Cooperation, knowledge exchange and new alliances are key in creating sustainable solutions.
Strengthening bilateral relations
Europe has really drawn the attention of the Dutch water sector. The 2018 Water Export Index (WEX) showed a growing interest for doing business in Europe. In 2018, NWP focused its activities on Poland, Stockholm World Water Week and the Balkan region.
A real milestone in 2018 were the steps taken by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) in funding the River Warta Development project. This is the result of the Polish-Dutch River Warta Partnership, established with NWP support in 2011. It shows that cooperative infrastructure projects can be seen as promising investments by international financing institutions.
The Poland trade mission in October 2018, led by Minster van Nieuwenhuizen and co-organised by NWP, received much praise from both the attending organisations and the media. It was yet another example of strengthening bilateral relationships. NWP compiled the mission’s programme and recruited the participants and speakers. Its efforts were also appreciated by the participants, as expressed by Jan Huijbers of Van den Herik in his blog: ‘NWP opens doors to complex markets’.
European Urban Water Partnership
New alliances require long term investment to build strong relationships. A good example was the launch of the European Urban Water Partnership (EUWP) during COP24 in December 2018. The municipalities of Wroclaw, Breda and Zwolle signed a letter of intent in Katowice, Poland, outlining their actions for ‘climate adaptive cities’. The EUWP is an important outcome of NWP’s continuing efforts, with the support of the Partners for Water Programme, to make water a key element in successfully implementing climate adaptation measures.
Joint action at Stockholm World Water Week
For the first time in years, NWP realised a collaborative presence at the Stockholm World Water Week (SWWW) in Sweden together with different stakeholders including “Blue Deal”, IRC and VIA Water. The interest for SWWW has always been there, but in 2018 the relevance of having an actual contact point increased. The shared message in the Netherlands Pavilion emphasised SDG6 as a prerequisite of reaching all other SDG goals, showing that all SDGs are strongly interwoven.
The added value of Dutch water expertise was recognised when the Stockholm Water Prize 2018 was awarded to Professor Mark van Loosdrecht from the Netherlands and Professor Bruce Rittmann from the USA for their work in revolutionising water and waste water treatment.