Blog9 January 2020
Let me start by wishing you all an inspiring and prosperous 2020. The international water world is a world full of challenges and the Dutch water sector is capable like no other of leading the transformative system change needed to meet the SDG agenda and bring about social, environmental and economic prosperity. In 2020, NWP aims to have an even greater impact than ever. As an ambitious and entrepreneurial enabler, we will continue to facilitate the Dutch Water Sector to solve global water challenges to benefit society in a just and environmentally resilient way, while growing the Sector’s global reach and business success.
Some time ago I had a discussion with one of our members. He was satisfied with our activities, the quality of our network and the information offer. “But,” he added, “you have not yet offered us a real market opportunity.” This is just one small incident, but this is exactly why we have decided to overhaul our strategy and our ambitions for the coming years. We have set ambitious targets and are going to work hard to achieve high impact.
Our revised strategy revolves around three key concepts: share, connect and involve. Sharing means that we are going to increase our visibility through effective communication and strengthen our authority through quality content. Connecting means that we will go on creating and strengthening national and international networks, both public and private, that are helpful and accessible for our members. These networks are in the water sector and in other sectors such as agriculture, energy, and finance. Water is at the heart of practically every global challenge that we are facing and solving water problems will help us achieve practically all the SDGs. Let me make the case by looking at some statistics. Agricultural irrigation accounts for 70% of water use worldwide; 90% of global power generation is water intense; 90% of climate change related hazards involve water; and, building sustainable cities and communities will require a USD 7.5 trillion investment in water infrastructure to meet existing deficiencies and to cope with future demand. In other words, the huge water challenges offer enormous opportunities at the same time. Our ambition is to connect these challenges and opportunities for a better world and for a prosperous Dutch water sector.
And I firmly believe that the third keyword, involve, is the most important one in our new strategy. We will match supply and demand and align the interests of our members, facilitate knowledge transfer and market and business intelligence. We will share market insights and solutions, and develop market opportunities based on our market intelligence. We will also be in a position to act swiftly in cases of water-related disasters and our work will boost opportunities by making connections with water and agrifood, energy, urban resilience and finance. We will take the initiative and will seek out and share commercial opportunities.
All of these will help us reach our goal: to double the international impact of the Dutch water sector in its contribution towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.
Our new strategy will put us in an even stronger position to collaborate with the government and RVO.nl in programmes such as Partners for Water. After all, these programmes also make the connection between the SDGs and strengthening the Dutch water sector internationally. This connection is also the basis of the Netherlands International Water Ambition (NIWA). And as we implement programmes such as Partners for Water, we know what is happening in different markets and what is in the pipeline and what opportunities these offer. We will make an even bigger effort to link these opportunities to members that can offer solutions.
To do all this, we need to get to know you better. We need to learn about your solutions, plans and ambitions, how you can make a difference, in which countries and regions you want to spread your wings and the themes that are of particular interest to you. This enables us, once again, to make the connection between the Dutch water sector and market opportunities. And vice versa, the knowledge and information we obtain from the market will enable us to put the right focus on the government programmes that we are involved in. Last year for example, an important part of the sector wanted to focus on Europe so this led to a targeted strategy. At the same time, we intensified our cooperation with the agrifood sector as we learned that many Dutch water sector solutions are focused on this sector. In fact, these are examples of what we have already done and will continue to do, but with even more energy.
Of course, the proof of the pudding is in the eating. So let me turn back to the member I mentioned at the beginning of this blog. I am looking forward to meeting him again at the end of this year. I trust that he will tell me that he has made some money thanks to something NWP did in 2020. This is at the very heart of our existence.