Avellán, Tamara

Academic Officer

  • Tamara Avellán
    UNU-FLORES, Ammonstrasse 74, Dresden, 01067, Germany
    +49 (0) 351 8921 9380

    Research Interests

    • Characterization and management of integrated systems (hydrological; biogeochemical; hydrogeochemical cycles)
    • Ecosystems and Disaster Risk Reduction
    • Global Change & Sustainable Development
    • Knowledge Translation and Brokering
    • Natural resource management in catchment area
    • Water Resources Management


    • PhD (Dr. rer. nat.) in Geography and Remote Sensing, Ludwig Maximilian University in Munich, Germany
    • Master of Science (MSc) in Biology –Limnology, Wayne State University, Detroit, USA


    • 2019: Member of the International Review Committee - Third World Irrigation Forum (WIF3)
    • Since 2018: Steering Committee member of the ‘Nexus Cluster’ led by Sim4Nexus, DAFNE and UNU-FLORES
    • Since 2018: Steering Committee member of the Dresden Nexus Conference 2020
    • 2018: Member of the Scientific Committee of the IVth Pan-American Wetlands Conference in Lima, Peru
    • 2017-2018 Guest editor to the Special issue on ‘Sustainable Development Goals’ in Sustainability Management Forum (SMF) edited by Uwe Schneidewind and Edel Günther
    • 2017-2018: Lead author in collaboration with UNU-INWEH of Chapter 2 of UN Water’s World Water Development Report 2019
    • Since 11/2017: Alternate member to UNU’s Senior Programme Manager to UN Water
    • 2017: Contributing author to UN Water’s World Water Development Report 2018 ‘Nature-based solutions for water’
    • 2016 & 2017: Member of the Scientific Advisory Committee of the Dresden Nexus Conference 2017
    • Since 2016: Focal point for UNU-FLORES as member of the Environmental Committee (Umweltkommission) of the Technische Universität Dresden
    • Since 2016: Focal point for UNU-FLORES as Support Base Partner to the Associated Programme on Flood Management and the Integrated Drought Management Programme co-hosted by the World Meteorological Organization and the Global Water Partnership
    • 2008 – present: Member of the International Water Association (IWA)
    • 2008 – present: Member of the IWA Specialist Group on Wetland Systems for Water Pollution Control
    • 2009 – present: Judge for the World Water Monitoring Day Award for South America, IWA, WEF
    • Reviewer for: Ecological Indicators, mdpi Water, mdpi Sustainability, mdpi International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, Soil Use and Management, Environmental Impact Assessment Review, IWA Water Science &Technology

    Biographical Statement

    Tamara Avellán is an Academic Officer at UNU-FLORES and leads the Water Resource Management Unit. Her studies in biology led her to focus on the ecological impacts of water quality on aquatic life. Her interest in the effects of excess nutrient loads on plant morphology prompted her to look at increased sewage loads in watersheds. Dr. Avellán worked with local farmers of the small Flores Creek in Uruguay to find sustainable solutions to the increasing sewage loads of their milking parlours. Her research led to the instalment of the first constructed wetland using carefully researched endogenous plant species in 2008.

    Dr. Avellán obtained her PhD in 2014 from the Ludwig Maximilian University in Munich, under the supervision of Prof. Wolfram Mauser. Her dissertation looked into the optimal spatial distribution of crops based on topography, soil conditions and climate. From 2011 to 2015 she also worked at the World Meteorological Organization in Geneva, at first as a German Junior Professional Officer and later as regular staff. She supported the early phases of the Global Framework for Climate Services and led various projects on climate services in Small Island Developing States. At UNU-FLORES Dr. Avellán has returned to her roots in the world of water and its related research, looking into the linkages of water, soil and waste while reducing resource loss.

