dws-unesco-ihe-5th-delft-luijendijk-770px“Funding is no longer a constraining factor for infrastructure development or solutions for water scarcity, but rather the lack of feasibility in the presented proposals,” said Guy Alaerts, Professor of Knowledge and Capacity Development at UNESCO-IHE and Lead Water Resources Specialist at the World Bank in his key note at the 5th Delft symposium on water sector capacity development on 29 May.

Main topic of the symposium was the creation of water leadership to boost the implementation of new innovative solutions to combat water scarcity and floodings.

At the end of the conference two deliveries were presented: a set of global standards for water leadership and a Australian-Dutch training programme.

From vision to reality
According to professor Alaerts the water sector quickly needs more capability to convert new visions into reality with concrete steps. Alaerts urged for leadership, the theme intensively debated during the symposium by 230 participants with 60 different nationalities.

dws-unesco-ihe-5th-delft-alaerts-300px“Capacity is increasingly important as water problems change rapidly and get more complex",  said Alearts. "It appears there is a problem converting a vision and dream into reality with concrete steps and action plans. It was also intriguing how this lack of readiness is systemic in not only developing countries but also in developed countries. Ddespite there being available funds for distribution, this failure to present clear and feasible plans is hindering these potentially life saving solutions from coming into fruition.”

Alaerts sees a changing relation between donor countries and developing countries. "Water is no longer an exclusive problem of the developing countries. The increasing water consumption and the water footprint has become a water problem for the industrialising world as a whole. We were now in the same boat".

Investing in knowledge and education
Alaerts continued: “Once again, the theme of education comes into play here, where more education needs to be invested into so that the maximum number of innovative and creative solutions can be realized. Lastly, the issue of skilled labour shortage within the water sector is raised where the demand of labour is not met by the supply, due to the lack of interest or infrastructure available to study water around the world. Therefore, we may need 1000 water leaders, but we need much more water students,” he concluded.

Universal standards for water leadership
On the final day of the conference a set of standards for such water leadership was presented by Wouter Linklaen- Arriens, lead water specialist of the Asian Development Bank. He  welcomed the standards as a first step for a global community of practice to develop especially in Asia, Africa and Latin-America.

dws-unesco-ihe-5th-delft-lincklaen-arriens-300-xLinklaen-Arriens: “During discussions at this symposium it has been mentioned many times that these standards are not about classic leadership by executives but about learning individuals within an organization to bring new ideas, new research and innovative solutions into practice. The standards are about seeking partnerships and collaboration for results."

Education programme
The other delivery was presented by professor Jan Luijendijk of UNESCO-IHE. He announced that the Australian-Dutch International Water Leadership programme will start its first training course early 2014. In 2009 the Australian International Water Centre has already started such a courses.

During the conference it was agreed that the course will now also be conducted in the Netherlands by Nyenrode Business University. Nyenrode is a private university ranking among the top European business schools.

More information
5th Delft Symposiumon Water Sector Capacity Development
(see video recordings of the opening & closure sessions) 

Delft, the Netherlands
+31 15 215 1715

International Water Leadership programme