UCL Institute for Innovation and Public Purpose


IIPP hosts leaders and experts for Global Water Commission meeting

26 September 2022

Global leaders and experts discuss the combined crisis of water, sustainability, and food and energy security, following the Commission’s launch in May 2022.

Water commission

UCL Institute for Innovation and Public Purpose (IIPP) has hosted the second in-person meeting of the Global Commission for the Economics of Water. During the two-day event, leaders from around the world set the foundation for the upcoming report The Economics of Water: An Agenda for the Common Good, which will be launched at the UN 2023 Water Conference in New York, the first of its kind in 46 years.

The Global Commission on the Economics of Water was officially launched at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in Davos in May 2022. The Commission aims to go beyond traditional economic thinking to test new policies and business approaches, and foster global collaboration to tackle the combined crisis of water, sustainability, and food and energy security.

The Commission’s co-chairs, UCL Professor and IIPP founder Mariana Mazzucato, Director General of the World Trade Organization (WTO) Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) Professor Johan Rockström, and Senior Minister of Singapore Tharman Shanmugaratnam, were all present at UCL’s Bloomsbury campus in London, UK, from 15th-16th September. A diverse group of experts from science, policy, and front-line practice areas joined the discussions regarding the need for global action in relation to water-related crises.

The event also hosted Nicholas Stern, Baron Stern of Brentford, author of the The Economics of Climate Change: The Stern Review, who shared insights about his influential report. Lord Stern highlighted the importance of investment directed at climate-linked issues and stressed the need to avoid short-termism in decision-making. Importantly, transforming the system technologically is insufficient in the absence of substantial political transformation. In addition, including the private sector is critical for success, Lord Stern added, and so is mobilising the youth.

The meeting included discussions with a diverse range of stakeholders that shared thoughts and insight from their areas of activity in relation to climate- and water-related actions. Representatives from leading water thinktanks and networks, and from multilateral and private sectors, talked about the need to democratise water-related action, and about the need to carefully design finance mechanisms towards water-related innovation. The key message of the stakeholder engagement session was the call for a common understanding of what the problem is and how we can drive global, regional and local actions based on a common agenda.

By hosting this inflential group of leaders, IIPP continues to fulfill its vision of transforming how the world is understood, how knowledge is created and shared, and how global problems are solved.

About the Global Commission

Commission Co-chairs

  • Mariana Mazzucato, Professor in the Economics of Innovation and Public Value at University College London (UCL); Founding Director of the UCL Institute foInnovation and Public Purpose (IIPP); Chair of the World Health Organization Council of the Economics of Health for All; Author of Mission Economy: a moonshot guide to changing capitalism.
  • Ngozi Okonjo-Iewala, Director-General, World Trade Organization (WTO); Former Minister of Finance, Nigeria; Former MD, World Bank; Co-Chair, G20 High Level Independent Panel on Financing the Global Commons for Pandemic 
  • Johan Rockstrom, Professor in Earth system science University of Potsdam; Director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research; Co-chair of the Earth Commission of the Global Commons Alliance; Member European Investment Bank (EIB) Climate and Environment Advisory Council; and the EU Mission board on Climate Adaptation.
  • Tharman Shanmugaratnam, Senior Minister, Singapore; Chair, G20 Eminent Persons Group on Global Financial Governance (2017/18); Co-Chair, G20 High Level Independent Panel on Financing the Global Commons for Pandemic Preparedness and Response (2021) Commissioners and Lead Experts

Lead Experts

  • Quentin Grafton, Professor at the Crawford School of Public Policy, Australian National University; Chair holder of UNESCO Chair in Water Economics and Transboundary Water Governance
  • Joyeeta Gupta, Professor at the Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences, University of Amsterdam; co-chair of the Earth Commission of the Global Commons Alliance
  • Aromar Revi, Director of the Indian Institute for Human Settlements; Co-Chair of the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN); member of the Ubuntu Advisory Board of United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG), Coordinating Lead


  • Yvonne Aki-Sawyer, Mayor of the City of Freetown, Sierra Leone
  • Alicia Barcena Ibarra, Former Executive Secretary of CEPAL, Chile
  • LaToya Cantrell , Mayor of the City of New Orleans, USA
  • Arunabha Ghosh , CEO of the Council of Energy, Environment and Water, New Delhi, India
  • Naoko Ishii, Executive Vice President and Director, Center for Global Commons, University of Tokyo
  • Juan Carlos Jintiach, Advisor of the Coordinator of Indigenous Organizations of the Amazon Basin, Ecuador
  • Inge Kaul, Senior Fellow, Hertie School, Berlin, Germany
  • QIU Baoxing, President of the Chinese Society for Urban Studies
  • Mamphela Ramphele, President of the Club of Rome, South Africa
  • Ismail Serageldin, Founding Director of the Bibliotheca Alexandrina, Alexandria, Egypt


  • Richard Damania, World Bank, Chief Economist, Sustainable Development Vice
  • Kathleen Dominique, OECD, Environment Directorate
  • Usha Rao-Monari, UNDP, Under Secretary-General and Associate Administrator
  • Abebe Selassie, IMF, Director of the African Department

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