INPRIS Water Project

EXPERT: Michael Talhami

Water Policy Adviser

Michael is a water policy advisor specialized in water diplomacy, trans-boundary water negotiations, water governance, water resources management, and research with ten years of experience in North America, the Middle East and East Asia.

Michael is currently working on a consultancy contract with the German Technical Cooperation (GTZ) where he is providing advisory services to the Palestinian Water Authority, primarily focused on negotiations and a broad water sector reform initiative.

Michael worked for Adam Smith International as a policy advisor on water and environment as part of the Negotiation Support Unit (NSU) project. While working at the NSU, he helped further develop the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and the Palestinian National Authority's Permanent Status negotiations positions, pertaining to water, wastewater and environmental issues. The duties included advisory services to the lead negotiators on the Water and Environment Committee’s in first track negotiations between the PLO and the Government of Israel and advising the Palestinian Water Authority in negotiations with the Israeli Water Authority as part of the Joint Water Committee, a construct of the Oslo II Interim Agreement. Prior to starting with the NSU, Michael worked as an advisor to the Palestinian Water Authority (PWA) under a UNDP TOKTEN Senior Consultancy contract. His primary focus during his consultancy was to establish a Water Governance Programme (WGP) for the PWA, supported by the UNDP. His responsibilities included an institutional assessment of the PWA and the water sector in general, in order to enable a PWA led reform initiative, by identifying areas in which technical and policy support, capacity building, and seed funding are most needed.

In the past, Michael has worked as an external consultant with the water file of the NSU and provided support in developing the Palestinian position on desalination. He also spent a year at the Palestinian Hydrology Group (PHG) conducting research and drafting reports on the water, sanitation, and hygiene situation in Palestine as part of the WaSH monitoring programme intended to provide timely and relevant data and information for humanitarian organizations to carry out an adequate emergency response. Prior to working in Palestine, Michael worked for close to 6 years as an environmental engineer in Canada, U.S., Oceania, and parts of Eastern Asia, where he managed pipeline leak detection projects at airports, military bases, and oil and gas refineries. During this time he also conducted numerous Environmental Site Assessments.

Michael holds a Masters in Environment and Development from King’s College London specialized in water resources and water policy with a regional focus on the Middle East, in addition to a B.Sc. in Environmental and Water Engineering. He remains an active member of the London Water Research Group.