  • Articles

    • Avellán, Tamara and Gremillion, Paul (2019). Constructed Wetlands for Resource Recovery in Developing Countries. Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, 99, 42-57
    • Kim, Jiwon, Kirschke, Sabrina and Avellán, Tamara (2018). Well-Designed Citizen Science Projects Can Help Monitor SDG 6. SDG Knowledge Hub, n/a-n/a
    • Brüggemann, Kurt and Avellán, Tamara (2018). Does Nature Have the Solutions to Our Water Problems?. SDG Knowledge Hub, n/a-n/a
    • Kirschke, Sabrina and Avellán, Tamara (2018). Political Challenges in Monitoring SDG 6. SDG Knowledge Hub, n/a-n/a
    • Avellán, Tamara (2017). How Recycled Water Could Revolutionise Sustainable Development. theconversation.com, n/a-n/a
    • Lee, SungBong, Avellán, Tamara and Kirschke, Sabrina (2017). Too Many Indicators Make Monitoring Murky. The Source, n/a-n/a
    • Avellán, Tamara (2017). The World Needs More Toilets – But Not Ones That Flush. theconversation.com, n/a-n/a
    • Water Editorial Office. 2017. “Acknowledgement to Reviewers of Water in 2016.” Water 9, no. 1: 44. doi:10.3390/w9010044
    • Avellán, Tamara, Ardakanian, Reza, Perret, Sylvain R., Ragab, Ragab, Vlotman, Willem, Zainal, Hayati, Im, Sangjun and Gany, Hafied A. (2017). Considering Resources beyond Water: Irrigation and Drainage Management in the Context of the Water–Energy–Food Nexus. Irrigation and Drainage, 1-10
    • Avellán, Tamara, Roidt, Mario, Emmer, Adam, von Koerber, Janis, Schneider, Petra and Raber, Wolf (2017). Making the Water–Soil–Waste Nexus Work: Framing the Boundaries of Resource Flows. Sustainability, 9(10), 1-17
    • Avellán, Tamara, Ardakanian, Reza and Gremillion, Paul (2017). The Role of Constructed Wetlands for Biomass Production within the Water-Soil-Waste Nexus. Water Science & Technology, 75(10), 2237-2245
    • UNU-FLORES (2016). Closing Research Gaps in Water Science in Support of the SDGs. flores.unu.edu, n/a-n/a
    • World Meteorological Organization Bulletin (2015), Vol 64 (2) – 2015 A Pathway to Climate Services for SIDS. (http://www.wmo.int/bulletin/en/content/pathway-climate-services-sids#sthash.FhFA9A4h.dpuf)
    • World Meteorological Organization Bulletin (2015), Vol 64 (2) – 2015 Managing Risk with Climate Prediction Products and Services. (http://www.wmo.int/bulletin/en/content/managing-risk-climate-prediction-products-and-services#sthash.iYwCs8He.dpuf)
    • Avellan, T., F. Zabel, B. Putzenlechner, and W. Mauser. (2013). “A Comparison of Using Dominant Soil and Weighted Average of the Component Soils in Determining Global Crop Growth Suitability.” Environment and Pollution 2 (3) (May 29). doi:10.5539/ep.v2n3p40. http://www.ccsenet.org/journal/index.php/ep/article/view/27860.
    • Avellan, T., Zabel, F., & Mauser, W. (2012). The influence of input data quality in determining areas suitable for crop growth at the global scale – a comparative analysis of two soil and climate datasets. Soil Use and Management, 28(2), 249–265. doi:10.1111/j.1475-2743.2012.00400.x
    • Avellan, T., Meier, J., & Mauser, W. (2012). Are urban areas endangering the availability of rainfed crop suitable land? Remote Sensing Letters, 3(7), 631–638. doi:10.1080/01431161.2012.659353
    • WMO (2012), Fact Sheet ‘Climate information for food security’ (http://gfcs-climate.org/sites/default/files/Fact_Sheets/Food_security/GFCS_food_security_flyer_en.pdf
    • WMO (2012), Fact Sheet ‘The Global Framework for Climate Services (GFCS) in Support of the Water community’ (http://gfcs-climate.org/sites/default/files/Fact_Sheets/Water/ GFCS_water_community_flyer_en.pdf)
    • Avellán, C. T. (2011). Adapting to socioeconomic, operational and environmental challenges of dairy farm effluent purification in Uruguay through the use of surface flow constructed wetlands. Water Practice & Technology, 6(3), 1–2. doi:10.2166/wpt.2011.040


