News24 November 2022
The aim of the Netherlands International Water Ambition (NIWA) is to play an instrumental part in increasing water security and water safety worldwide for humans, flora and fauna, and in doing so create opportunities for the Dutch water sector. At the request of the ministries involved, NWP will soon hold a NIWA sector meeting. Keeping the worldwide water challenges in mind, we asked Victoria Elema, Lead of the Inter Departmental Water Cluster (IWC) since 2022 and the person responsible for NIWA’s implementation agenda, about the relevance of this meeting.
NIWA, published in 2019, is the joint ambition of four ministries regarding the Netherlands’ international water policy up to 2030. At the same time, NIWA acts as a platform for collaboration between Dutch companies, knowledge institutions, NGOs and government authorities. How important is the collaboration between the wide water sector to reach the NIWA objectives?
“Collaboration is key in our international water efforts. We can only create the required impact together. There is a tremendous amount of international interest in our knowledge and expertise, which offers opportunities in our economic and diplomatic relations with other countries and for the Dutch sector. Furthermore, our water expertise also opens doors to other areas and opportunities for the sector, and we should make better use of this.”
“The Inter Departmental Water Cluster (IWC) is leading the Government-wide water efforts to achieve NIWA’s objectives. An important part of this includes offering a platform for exchange and connection between all the parties involved. The next NIWA sector meeting is a good example of this.”
Water is essential in the international Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). NIWA has identified a number of international development goals to which it can make a positive contribution in the face of the world’s water challenges. United Nations reports show that we are not on track for 2030. What is the Netherlands doing, or will do, to speed things up?
“That’s right, we are behind in achieving the water related goals regarding SDG 6. If we do not accelerate, scale up our successful interventions, and close the financial gap, we will not achieve SDG 6. One of the most important opportunities for next year is the UN Water Conference in March 2023. The Netherlands will host this Conference with Tajikistan. It will be the first UN water conference in almost 50 years, and this represents a huge opportunity to attract global attention to water. It will be a cross-sectoral conference because we urgently need to reach other sectors in order to achieve our goals. The aim is for 2023 to be a watershed moment for the water sector.”
“If we look at the NIWA, we are mostly on track in achieving our quantitative goals for 2030. We need to step up in order to reach NIWA Goal 4 (15 million people with improved river basin management by 2030 in eight delta cities). But even more important, we need to do more in order to act upon the increasing worldwide challenges.”
Whether we are talking about health, education, food production, energy, eradication of poverty or combatting climate change – water is at the heart of all these issues. Partnerships between businesses, NGOs and governments are crucial to achieving SDG 6.
Lead of the International Water Cluster / Netherlands International Water Ambition
Water is essential for our existence in a sustainable world. At the same time, we see the pressure on water increasing around the world. Climate change, Covid-19, the economic crisis – there are a lot of challenges at the moment. And water is even more critical than ever. What is the future of water security and water safety in the eyes of NIWA?
“If we succeed in managing water better, we will have a significant chance of making the world safer and more prosperous. But time is running out. We see the effects of too much and too little water everywhere in the world, including in the Netherlands. Investing in the water agenda is essential in achieving all the SDGs, not only SDG 6. We need to bring all sectors even closer together, and this includes entities outside the traditional water sector too.”
“Water connects the many challenges that we are now facing, from food security and energy to climate change and health. Sea level rise, increasing water scarcity and extreme weather events are the new reality. Ninety percent of all disasters are water related. By 2050 more than half the world’s population will be at risk of water shortages and desertification. The urgency is clear. We need everyone to work on this.”
You are invited to be part of the NIWA Sector meeting on Tuesday 29 November, at 14.00 in Utrecht. During the meeting you will receive information on the current state of affairs, priority themes, and developments within NIWA. The agenda includes updates on programmes and initiatives that contribute to achieving the NIWA objectives, and upcoming key moments like the UN Water Conference in March 2023. There will be ample opportunity to catch up during the informal network drinks. The whole meeting will be in Dutch. Sign up here.