When the thousands of participants at Amsterdam International Water Week 2019 arrive in November this year, marking its 10 year anniversary, they will have the future in mind – future challenges, future opportunities. Menno Holterman, Chair of the Managing Board of AIWW and CEO of Nijhuis Industries underlines the need for an integrated and inclusive approach, aiming at true impact.
‘We have succeeded in making AIWW an integrated part of the global water calendar and we are proud of the cooperation we have established with other leading events and partners. We have worked collectively to enhance action and support for adaptation solutions, and promoted a multi-stakeholder approach to addressing water challenges around the world. We are going to celebrate – we have achieved a lot.
Integrated and inclusive approach
In fact, it is a focus on integration that has given AIWW its distinctive place in the calendar. Solving dynamic water challenges – and thus creating real impact – requires an integrated and inclusive approach. We set out to create an event where Europe in particular, including of course the Netherlands, could present its integrated experience.
Creating impact also requires creating a water dialogue – a lot of utilities and industries were starting to learn from each other, but not working collectively, and cities were only beginning to see that they needed climate change adaptation as well as mitigation. Dialogue is needed because water connects and contributes to a water and climate resilient future and circular economy.
Beyond the water sector
With the week expanded beyond its foundations of a successful conference and the long-running, leading Aquatech Amsterdam trade show, this dialogue is set up by bringing together audiences from across all of water’s connections. The previous AIWW drew more than 20% of its attendees from beyond the water sector core, from where it connects with city planners, corporations, energy, food security, and with peace and security.
The week is recognised as a showcase for research, development and innovation. The crucial role of financing, valuing water, and implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals are put centre stage. And the format facilitates interaction between leaders through its dedicated leadership programme. Our goal this year is to bring together at least 500 of the most influential water leaders in the world. Their task will be to build on previous meetings, not go over the same ground, and to inspire action beyond those who are already leading the way. This will be seen, for example, in the Industry Leaders Forum part of the programme.
Successful business cases
Of course, creating impact is also about practical solutions and successful business cases. AIWW offers a platform to show that there can be a return on investment if done properly. Value is created by reducing the water, energy and climate footprint of the entire supply chain and securing licences to operate.
Commitment to practical progress set down in Amsterdam Agreements is another distinctive contribution of AIWW, with a further five agreements expected to be added to the current 10 at this year’s event. These are all examples of multi-stakeholder cooperation between different partners who have agreed to cooperate and to share, not just the positives, but also their difficulties and challenges.
Together these features create the impact that has allowed AIWW to justifiably claim its place in the global calendar. It is not just this event, every two years. For me the Amsterdam International Water Week is part of a continuous international movement. If you want to know about the circular economy, or if you want to know about resilient cities, resilient industry, resilient utilities and turn your case into a bankable solution, AIWW is certainly one of the most profound platforms. See you in Amsterdam!’
Amsterdam International Water Week is the dynamic international water platform hosted in the Dutch capital to connect the water sector, business, government, and related sectors. With a leading conference and trade show at its core, AIWW facilitates dialogue between utility, city and industry leaders, and showcases water technology and innovation. The week contributes to global water progress through a focus on integrated water management, the circular economy, and climate resilience, and secures commitment to practical action on integrated solutions through Amsterdam Agreements.'