I became the Chair of the NWP Board on 1 June. It is a wonderful challenge. NWP is the network in the Dutch Water Sector and its mission is to position and facilitate the Dutch Water Sector to make an impact abroad. An impact on the societies that we work with and an impact for the entities in the network themselves. We take for granted that knowledge institutions, companies, governments and NGOs sit at the table together to see where there is common ground and whether we need to join forces. But we have come to realise that this is exceptional. After all, the interests, visions, missions, strategies and objectives, the values and cultures of all of these entities are very different. And each of these separate entities uphold its independence and logic. Not all sectors will succeed in becoming an ‘NWP’.
There is more that unites us than divides us. That is the strength of a network organisation – freedom in unity, collaboration and making the pie larger before we divide it up into competitive parts. The interests of our sector are always embedded in the larger scenario of the SDGs. Water may still be a cornerstone of our own water related SDGs, but is also the enabling factor for a healthy, safe and affluent society. The times are challenging. Knowledge and expertise on water is needed more than ever. Integrating various issues and finding the inter-connections between themes are asking NWP members to be important players in new value chains. We will have to expand the NWP network to include entities that may, at first glance, not seem to be water related. They may work in agriculture, nutrition or energy. The welcome mat is always there.
A network is not always easy to manage as a single entity. So we always need to keep the dot on the horizon in sight. We need clarity in our goals and continuous efforts to reach that dot. NWP aspires to widen the impact of the Dutch Water Sector in the world. The world needs help with water and that gives opportunities for the Dutch Water Sector. To this end, we want to make our knowledge and experience visible and accessible – what we call the ‘shop window and the open door’. We want to matchmake – to bring various entities together to handle concrete requests from abroad. We want to become stronger by offering services throughout the chain, from ‘creative design’ to financing, implementing and managing projects. In these integrated projects, we can gather the varied knowledge and experience of our network partners so that our sector can bring our market and business intelligence to the next level. We are also closely following policy developments in The Hague, our seat of government, and developments in our network so that policy and the sector are strongly connected.
I want to serve NWP’s network and stimulate its members with my love for and experience in knowledge institutions, government, industry and NGOs. I would also like to serve the NWP network by making fruitful connections with the top sectors. The strength of a network is after all determined by the energy that its members are prepared to put in. Let’s go for it together!