    • Climate ExChange (2012), Publisher: Tudor Rose, Editors: Jacqui Griffiths, Cherie Rowlands, Michelle Witthaus; Consulting Editors: Filipe Lucio & Tamara Avellan, WMO; ISBN: 978-0-9568561-3-5

    Book Chapters


    • Ferráns, Laura, Caucci, Serena, Cifuentes, Jorge, Avellán, Tamara, Dornack, Christina and Hettiarachchi, Hiroshan (2018). Wastewater Management in the Basin of Lake Atitlan: A Background Study. Working Paper. United Nations University Institute for Integrated Management of Material Fluxes and of Resources (UNU-FLORES).
    • UNECE. (United Nations Environmental Commission for Europe) (2018). ‘Assessment of the water-food-energy ecosystems nexus in the Drina River Basin’, Geneva, Switzerland.
    • WWAP (United Nations World Water Assessment Programme). (2018). ‘The United Nations World Water Development Report 2018. Nature-based solutions for water.’ Paris, UNESCO.
    • UNECLAC (United Nations Environmental Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean) (2018). ‘Lineamientos de políticas públicas: Para un mejor manejo de las interrelaciones del Nexo entre el agua, la energía y la alimentación’. Santiago de Chile, Chile.
    • Collaboration and review in: UN-Water, 2016, ‘Water and Sanitation Interlinkages across the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development’, Geneva; (http://www.unwater.org/fileadmin/user_upload/unwater_new/docs/UN-Water_Analytical_Brief_Water and sanitation interlinkages across the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.pdf)
    • Ardakanian, Reza, Avellán, T., Gany, A., Vlotman, W., Perret, S., Ragab, R., (Vice President Hon., ICID); Zainal, H., Im, S., 2016, ‘Key Issues of Irrigation and Drainage in Balancing Water, Food, Energy and Ecology’, Background paper Sub-theme 1, 2nd World Irrigation Forum, International Commission on Irrigation and Drainage, Chang Mai, Thailand
    • SPREP. (Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme) (2016). ‘Pacific Islands Meteorological Services in Action: a compendium of climate services case studies’, compiled by Christina Leala-Gale. Apia, Samoa (http://gfcs-climate.org/sites/default/files/ Compendium-Climate-Services-Case-Studies.pdf)
    • WMO. (World Meteorological Organization) (2016). ‘Climate Prediction for Small Island Nations: Managing risks, maximizing opportunities’ WMO-No. 1171, Geneva, Switzerland (https://library.wmo.int/pmb_ged/wmo_1171_en.pdf)
    • Gremillion, Paul and Avellán, Tamara (2016). Wastewater As a Resource: The Water-Waste-Energy Nexus in Sub-Saharan Africa. Policy Brief. United Nations University Institute for Integrated Management of Material Fluxes and of Resources (UNU-FLORES).
    • WMO. (2014). ‘Implementation Plan of the Global Framework for Climate Services’, Geneva, Switzerland (http://gfcs-climate.org/sites/default/files/implementation-plan//GFCS-IMPLEMENTATION-PLAN-FINAL-14211_en.pdf)
    • WMO. (2014). ‘Water Exemplar to the User Interface Platform of the Global Framework for Climate Services’, Geneva, Switzerland (http://gfcs-climate.org/sites/default/files/Priority-Areas/Water/GFCS-EXEMPLAR-WATER-14146-REV-141626_en.pdf)
    • WMO. (2014). ‘Annex to the Implementation Plan of the Global Framework for Climate Services – User Interface Platform Component’. Geneva, Switzerland (http://gfcs-climate.org/sites/default/files/Components/User%20Interface%20Platform//GFCS-ANNEXES-UIP-FINAL-14210_en.pdf)