Experts' profiles
Walter Rast
Dr. Walter Rast is a Chapter Lead Author for Chapter 4 (Water) in GEO-4. His professional interests focus on ecosystem-based, integrated approaches for assessing and managing water systems (rivers, lakes, wetlands, groundwater) for sustainable use, both to meet human water needs for survival and socioeconomic development, and for maintenance of life-supporting aquatic ecosystems.

Dr. Rast received a Ph.D. degree in Environmental Science in 1978 from the University of Texas at Dallas, with specialization in limnology, aquatic chemistry and lake basin management. With a continuing interest in limnology and management of lakes and reservoirs, and in nonpoint-source pollution, his research activities over the last decade focus primarily on: (1) water quality assessment and management; (2) integrated approaches for managing aquatic ecosystems for sustainable use; and (3) linkages and interrelations between environmental and socioeconomic components of aquatic ecosystems.

Dr. Rast was previously Chief of the Freshwater Unit (1993-1995) and subsequently Deputy Director of the Water Branch (1996-2000), at UNEP Headquarters in Nairobi, Kenya. While Freshwater Unit Chief, he developed, implemented and managed UNEPs global projects on freshwater systems, including UNEPs Environmentally-Sound Management of Inland Waters (EMINWA) program. He subsequently was responsible for freshwater activities in UNEPs integrated Water Branch, serving as its Deputy Director. He also worked to establish the Global Programme for the Protection of the Marine Environment on Land-based Activities (GPA), and was a UNEP representative to the UNs Commission on Sustainable Development; Committee on Natural Resources; Subcommittee on Water Resources; Subcommittee on Oceans and Coastal Areas; Global Water Partnership; World Water Council; and World Commission on Dams.

In addition to directing the Aquatic Resources Ph.D. Program at Texas State University since 2001, Dr. Rast continues his activities in international water issues as a member of the Scientific Committee of the International Lake Environment Committee (ILEC), having chaired the international drafting group that developed ILECs World Lake Vision. He is currently involved in ILECs Integrated Lake Basin Management (ILBM) activities, and Editor-in-Chief of Lakes and Reservoirs: Research and Management. He also is collaborating with colleagues in Mexico and the USA to develop a binational project on the sustainable use of the transboundary Rio Grande, for submission to the Global Environment Facility (GEF).
Looking for a specific topic?
Climate Change
Disasters and Conflicts
Ecosystem Management
Environmental Governance
Harmful Substances
Resource Efficiency
Other Thematic Areas