15 May 2018

Yillia awarded Outstanding Contribution Award in Water

IIASA guest research scholar Paul Yillia has won the Outstanding Contribution Award for his work in water resources assessment and planning at this year’s African Utility Week Industry Awards in Cape Town, South Africa.

© Paul Yillia

© Paul Yillia

15 years of research and leadership culminated in global recognition at the fifth installment of the gala, where hundreds of power and water professionals gathered to honor top projects and people in South African industries. It was part of a three-day conference and exhibition, which ran May 14–16, 2018.

Yillia, who celebrated his 50th birthday the same day he received the award, is considered a thematic expert on cross-sector interactions between water, energy, environment and other global development themes. Originally from Sierra Leone, he currently works with the IIASA Water program, and is also a visiting scholar at Vienna University of Technology.  

Previously recruited by the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS), Yillia spent three years as the lead policy specialist for Sustainable Energy for All (SEforALL), a IIASA research partner, supporting countries’ efforts to align their energy policy plans with the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). By incorporating the water-energy-food nexus perspective, he ensured that their actions supported both national energy priorities as well as global energy and climate change goals.

In response to the prestigious reward, Yillia expressed his gratitude and told gala patrons that although the challenges are huge, he maintains a positive vision for the water sector in Africa. He added that the water challenges in Africa, caused by the combination of climate change and a growing, more resource intensive population, are so interlinked that they must be addressed with coordinated management, thinking, and investment.

"This is what continues to motivate me; the notion that all development challenges everywhere are interlinked," says Yillia, "that often there are tradeoffs that need to be balanced carefully and synergies that ought to be utilized to cut down on costs and optimize efficient use of resources."

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Last edited: 01 June 2018


Paul Yillia

Guest Research Scholar Water Security Research Group - Biodiversity and Natural Resources Program



International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)
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