Water and Human Well-being

Executive Session on Grand Challenges of the Sustainability Transition

July 20-21, 2009


Michael Kremer, Professor of Developing Countries and Professor of Economics, Harvard Economics Department
Alix Zwane, Program Officer, Global Development, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation
Azzam Alwash, Chief Executive Officer, Nature Iraq

Workshop description

The Water and Human Well-being executive session is high-level gathering seeks to create a unique space for dialog between policymakers, academics, and sector experts to move beyond the truism that "water is life" towards actionable solutions for making water a force for improved human health and well being in the development agenda. A central focus of the discussion will be sharing new evidence from applied research on game-changing technologies and human behavior that affect environmental health outcomes. A second area of discussion will be strategies to move beyond promising pilot projects to scalable programs; public, private, and integrated approaches will be considered. The interconnections between sustainability and scale will be explored and policymakers will be given an explicit opportunity to help shape the research agenda of leading biomedical and social scientists working at the intersection of water and health. The focus will be on discussion; formal presentations will be brief. This is the third annual Executive Session on Grand Challenges of the Sustainability Transition convened by the Sustainability Science Program at Harvard University's Center for International Development, in cooperation with the Venice International University and the Italian Ministry for Environment, Land and Sea.

Workshop report
Zwane, Alix Peterson, Michael Kremer, and Robyn Meeks. 2009. Water and Human Well Being: An Executive Session on Grand Challenges of the Sustainability Transition. CID Working PaperNo. 188. Center for International Development at Harvard University, Cambridge, MA: Harvard University.

Program and presentation slides


Background readings


Venice International University, Isola di San Servolo, Venezia, Italy


Italian Ministry for the Environment, Land and Sea
Sustainability Science Program, Center for International Development, Harvard University
Thematic Environmental Networks, Venice International University