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News | 5 May 2017

Blog: AIWW - focus on solutions in a high-quality programme

Register now! The next edition of the Amsterdam International Water Week promises to be an extraordinary event: attendees are assured of the very best quality, with a strong focus on concrete, coherent solutions to both the significant international water challenges we are facing now and those that will arise in the near future. Menno Holterman, AIWW Managing Board member, believes that this is a great incentive for the wider water sector – and all relevant sectors – to register now for the event in Amsterdam from 30 October to 3 November.

Broad focus

In his blog, Menno Holterman shares his enthusiasm about the quality of the conference programme that is currently being drawn up. "We’re hugely satisfied with the level of contributions to the conference programme. The urgency of international water issues is increasingly being tackled in a more serious and concrete way, and we’re seeing great results from that. Not to mention that this is attracting more and more stakeholders and potential stakeholders. We tailor the programme to those stakeholders through the thematic approach, involving the circular economy and resilience, plus of course the crucial topic of financing. In the past, the primary focus was on innovation and technological solutions. Those aspects are still just as important, but now we’re also seeing the benefit of focusing on implementation and maintaining results. One of the most important conditions for implementation is capital, and to maintain results you need capacity building and governance. You’ll also be able to see the broader focus during the AIWW."

Challenges

"The challenges are so great and wide-ranging that we will only be able to tackle them if all the stakeholders work together, both in terms of water and across sector boundaries, for instance from energy to agriculture. The urgency comes from the realisation that many global problems are caused by water scarcity and increasing water stress, and that with every day that passes it becomes even more imperative that we find solutions to those problems. Otherwise, we’ll be facing tens of millions more climate refugees looking for a safe place to live. It’s no wonder that the issue of 'water in crisis' is now being raised by the World Economic Forum. There’s definitely a willingness to work together, but the key question is what that cooperation should look like. Financing is also essential to that, including making the project fundable to begin with; we have to come together to seek out secure, sustainable earnings models."

Expert panel

"Our achievements to date are partly due to the unique cooperation between AIWW’s managing board and the Program Advisory Committee, which is made up of 40 experts from around the world who share their expertise on a variety of topics, cases and solutions. On the Managing Board we are supported by an incredibly enthusiastic, dynamic group of experts who, in cooperation with the Young Water Professionals and with great mutual respect and trust, are doing their best to make a difference. We have brought those 40 experts together because we want to keep sight of what is going on in terms of water in the world of cities, utilities, industries and finance. We said to them: we have a vision and a mission, but what do you see as the really important issues? Which people and which topics absolutely have to be present in Amsterdam? If you were going to invite your most important colleagues, what topics should the event include? That worked brilliantly."

Call for cases and solutions

"For this edition, we also made a deliberate decision to put out a call for cases and solutions, and the input has been overwhelming: we must already have received more than 200 proposals for cases and solutions. Enough to fill two or three editions of the AIWW! The contributions are not only numerous and comprehensive; the quality is also outstanding. That gives us the freedom to set the bar high, as well as offering an amazing amount of energy and insight. Insight into day-to-day practice, but also in terms of issues we have yet to tackle effectively to resolve the real water problems, the matters we have to come together to discuss both in the run-up to the Amsterdam International Water Week and during the event itself."

Programme announcement

"We’ve laid the foundations for the programme, with a good balance of the focus between the four big challenges we have identified: water efficiency and value, water management and resilience, institutional transition and governance and, lastly, innovative water systems implementation. On Friday 23 June, in the presence of all our sponsors and the Program Advisory Committee, we will officially announce the programme. We will have the privilege of welcoming several inspiring and very important principal guests, as well as some truly top-class speakers. We will announce the names of our guests shortly, but I can already tell you that we’re very proud to be hosting them. In addition to the AIWW Conference and the Aquatech and Floodex fairs, the programme also includes an impressive number of side events and excursions that dovetail perfectly with the overall themes. And of course there will be special events such as the presentation of the Sarphati Sanitation Awards to the winner from the Young Water Professionals programme."

Join us

" 'Let’s achieve real breakthroughs' is a great summary of our ambition, together with over 1,200 conference participants, to provide a platform to really implement solutions in practice. I have one key piece of advice for everyone who wants to be inspired and who wants to contribute to the debate and to the solutions we need: register now, and join us at the AIWW!"

If you would like more information, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.