Water and Climate Leaders


The Water and Climate Leaders are a panel of eminent representatives of UN Members, civil society, and the private sector. Invited by WMO Secretary-General Petteri Taalas and UN Water Chair Gilbert Houngbo, the Water and Climate Leaders aim to set and pursue an integrated global Water and Climate Agenda in support of sustainable development and national mitigation and adaptation actions. Their focus is on catalyzing action through leadership and example.

The Panel provides strategic guidance on integrating the water and climate agendas, as well as maximizing synergies in designing and implementing actions to achieve SDGs 6 and 13, alongside ensuring effective climate action for adaptation and resilience.

Emomalij Rahmon, President, Tajikistan-01

Mr. Emomali Rahmon

President, Republic of Tajikistan

János Áder, President, Hungary-01

Mr. János Áder​

Former President, Hungary

Hilda Heine, Past President, Marshall Islands-01

Mrs. Hilda Heine​

Former President, Republic of the Marshall Islands
Komi Sélom Klassou, Past Prime Minister, Togo-01

Mr. Komi Sélom Klassou

Former Prime Minister, Republic of Togo
DAVOS-KLOSTERS/SWITZERLAND, 30JAN09 - Han Seung-Soo, Prime Minister of the Republic of Korea, captured at the 'Reviving Economic Growth' session at the Annual Meeting 2009 of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, January 30, 2009.

Copyright by World Economic Forum    swiss-image.ch/Photo by Monika Flueckiger

Mr. Han Seung-soo

Former Prime Minister, Republic of Korea


Mr. Hani Sewilam

Minister of Water Resources and Irrigation, Egypt

H.E. Carl H-G Schlettwein, President, African Ministers' Council on Water (AMCOW)

Mr. Carl-Hermann Gustav Schlettwein

President, AMCOW; Minister, Republic of Namibia


Mr. Mark Harbers

Minister of Infrastructure and Water Management,
Kingdom of the Netherlands

Abdelakir Zahoud

Mr. Abdelkébir Zahoud

Former State Secretary for Water and Environment, Kingdom of Morocco

Hannele Pokka, Professor and Former Minister, Finland-01

Mrs. Hannele Pokka

Professor; Former Minister, Republic of Finland

Gilbert F. Houngbo, Chairman, UN-Water & President, IFAD-01

Mr. Gilbert F. Houngbo

Director-General, ILO

Petteri Taalas

Mr. Petteri Taalas

Secretary-General, WMO


Mrs. Mari Elka Pangestu

Managing Director of Development Policy and Partnerships, World Bank

Howard Bamsey, Chair, Global Water Partnership (GWP)-01

Mr. Howard Bamsey

Former Chair, Global Water Partnership

Mr. Matthias Berninger

SVP Public Affairs & Sustainability, BAYER

Lindsey Aldaco-Manner, Former President, World Youth Parliament for Water (WYPW)

Mrs. Lindsey Blodgétt

Former President, World Youth Parliament for Water

Water and Climate Leaders Call For

  • An integrated water and climate approach — Recognizing the role of water for informed decision-making in climate change mitigation and adaptation action.
  • International support to improve water data and information for a climate ready world — Working together to operationalise a Global Water Information Services that provides status, assessment, and outlook for smart climate and water-related decisions.
  • Partners to join us in the implementation — Support solutions for sound decision making: a water and climate stocktake, a cryosphere information mechanism, a new financing rationale, local engagement, and river basin cooperation.
  • Recognizing the need to protect glaciers — Understanding the role of glaciers as one of the most critical sources of freshwater and uniting forces in preserving these resources through an International Year of Glacier Preservation 2025.

To reach this goal the Leaders will:

  1. advocate at the highest political levels for an integrated global water and climate agenda
  2. mobilize relevant allies to support the implementation of an integrated Water and Climate Agenda
  3. propose tangible outcomes that will enhance integrating water and climate related data, including implementing the data and information pillar of the SDG 6 Global Acceleration Framework and the Water Action Decade
Matthias Berninger, Senior Vice President, Public Affairs and Sustainability, Bayer

Matthias Berninger

Matthias Berninger (born 1971) is a former German politician and member of The Greens from 1993 until 2007.
From 2001 to 2005, Berninger served as Parliamentary State Secretary at the Federal Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Consumer Protection under minister Renate Künast in the second cabinet of Chancellor Gerhard Schröder. After leaving the government, he was his parliamentary group’s spokesperson on economic policy from 2005 until 2007.
Since 2019, Berninger has been serving as head of public and government affairs at Bayer.