The sense of urgency and passion for resolving the water challenges were leading during the AIWW Summit in Rotterdam. While we are more and more dealing not only with too much water but also too little water, we need more international collaborations with cross cutting themes, integrated solutions and a Global Water Community based on sharing instead of competition. The challenges are enormous. Involvement of the private sector, local knowledge and finance is key, as (local) governments do not have sufficient resources.
During the Summit high level speakers and 200 delegates from 25 countries worked together to set the agenda for international water, climate and adaptation events, starting with COP24 in Katowice Poland in December and the Amsterdam International Water Week Conference 4-8th November next year. To be followed by other international events as the Singapore International Water Week, IWA World Water Congress & Exhibition, World Water Week in Stockholm and many more.
Tomasz Chruszczow - Special Envoy for Climate Change of the Ministry of the Environment, Poland’s High Level Climate Champion, opened the Water Summit with a keynote. ‘Transforming the global development pattern in a way we can achieve climate neutrality by the second half of this century remains the key long-term objective of the Paris Agreement. Climate change is a threat, climate action is an opportunity that must not be missed’. He addressed the urgency to combine climate mitigation and adaptation and he underlined that CCS (Carbon Capture Storage) really belongs in biosystems such as forests and wetlands. ‘It is the ultimate goal of Katowice’s COP24 to adopt a complete package of implementation guidelines for the Paris Agreement. Transparent communication of efforts, understanding of action as well as recognition of outcomes by public opinion will help governments and stakeholders to cooperate and do more, faster and better’.
Europe not on track with SDGs
During the Summit it was once again clear that Europe is not on track when it comes to achieving the SDGs in time. Europe is struggling with aging water infrastructure and lack of proper and continuous maintenance. Kees van Leeuwen, principal scientist at KWR addressed for example the issue of the circular economy and the fact that Europe is not picking up the recycling of phosphate and other nutrients fast enough. KWR proposed a set of water-related indicators for SDGs at national level to measure the progress of water-related SDGs in Europe and beyond. The AIWW will use this monitoring to measure the progress on achieving the SDGs towards 2030. At the Summit input was collected for the most urgent ‘gaps’ to be presented and discussed at the AIWW Conference in 2019. With the intention to put water higher on the political agenda in Europe.
Veronica Manfredi, Director for Quality of Life, European Commission looked beyond the European election and urged the new Commission to address cross cutting issues such as water and health; social inclusion and green jobs and water and ecosystem services.
Mayor of Rotterdam Ahmed Aboutaleb addressed the need for global collaboration. ‘We have the obligation to share our Dutch experience with the world. Therefore, I am glad that we are together for this Water Summit in Rotterdam’.
Global Commission on Adaptation
Cora van Nieuwenhuizen, Dutch minister of Infrastructure and Water Management addressed the need for new knowledge. ’That’s why I took the initiative to establish the Global Commission on Adaptation.’ This high-level Commission is headed by former UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, Microsoft principal founder Bill Gates, and World Bank CEO Kristalina Georgieva and features representatives from many countries and organisations. It will present its first report at next year’s UN Climate Summit in New York, followed by the first Climate Adaptation Action Summit in the Netherlands in 2020.’
Patrick Verkooijen, CEO Global Centre on Adaptation (GCA), mentioned the need for scale up and speed up to meet he challenges on climate adaptation. GCA will work on that, in close collaboration with AIWW Global Community, and present results at the Climate Adaptation Action Summit in 2020. Finally he announced that the progress on the water related action tracks will be discussed at the AIWW Conference 2019.
Amsterdam Agreements and new MoU’s
Amsterdam Agreements signed at the AIWW Conference 2017 were reviewed during the Summit in Rotterdam. Also, new agreements have been signed. These powerful public commitments connect case owners with partners to work with them to develop and implement integrated solutions, securing the practical progress on water issues. The Summit enabled the influential audience to gain early insights and learn from the practical options being implemented.
AIWW Summit 2018, part of the Amsterdam International Water Week initiative, is organised by International Water Conferences and Netherlands Water Partnership in close collaboration with the Dutch Government (Partners for Water Programme) and supported by sponsors and partners.