Muhammad Akhtar Bhatti (MAB) obtained his Doctorate of Engineering (1983) in Irrigation, Water Resources Development and Management from Ecole Nationale Superieur Agronomic (ENSA), Instiutue National Polytechnique (INP), Toulouse, France. In addition to doctorate, he has a Diplome D’Etudes Superieur Specializees (DESS) in “Economy and Strategy of Rural Development (1982)” from University of Aix-Marseille II, France, a Master of Engineering (1980) in ” Soil and Water Engineering (1980)” from Asian Institute of Technology, Bangkok, Thailand and a B.Sc. Agricultural Engineering (1975) from University of Agriculture, Faisalabad, Pakistan.


MAB started his carrier as Rural Engineer in the rural area of Sindh Pakistan and worked on a number of rural infrastructure projects for 3 years before proceeding for higher studies on the merit scholarships awarded by the Belgian (Master) and French (Doctoral) Governments.  He was appointed National Coordinator Water Use / Principal Scientific Officer with Pakistan Agricultural Research Council in 1983 to coordinate the land and water resources research and developmental activities in Pakistan. During this period, MAB assisted in establishing the International Irrigation Management Institute (IIMI now IWMI) in Digana Village, Sri Lanka in 1984 and its first branch in Lahore, Pakistan in 1986.He joined International Water management Institute (IWMI then IIMI) in Sri Lanka as postdoctoral fellow from 1986 to 1988. After completing his fellowship, he worked as Principal Irrigation Engineer with IWMI / IIMI from 1988 to 1993 in Pakistan.


MAB joined World Bank funded Agricultural and Rural Development Project in Nigeria as Regional Coordinator Fadama (Flood Plain) Development, in Kaduna, Nigeria in 1993 and worked until 1997. He worked with the Asian Development Bank from 1998 to 2001 initially as Team Leader and Institutional Specialist (Small Dams TA) and then as Project Implementation Officer (National Drainage Program) with the Resident Mission of ADB Pakistan. He was a national consultant with UN FAO in Pakistan from 2001 to 2005 and within this period he also worked as International Irrigation Consultant with FAO Afghanistan from 2002 to 2003. He served as field representative of Islamic Development Bank in Pakistan from 2005 to 2010. He joined UN FAO Rome as Rural Infrastructure Office in 2010 and was promoted as Land and Water Officer in May 2012 and transferred to the FAO Sub-regional Office, Abu Dhabi, UAE to work with Gulf Council Countries and Yemen.


MAB retired on 31 December 2015 from UN-FAO where he was engaged in land and water resources development and management related programmes / projects / initiatives / activities being undertaken by FAO SNG multidisciplinary team in the Gulf Council Countries (GCC) and Yemen. He provided technical assistance to the member states in developing and managing natural resources especially the scarce land and water resources focusing on food and nutrition security through increasing and sustaining productivity of scarce land and water resources. He advocated improved water resources use in agriculture for increasing the productivity of available irrigation water especially the groundwater and promoting safe use of treated waste water in agriculture to augment scarce irrigation water supplies for agriculture while coping with impacts of Climatic Change. In addition he was involved in creating awareness on Climate Smart Agriculture, Conservation Agriculture and Protected Agriculture in GCC. He was particularly engaged in training and capacity development through organizing technical and training workshop of the professionals from the GCC and Yemen.


MAB has more than 30 years of postdoctoral professional experience in the sectors of land and water development and management, irrigation and drainage infrastructure development and management, participatory and community irrigation management and agricultural / rural development. In addition to Gulf Countries (GCC) and Yemen, he has worked in Afghanistan, France, Liberia, Italy, Pakistan, Netherland, Nigeria, South Sudan, Sri Lanka and Thailand. He has worked with a number of international research and developmental organizations including the World Bank, Asian Development Bank, Islamic Development Bank, UNDP, UNOPS, IUCN, IFAD, USAID, IWMI / IIMI, etc. and several reputed international consulting companies such as MMI, DHV, NESPAK, ACE, AAB, EGIS / BCOM etc.


MAB has excellent analytical and writing abilities in English and has written more than 100 publications including reports, papers, project evaluations, proposals, concept notes, reviews etc. while working with a number of renowned organizations in several countries around the globe.

MAB has good interpersonal skills, open and straightforward, team player and flexible. He respects origin, culture, creed and religion and believes in participatory and transparent manners. He is a doing person and has achieved targets under tight deadlines and pressures.

Key expertise includes:

  • Project Identification, Preparation, Feasibility Studies, Appraisal, Execution, Monitoring and Impact Evaluation
  • Project Coordination, Management and Supervision
  • Training and Capacity Development
  • Institutional Development and Strengthening
  • Master Planning for Agricultural (Rain-fed and Irrigated) and Rural Development
  • Water Resources Development and Management
  • Irrigation and Drainage Development and Management
  • Land Resources and Soils Management
  • Land and Water related Environmental Management