The International Water Management Institute, which has a regional office in Addis Ababa, has been named the Stockholm Water Prize Laureate for 2012. Awarded by the Stockholm International Water Institute, this prestigious prize honours individuals, institutions or organisations whose work contributes broadly to the conservation and protection of water resources and to improved health of the planet´s inhabitants and ecosystems. IWMI is the first international research institution to have received this accolade.\

“We are delighted that the hard work of everyone at IWMI has been recognised in this way,” said Colin Chartres, Director General of the Institute. “This is unquestionably the single most important international award in the water sector. To have won it, is outstanding and a testament to the professionalism and dedication of everyone at IWMI, past and present and the many partners we have worked alongside.”

IWMI was founded in 1985 as an irrigation research institute and later expanded its activities to explore more broadly how the needs of various water users could be met to help alleviate poverty, protect the environment and improve food security. IWMI currently employs over 300 staff and has regional offices in 10 countries.

In Ethiopia the institute has worked actively since 2005 with many partners in the water sector to address such pressing issues such as identifying and working towards solutions that will improve food security through better and more efficient use of water at the landscape scale. Some key achievements have been brought about by increasing the dialogue between government ministries’, NGO’s, practitioners and researchers at local, national and international levels. A good example of this was the co-organised and hosted workshop held at IWMI yesterday as part of the World Water Day celebrations.

“Our work in Ethiopia and in particular the Nile Basin is a great example of why IWMI has been recognised in this way,” said Dr. Simon Langan, head of the East Africa office. “We are especially proud of the numerous researchers who have worked directly with us and gone on to develop their careers in water management and policy. This investment in local talent is one of IWMI’s most valuable contributions to water management in East Africa”

The Stockholm award committee praised IWMI’s work as having led to ‘new policies and investments in agriculture that have not only enabled more productive use of water, but have enhanced food security, economic development and environmental health around the world.’

Welcoming the award, the minister for Water and Energy, His Excellency Ato Alemayehu Tegenu said, “I heartily congratulate the board and staff members of IWMI for this well-deserved accolade. Ethiopia is proud to be the host to a leading global institution like IWMI and it clearly demonstrates that our scientists, in partnership with their international colleagues, are at the cutting edge of new thinking on water management.”

The prize will be presented to Dr Chartres this coming August during World Water Week in Stockholm, Sweden.

The announcement of the award came on World Water Day (22 March), which is also the launch date for a new global campaign to bring people together to develop water solutions that create jobs, grow more food, keep us healthy and protect nature – see www.RipplesOnWater.org. The Ripples on Water campaign will be launched in Sri Lanka through a unique coming together of art, science and development with a laser and water dance spectacular.

IWMI is also  a partner in the Nile Basin Development Challenge funded by the CGIAR Challenge Program on Water and Food

For more on IWMI’s work in Ethiopia and East Africa visit: http://eastafrica.iwmi.org