On behalf of the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan, the Netherlands Water Partnership (NWP) coordinated the representation of the Dutch water sector to the Second High-Level International Conference on the International Decade for Action ‘Water for Sustainable Development’, 2018-2028. The conference was held in Dushanbe, the capital of Tajikistan, from 6 to 9 June.
The high-level meeting attracted some 2,500 delegates from all over the world, mainly from multilateral institutes, large NGOs and governments. It gained special significance for the Netherlands because Tajikistan and the Netherlands will jointly host the UN2023 Water Summit in New York in March 2023.
Besides a significant representation from the Dutch Ministries of Infrastructure and Water Management and Foreign Affairs, the Dutch water sector was represented by five organisations: Nijhuis Industries, Royal Eijkelkamp, Royal HaskoningDHV, IHE Delft and NWP.
Activities at the conference
The network at the conference was impressive and easily accessible. A bi-lateral meeting took place between the representatives of the Dutch water sector and the Kazakh Ministry of Ecology and Natural Resources and the Kazakh Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The meeting discussed the potential of cooperation, and presented various opportunities to the companies that attended.
Between the sessions, the exhibition floor proved to be a good meeting point. Both Nijhuis Industries and Royal Eijkelkamp had an exhibition booth. The dinner on Tuesday, hosted by the Tajiks, was also a great opportunity to meet with high-ranking officials from organisations such as UNESCO, the Stockholm International Water Week, and the WHO.
The main outcome of the conference was the extension and deepening of existing and new networks in the region that could create a solid basis for future business.
It was interesting to see Tajikistan claiming a position as one of the world’s leading nations when it comes to water. As the country is a very important source of freshwater for the Central and South Asia region, there is some basis to its claim. As a market, Tajikistan is small. Opportunities for hardware supplies are limited, there are some opportunities for work in the multi-lateral finance world and in the sphere of bi-lateral cooperation with richer countries. Switzerland seems to be quite active with outreach to the Tajik water sector.
Henk Nieboer attended the conference on behalf of NWP. Nieboer is currently acting as interim Managing Director of NWP. For more information, please contact him at email@example.com.