Bianca Nijhof represented NWP at the high-level policy dialogue on Conflict, Climate and Resilience in The Hague on 3 May. Organised by the International Committee of the Red Cross, the Red Cross Red Crescent Climate Centre and the Overseas Development Institute, it is part of a global series of policy roundtables.
These organisations are becoming increasingly aware of the space that water takes, and the benefits that innovation and business can bring. Attendees thus included humanitarian and development organisations, financial institutions, umbrella organisations, networking organisations and government.
The event covered a wide range of topics, but to Bianca, two were of direct interest to NWP and its members: forecasting vulnerable areas and de-risking investments. In terms of forecasting, new technologies are allowing us to anticipate areas of conflict and what climate events may happen where, when and at what scale with greater accuracy. The potential for the Dutch water sector is being involved in the areas of monitoring and sensing.
Knowing where conflicts and climate events may occur in the short term, resources could be mobilised from potential private sector financiers and expertise from the Dutch water sector in advance to deal with the short term needs. At the same time, vulnerable areas also need long-term prevention solutions. According to Bianca, “This calls for water expertise and innovative technologies, which could well be supplied by the Dutch water sector. Our small and medium sized companies in particular have relevant technologies. However, they do not usually have the financial flexibility to invest themselves.” This calls for de-risking investments. If governments or financial institutions can minimise the financial risks, these companies could deploy their technologies to mitigate the effects of natural disasters. And if natural disasters do occur, they can support humanitarian help and reconstruction.
After attending an event with entities from different sectors working on the same issues, does Bianca have a takeaway message? “Yes. There seems to be a gap between development work and post disaster humanitarian work. Given our increasing ability to predict the effects of climate change and the occurrence of climate events much better, I believe that the gap between the two should narrow.”