Outgoing GWP Technical Committee Chair receives honorary doctorate

On March 24, 2022, the National University of Public Service in Budapest, Hungary, conferred an honorary doctorate on Jerome Delli Priscoli, GWP’s Technical Committee Chair from 2016 to 2022.

In a citation giving an overview of Priscoli’s career, he was recognized as “a world leader in conflict management, water resources policy and governance, and water security. He always advised the continued use of alternative dispute resolution in solving high-level disputes.”

The citation noted that he worked as a mediator and facilitator with ministers of water around the world, including time with the U.S. delegation to the Middle East Peace talks on water. 

Priscoli served as Senior Advisor at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Institute for Water Resources for more than forty years. He had long-term engagements with Global Water Partnership, the World Water Council, the Inter American Water Resources Network, and the International Association for Public Participation, among other organisations.

As part of the event, Priscoli delivered a lecture on the historical and cultural aspects of water management, including ethics, civic culture, conflict management, and water governance rhetoric.

In the context of water access and participation, he said, “humans will not increase access to water without some system of water entitlements to set stable social expectations,” but noted that “much of the world lives in situations of arbitrary power delegation of water entitlements/rights.”

He added, “The principle of participation means that individuals, especially the poor, must not be shut out from participation in those institutions that are necessary for human fulfillment…. Our challenge is not willingness or ability to pay [for water] as much as it is how to align access of resources and capital to the poor.”

He concluded with the observation that “water resources management has been the catalyst to development and evolution of humans from ancient China and throughout western and eastern history…. Far from the oft-cited apocalyptic scare of water and war, water management has been humanity’s facilitator of community albeit often in messy and surprising ways.”

As Priscoli leaves his role as GWP Technical Committee Chair, GWP Executive Secretary Darío Soto-Abril said, “Jerry’s commitment to integrating the work of the committee with the work of the network stands out as an important contribution. Moreover, during a time of transition, Jerry was able to moblise committee members’ involvement in a wide range of initiatives.”

Jaehyang So was appointed the new GWP Technical Committee Chair, effective April 1, 2022.