Piers Cross


Piers Cross

Distinguished Pioneer

Professional background

Piers Cross (1951-2017), a South African with a background in social anthropology and public health, was the founding CEO of the Mvula Trust which, in the Mandela years (1990s), helped South Africa rapidly scale up rural water and sanitation delivery.  Piers went on to work for the World Bank Water and Sanitation Program (WSP) for over 20 years, where he was the Principle Regional Team Leader in both Africa and South Asia, and ultimately rising to Global Program Manager for WSP.

Over a 30 years career he has become a leading international spokesperson/strategist on water and sanitation issues which included in his last decade, advising and working with many of the world’s leading water and sanitation agencies, donors and NGOs, including IWA.

Major Contributions to IWA

Following the creation of IWA in 2000, the new organization sought to expand its contributions to water and sanitation in developing countries beyond conferences and publications.  In this context, Piers Cross, John Briscoe and Jan Janssens, all from the World Bank, were instrumental in advising and enabling IWA on appropriate roles in a number of regions throughout the world.

Through his leadership at WSP Africa, Piers provided essential guidance to IWA in establishing a presence and role in IWA’s Southern and Eastern Africa Region (ESAR).  Of significance to IWA in these early years was WSP’s role in the IWA World Water Congress in Marrakech in 2004.  Later, Piers’ guidance and support was critical to IWA in establishing an appropriate role and set of contributions by the professional community embodied within IWA, to the complex challenges of developing high-science, low-cost regional sanitation options in throughout the world.

Author:  Paul D Reiter

Contributing Source:  IRC (NL)