It’s a wrap. An exciting and adventurous half year at Expo 2020 in Dubai came to an end on 31 March 2022. The Netherlands has definitely made a lasting impression with its unique and award-winning Netherlands Pavilion and impressive Dutch Dubai programme, including an extensive water track. The Netherlands Water Partnership (NWP) coordinated the water programme and looks back at an inspiring and successful event that connected the Dutch water sector to the rest of the world and the region.
NWP organised and hosted two water-related events at EXPO 2020 in Dubai and managed to connect and involve at least 68 organisations from the Dutch water sector to the stage in Dubai. As speakers, participants, panellists or moderators, they actively contributed to the programme at the Netherlands Pavilion.
Project Manager Events at NWP
Mayors and high-level representatives from the cities of Christchurch, Dubai, Mexico City, Rotterdam, Santiago, and Tirana, and the State of Maryland, gave a clear message in Dubai on 1 November: cities are where the climate battle will largely be won or lost, and mayors are the world's first responders to the climate emergency. Collaboration is key and actions speak louder than words. Cities are leading by doing.
This awareness was central at the first water-related event 'Two Extremes: Flooding and Heatwaves. Resilience Challenges and Innovation in Cities' which took place on 1 November at the Netherlands Pavilion during the Rural and Urban Development Week at Expo 2020 Dubai.
With valuable contributions by Dutch water sector organisations such as KWR Water Research Institute, Kuiper Compagnons, Desolenator, MVRDV, Witteveen+Bos, Deltares, OKRA landschapsarchitecten (landscape architects), Blue21, IHE Delft Institute for Water Education, BAM Infra Nederland Delta Marine Consultants, Elemental Water Makers, Van Oord and Rebel.
After this first seminar, the Expo train moved on and a second seminar was planned for the Global Goals Week from 16 to 22 January 2022. Unfortunately, Covid-19 restrictions were sharpened, and the event was rescheduled for 23 March 2022 during the Water Week at Expo 2020 in Dubai.
The seminar coincided with the official trade mission to the United Arab Emirates led by the Dutch Minister of Infrastructure and Water Management, Marc Harbers. This resulted in an impactful way of sharing knowledge and ideas in the crossover fields of water, energy and food.
It has been such an honour to represent the Dutch water tech sector at a packed Water Week at Expo 2020 Dubai. My wonderful colleagues and I were humbled by the great respect for Dutch water tech on this international stage, and grateful to the organisers for creating such a collaborative platform where we could learn from global experts, share our visions and showcase our smart water technology. The Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Dutch Dubai 2020, NWP (Netherlands Water Partnership), Water Alliance and many others truly put the Dutch water management sector on a pedestal!
We now look forward to the follow-up with both new and existing water friends in our shared quest to manage the world’s scarce water resources in the most sustainable way.
Rogier van den Brink
CEO Holland Water
A variety of Dutch water sector companies, knowledge institutes and water technology related organisations, and their international partners, presented a high-level and in-depth programme with four separate sessions at the Netherlands Pavilion on 23 March.
NWP, co-host Water Alliance and PUB, Singapore’s National Water Agency, the official partner of the event, organised and hosted this event.
I was in the position to give a presentation on AquaConnect at the water seminar on 23 March in the Netherlands Pavilion at the EXPO Dubai. There we met the CEO of Oman Water & Waste Water Services Company who showed great interest in our AquaConnect programme, and the CEO of DEWA (Dubai Electricity & Water Authority) who has similar interests. I foresee that we can further develop collaboration on the water-agriculture-food-energy nexus in the Qatar-Oman-UAE states in the Gulf. The plan is for another visit in the near future.
Prof. Huub H.M. Rijnaarts
Professor in Environmental and Water Technology, Wageningen University and Research
During the day, several MoUs and contracts were signed. Demcon Optiqua and PUB, Singapore’s National Water Agency, signed a contract for the further roll-out of EventLab in Singapore. EventLab is Optiqua’s solution for real-time drinking water monitoring. For more details about the official rollout read the article on Dutchwatersector.com.
Wavemakers United announced the official launch of its Wavemakers Academy and platform. To celebrate and support this initiative, several companies and organisations, including NWP, signed an MoU in the presence of the Dutch Minister of Infrastructure and Water Management Marc Harbers. More details about the MoU are available here.
Water was the theme that brought various parties together and we had the opportunity to connect youth to the water sector. Not just with a Dutch perspective, but combining water knowledge, innovation and ambition from all over the world. The partners and young people that joined the trade mission in November were part of this day too. This event marks the start of a global youth network that is Wavemakers United!
Founder and Owner Dutch Wavemakers & Wavemakers United
The seminar, trade mission, impressive Netherlands Pavilion and active participation of Dutch water sector organisations led to a successful Water Week where valuable connections were made and knowledge and ideas in the cross-over fields of water, energy and food were shared.
The recordings of the sessions can be found on www.virtual.dutchdubai.com.
And now Expo 2020 in Dubai has come to an end. It has been a great adventure and true pleasure to connect and involve the Dutch water sector to the Dutch Dubai programme and Netherlands Pavilion.
We would like to thank the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management, and the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in the United Arab Emirates for letting us coordinate the water track programme. And we also thank the Dutch water sector for its enthusiastic and professional participation.
We look forward to the next World Expo, in Osaka, Japan, in 2025.