Why we can't look for peace until we look for water

4 min read
two women washing hands at a tap stand
Image: WaterAid/Vlad Sokhin


SYDNEY, 21 JUNE: In a new podcast series, launched today by Good Will Hunters, global development leaders, including former Prime Ministers Kevin Rudd and Malcolm Turnbull, are raising the alarm about the growing global water crisis.

With the COVID-19 pandemic and current conflicts in the Middle East and Ethiopia exacerbated by scarce water resources, leaders are calling for policymakers and civil society leaders to protect our safety and stability by putting water, sanitation and hygiene at the top of the development agenda.


"The United Nations has said that in over 300 locations globally, we can expect to see conflict over water by 2025,” says Michael Wilson, CEO of the Australian Water Partnership and host of the series. “That’s in addition to humanitarian consequences of lack of access to water in conflict regions. On average, children under the age of 15 who are living in conflict are nearly three times more likely to die from diseases linked to unsafe water and sanitation than from direct violence. This is an issue that is too important to our safety and stability to deprioritise.


“Water is life,” says Rosie Wheen, CEO of WaterAid Australia and co-host of the series.


It is inextricably linked to our ability to feed ourselves, prevent conflict, and as we have seen during COVID-19, ward off disease. We have seen that when policymakers prioritise the improvement of water management systems, there can be significant follow-on effects for the economy and development, creating the stability needed to protect against crises.


“Each of the leaders we interview in this series of Good Will Hunters have been part of driving the global water agenda,” says Rachel Mason Nunn, Founder of Good Will Hunters. “The six-episode series will feature interviews with former Australian Prime Ministers Kevin Rudd and Malcolm Turnbull; water activist Mina Guli; a leader of the Ugandan National Water and Sewerage Corporation, Dr Rose Kaggwa; a member of WaterAid’s Papua New Guinea team, Navara Kiene; Fund Manager for Water for Women, Dr Alison Baker; DFAT International Water Advisor, Tony Slatyer; Chair of the Global Water Partnership, Prof Howard Bamsey; and Yorta Yorta woman, Karen Millward.  


“Our hosts will ask leaders to imagine a world without water and what governments, policymakers and the broader public need to do to help governments around the world more sustainably manage their water resources.”


The first episode of the Good Will Hunters Winter Series: Water for Development is available on Apple Podcasts and Spotify today, 21 June 2021. New episodes will be released every Monday.







Good Will Hunters: Lucy Bradlow, 0427 280 390

WaterAid Australia: Tegan Dunne, 0415 714 589

Australian Water Partnership: Shannon Li, 02 6201 2863



Good Will Hunters is Australia’s leading aid and development podcast, with over 60,000 downloads to date. Rachel Mason Nunn launched Good Will Hunters in June 2018. Good Will Hunters is passionate about supporting organisations with the knowledge and connections they need to sustain, scale and communicate their impact, through high-quality podcast content which gets to the heart of the issues and opportunities facing the sector. Find out more at goodwillhunterspodcast.com.au



AWP is an international cooperation initiative funded by the Australian Government, helping developing countries primarily in the Indo-Pacific region work towards the sustainable management of their water resources. They enable this by facilitating collaboration between governments, international water agencies and organisations—such as the World Bank, Asian Development Bank, and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations—and their partner network of more than 200 Australian public and private organisations to share Australia’s water sector expertise internationally. AWP played a role in publishing and promoting the Australian experience in water resource management in support of Australia’s global leadership role as a member of the concluded UN-World Bank High Level Panel on Water. Find out more about the AWP’s current work at waterpartnership.org.au



WaterAid Australia is part of a global federation working with local partners to enable the world’s poorest people to gain access to clean water, decent toilets and good hygiene. WaterAid Australia works at the government and community levels to link national and international policymakers with people on the ground and change attitudes and behaviours relating to water use. Find out more at wateraid.org.au