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Meet the AQUACROSS team: Asya Marhubi

February 2, 2018
AM_Grutas de Tolantondo, México

Asya Marhubi at Grutas de Tolantondo, México.

This week we continue our series of interviews with researchers from the EU AQUACROSS project by talking to Asya Marhubi. Asya works for IMDEA Water in Madrid, Spain on research support for the AQUACROSS project. She has an interdisciplinary background encompassing International Development Studies, Spanish and Latin American Studies and Corporate Social Responsibility.

We spoke to Asya to find out more about her work.

Freshwater Blog: What is the focus of your work in AQUACROSS, and why?

Given my academic background on international development my focus has traditionally been on socioeconomic development, however the fate of the two are inextricably linked with that of the environment, and concerns regarding climate change and environmental conservation have been ubiquitous throughout my education and professional career.

For this reason, within AQUACROSS, my work has been centred on the socioeconomic system, focusing on policy orientation under WP2, supporting the development and update of the AQUACROSS Assessment Framework under WP3, and contributing to work being performed on drivers of change under WP4.

Why is your work important?

It contributes towards deepening our understanding of the links between ecological and socioeconomic systems, and of the wellbeing benefits that are provided by a healthy ecosystem. I believe that through strengthening the understanding of the links between the two systems is crucial in order for us to move closer to holistic approaches to environmental management that give appropriate weight to the value of goods and services provided to us by the environment.

What are the key challenges for aquatic management in Europe?

From my perspective, one of the key challenges of water management in Europe is the negotiation of trade-offs between different water uses and users (including the environment), especially under the context of climate change adaptation and increasing water scarcity.

This context also brings into the foreground the rising need to decouple water use and economic growth in order to ensure that the global quest for socioeconomic development does not come at a disproportionate cost to the environment, and to the legacy left for future generations.

Tell us about a memorable experience in your career.

In addition to my work at IMDEA Water, over the past year I have had the opportunity to manage social media and other dissemination activities for the Foro de la Economía del Agua (Water Economics Forum).

Through this initiative I have had the opportunity to hear from numerous Nobel Prize Laureates and international experts of world renown on a wide array of topics related to water resource and service management, such as George Akerlof, Gro Harlem Brundtland, Mohan Munasinghe, Michael Hanenmann…to name just a few.

What inspired you to take your career path?

My interest in global issues stems from my childhood; growing up as an Omani citizen to British and Zanzibari parents, I saw first-hand the stark differences between my family’s life in Oman, and those of my relatives living in Zanzibar, and England. After beginning my undergraduate degree in International Development, and Spanish & Latin American Studies in 2006, I have come to appreciate that the disparity within my own family is a result of a large, and intricate set of systems.

Through my academic, personal and professional experiences, I have sought to gain a deeper understanding of these systems that shape our lives. I believe that their complexity requires us to adopt a holistic and collaborative approach, in order to change the nature of these systems for the better.

What are your plans and ambitions for your future work?

International development is an inherently interdisciplinary field, and fundamentally, this has given me the opportunity to study and work alongside people from diverse academic and cultural backgrounds. Given the complexity of the today’s global issues, and their ever-evolving nature, especially in the digital and globalised age, I believe that this is an essential skill.

And while I do not know exactly where my career will take me, it is my hope to contribute to bridging the gap between natural and social sciences, and to championing the adoption of holistic and interdisciplinary perspectives and approaches to the challenges we face.

AQUACROSS project website.

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