News | Nov 3, 2020 | By Sumeep Bath, Communications Manager

We Strengthen the African-Led IISD-ACARE Scientific Board

We are thrilled to announce that Matthew McCandless, Senior Director, Fresh Water & Executive Director, IISD Experimental Lakes Area (IISD-ELA), has joined the Board of Directors of the African Center for Aquatic Research and Education (IISD-ACARE).


IISD-ACARE is a new major partnership between the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) and the African Center for Aquatic Research and Education (ACARE).

It provides an opportunity for the world’s freshwater laboratory and networks on the African Great Lakes (AGL)—scientists and researchers from across North America and Africa—to come together and strengthen science on those seven Great Lakes.

Six expert science advisory groups have been created to harmonize research priorities and harness resources to more effectively address the numerous anthropogenic stressors on these important resources.

The seven Great Lakes of Africa contain about 25% of the world’s fresh water. The AGL and the ecosystem services they provide underpin the welfare and livelihoods of over 50 million people across 10 countries.

Who is Matthew McCandless?

Matt has been the executive director of the IISD-ELA—the world’s freshwater laboratory—since the site moved over to being an independent non-profit organization in 2014. His position involves oversight of research and field station operations, administration, human resources, and fundraising.

He is an expert in the areas of hydrology, water quality, and bioprocessing; his research often combines both policy and technical angles. Since joining IISD in 2006, Matt has been involved in dozens of projects on water, agriculture and bio-industrial development in Canada, Africa (East, West, and Central), Asia (India and Bangladesh), and Latin America.

He has a Ph.D. in biosystems engineering from the University of Manitoba, a Master of Natural Resources Management from the University of Manitoba, and a Bachelor of Biological Engineering from Dalhousie University. Matt is a registered professional engineer.

We are thrilled to welcome Matt McCandless to the IISD-ACARE Board of Directors

Kevin Obiero is the Chair of ACARE’s Board of Directors. This is what he had to say about Matt:

“During the past two months, we have been fortunate to be partnered with IISD, and now we are gaining Matt onto our board to really make this relationship even more efficient.”

“His vast knowledge running an organization will assist ACARE’s strategic function and administration; his experience running a research institute fits nicely into our strategy for crafting education and training programs in the future; and his scientific background in fresh water speaks for itself in terms of ACARE’s goals and mission of strengthening science. Add that to his experience working on various projects in Africa, and he is the full package.”

You know that ground-breaking freshwater research you just read about? Well, that’s actually down to you.

It’s only thanks to our generous donors that the world’s freshwater laboratory—an independent not-for-profit—can continue to do what we do. And that means everything from exploring what happens when cannabis flushes and oil spills into a lake, to how we can reduce mercury in fish and algal blooms in fresh water—all to keep our water clean around the world for generations to come.

We know that these are difficult times, but the knowledge to act on scientific evidence has never been more important. Neither has your support.

If you believe in whole ecosystem science and using it to bring about real change to fresh water around the globe, please support us in any way you are able to.