2014 Stockholm Water Prize awarded to Harvard Professor John Briscoe
South Africa native John Briscoe was named the 2014 Stockholm Water Prize Laureate for his contributions to global and local water management, inspired by a commitment to improving the lives of people worldwide.
|2014 Stockholm Water Prize Laureate John Briscoe (Photo credit: Harvard School of Public Health)|
Briscoe has become known for his dedication to sustainable economic development, his disrespect for constructed boundaries between sectors and people, and for his insistence that the voice of people who are affected -- from the poorest of farmers to the private sector to political leaders -- be heard. Further, in its citation, the Stockholm Water Prize Committee states that Briscoe "has combined world-class research with policy implementation and practice to improve the development and management of water resources as well as access to safe drinking water and sanitation."
"I am delighted for the recognition this gives to thinking practitioners, of which I consider myself one," said Briscoe. "At the end of the day, it is what happens on the ground that matters. All policies must be judged by whether they make a difference on the ground. I believe that the years I spent working at the micro level is what enables me to be an effective policy maker."
In the mid 1970s, Briscoe lived in a small village in the interior of Bangladesh and learned first-hand how infrastructure for protection from floods and droughts could transform the lives of the poor. Later in the same decade, he worked as an engineer in the government of newly-independent Mozambique, learning that one is a credible policy maker only if he or she could help resolve basic problems of building and running infrastructure.
At the other end of Briscoe's spectrum of accomplishments is the 2003 Water Strategy for the World Bank. This strategy provided a new, creative and enduring benchmark for global understanding of the need for both better infrastructure and improved institutions. The strategy has had implications far beyond the water sector, helping to ensure that developing and emerging countries receive a stronger voice in global governance.
Briscoe brought his experience of high-level policy with him to Brazil as the World Bank Country Director in 2005. Brazil was one of World Bank's largest borrowers, and Briscoe was praised for bridging the divide between sound environmental management and economic development objectives in the Amazon and other parts of this rapidly developing nation.
H.M. King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden, Patron of the Stockholm Water Prize, will present the prize to Professor John Briscoe at a Royal Award Ceremony during 2014 World Water Week in Stockholm on September 4. Briscoe currently lives and works in the United States, where he is a teacher at Harvard University.
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About Stockholm Water Prize
The Stockholm Water Prize is a global award founded in 1991 and presented annually by the Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI) to an individual, organization or institution for outstanding water-related achievements. The Stockholm Water Prize Laureate receives $150,000 and a crystal sculpture specially designed and created by Orrefors. H.M. King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden is patron of the prize. Initially founded by the Stockholm Water Foundation to encourage research and development of the world's water environment, the Stockholm Water Prize is additionally supported by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, International Water Association, Water Environment Federation and the City of Stockholm. The Founders of the Stockholm Water Prize are companies united in their strong conviction to push sustainability in the water sector. They are: Bacardi, Borealis & Borouge, DuPont, ERV, Fujitsu, Grundfos, HP, Kemira, KPMG Sweden, Ragn-Sells, Scandic, Scandinavian Airlines (SAS), SJ (Swedish Railways), Snecma/Safran, Xylem and Ålandsbanken. For more information, visit www.siwi.org/prizes/stockholmwaterprize.
About Stockholm International Water Institute
Stockholm International Water Institute is a policy institute that generates knowledge and informs decision-makers towards water wise policy and sustainable development. SIWI performs research, builds institutional capacity and provides advisory services in five thematic areas: water governance, transboundary water management, water and climate change, the water-energy-food nexus, and water economics. SIWI organizes the World Water Week in Stockholm -- the leading annual global meeting place on water and development issues -- and hosts the Stockholm Water Prize, the Stockholm Junior Water Prize and the Stockholm Industry Water Award. FOr more information, visit www.siwi.org.