which provides advice to the Association about the appropriate ways to address these professionals’ needs.

The approach is meant to encourage and develop ways to engage new generations of water leaders and develop IWA’s current activities at national and international levels.

The young Trinidadian woman’s water journey with IWA started in 2016 when she won the International Young Leadership Award for her activities and dedication to the promotion of youth inclusion towards sustainable development in small island states, and 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).

Her advocacy path began at the Caribbean Youth Environment Network (CYEN) as the National Coordinator of the Trinidad and Tobago Chapter. She then went on to be the Regional Coordinator of the Commonwealth Youth Climate Network (CYCN).

Gonzales is no stranger to firsts, having been the first Caribbean national to 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.

Gonzales is the holder of 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 a range of professional certifications under her belt 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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