Toronto water front

Building back better for a blue and green future

Since 2020, the Netherlands has been the official partner of the world’s largest conference on water issues: World Water Week. The annual conference, organised by the Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI), covers many different aspects of water management. Every year, it brings experts from all over the world together and seeks to find solutions to pressing issues of too much, too little and too polluted water. At World Water Week in 2020, Dutch water envoy Henk Ovink warned we cannot continue making the same mistakes.

The Government of the Netherlands convened and co-convened digital sessions on issues such as valuing water, climate adaptation, financing and the effect of COVID-19. The Netherlands also hosted a networking event at the end of the conference.

Creating an inclusive blueprint

Water envoy Henk Ovink spoke on the Water as Leverage for Resilient Cities. This project combines the expertise of water specialists with local knowledge in an inclusive process to tackle rising water levels, flooding and drought in three Asian cities. The projects will result in scalable, bankable programmes which can be used as a blueprint for cities across the world. Ovink warned that we have to change the way we do things to avert danger:

“If we continue replicating the past, we’ll end up more vulnerable, more unequal and more fragile than before."
Henk Ovink

According to Ovink the solutions lie in taking climate action and embracing the Sustainable Development Goals. In his blog Delivering on our Promise, he explains how this would give rise to a blue and green pipeline of opportunities.

By prioritising water, various climate and economic challenges can be resolved. In doing so, public health, a sustainable economy and safe environment needs to be created in which no-one is left behind.

As a low-lying, flood-prone nation, the Netherlands has learnt over the centuries how to combat the threat of flooding and has thrived by reclaiming land and building dikes. In recent years, the country has changed its tactics on water management introducing new strategies through its Building with Nature, Room for the River and Water as Leverage programmes. Instead of fighting the threats posed by water, the Dutch have learnt how to harness its power as part of the solution.

"Together we must take a step forward and invest in water capacity, management and infrastructure to build a robust pipeline of sustainable and transformative blue and green opportunities. It pays off to deliver on our promise of the SDGs and Climate Action!”
Henk Ovink

Blue and green opportunities

Water is at the heart of the wellbeing of communities and COVID-19 has highlighted the need for universal access to clean water and sanitary conditions. At the same time, urban areas everywhere face the threat of rising sea levels and flooding. Climate change is a major factor driving these threats. That is why water management and resilience are paramount to resolving the climate crisis. Now in the post-COVID, the world has to build back better as it prepares for economic recovery.

Get in touch and join us

Want to know more about how you can work together with the Netherlands to achieve your goals? Or how you can help contribute to or spread the word on campaigns, events and initiatives? Contact us directly at info@nlplatform.nl so we can help you connect to the right people.