September 26, 2018

Wait Just a Minute: CEO and Founder of Water.org Gary White

Our web series, Wait Just a Minute, asks experts to answer complex questions about global affairs in 60 seconds. In this episode, CEO and cofounder of Water.org and WaterEquity, Gary White, explains the global water crisis, how cities can improve water access, what "water equity" is, and names his favorite movie from Water.org cofounder, Matt Damon.

 

What is the global water crisis?

Today, when 844 million people wake up, they don't know where their water is going to come from.

Who is most affected?

It's the poor who are paying huge amounts of their income for water if they live in an urban area, because they have to go and purchase water from a water vendor. Sometimes 15x more per gallon than if they had a connection to the public utility.

How can cities improve access?

There needs to be much more capital coming in from the top down to build out the infrastructure, particularly in poorer areas.  But equally, the poor need to be able to pay a water tariff, they need to be able to get connected to the utilities. And it’s reasonable for them to pay a connection fee to help capitalize the systems. And so this bottom up capital that we're helping unleash with water credit through water.org gets those small loans to people so they can connect to the utility and become a paying customer.

What is water equity?

Water equity finds those social impact investors who want a financial return, a modest one, but they want the social return. So we take that capital and we invest that in these microloans.

Favorite Matt Damon movie? (his water.org cofounder)

I love the Bourne series.

 

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The Chicago Council on Global Affairs is an independent, nonpartisan organization that provides insight – and influences the public discourse – on critical global issues. We convene leading global voices and conduct independent research to bring clarity and offer solutions to challenges and opportunities across the globe. The Council is committed to engaging the public and raising global awareness of issues that transcend borders and transform how people, business, and governments engage the world.

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| By Lille van der Zanden

Social Equity: The Legacy of 100 Resilient Cities

On July 31, 100 Resilient Cities (100RC) officially ceased its operations, marking a turning point in the modern urban resiliency movement to create cities that can bounce back from disaster. In six years, the Rockefeller Foundation-funded initiative brought a standardized urban resilience framework to cities across the globe, facilitating the development of more than 80 resilience plans in the process. As a result of its work, urban resiliency planning has become a common practice for city governments, with many institutionalizing the position of a chief resiliency officer.


Urban Reflections from the 2019 International Student Delegation

Each year approximately 30 students from leading research universities around the world participate in the global student delegation program at the Pritzker Forum on Global Cities. Promising students who have demonstrated a commitment to improving global cities and are enrolled in a master’s or PhD program are nominated by their host universities to attend. The 2019 delegation included 30 students from 20 countries, including China, Egypt, Ethiopia, Germany, Israel, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, and the United Kingdom. Their biographies are available here.

The following series of contributions are their reflections and insights inspired by and drawn from their experience attending the 2019 Pritzker Forum.




| By Ian Klaus

Will Ambassador Subnat Go to Washington?

On June 28, 2019, Congressmen Ted W. Lieu (D-CA33) and Joe Wilson (R-SC02) introduced H.R.3571, the “City and State Diplomacy Act.” The Act seeks to mandate a senior official at the State Department charged with “supervision (including policy oversight of resources) of Federal support for subnational engagements by State and municipal governments with foreign governments.” The position would be at the ambassadorial level, and “Ambassador Subnat” would require the consent of the Senate and oversee a new Office of Subnational Diplomacy.