Budapest Water Summit: Outspoken Dutch experts address summit with experiences
Water experts gathered at the Budapest Water Summer discussing the global issues in four different forums.
The scientists talked about methodologies and easy accessible data for policy makers. In the civil society forum non-governmental organizations talked on how to realize universal access to water. The business forum talked about the reduction of risks of too much water (foods) and too less water (drought) possibly affecting production. Young professionals talked about a new generation of water management in the Youth Forum.
In all forums Dutch - or Dutch based - experts contributed with outspoken ideas and experiences.
Science forum: river basin management
Setting up a joint monitoring programme is a big step in river basin management. This point was made by Jan Leentvaart, professor of Water and Environmental Policy Making at the Delft-based education institute UNESCO-IHE. Leenvaart served many years with the Netherlands Ministry of Transport, Public Works, often dealing with the pollution of the Rhine river and the work of the International Rhine Commission. Riparian states along transboundary rivers have to develop a common language to overcome their different interest, Leentvaart said.
Civil society forum: butterfly effect
Lesha Witmer took the stage for the Butterfly effect coalition, a network of civil society organisations, NGOs, networks and womens’ organisation that advocates the right to water should be at the basis of a bottom-up water governance. Witmer is active in many international water-related NGOs such as Women for water, and Alliance for Water Stewardship. As member steering committee at Butterfly Effect she plead for effective local solutions that fit in the global context of sustainable development. As she called it: from local to global.
Civil society forum: human right
Operational director Tobias Schmitz of Waterlex explained hat his Swiss-based organisation takes the human right to water and saniation as a lead for all activities. One of which is the collection of water data. He pointed out that the according to the UN 783 million lack access to drinking water. If you take the quality of the water in consideration as well, this number is in fact 1.2 billion, he assured. Apparently there is a big difference in access to driking water and access to safe drinking water.
Youth forum - Wetskills
John Oost of the World Water Academy informed the Youth Forum about the Dutch initiaive Wetskills Challenges. So far nine challenges have been organised world wide. During such event students form international teams and have to find solutions to exciting water issues. The Wetskills events are not only informative, but also very inspiring and above all enjoyable, Oost assured. He invited the attendances of the Youth Forum to participate in the next Wetskills Challenges in Tthe Netherlands, Israel and South Africa.
Side event - Behavior change
At a special side vent by the Swiss-based Water Supply and Sanitation Collaboration Council (WSSCC) the issue of equity was raised. It has proven difficult to improve the hygiene situation of poor and marginalized people. One of the reasons is the fact that it is difficult to convince these people that by simply washing their hands they can improve their health situation by reducing the number of water-born diseases, especially diarrhea.
Advisor Manuel Thurnhofer of the Swiss development agency, Nigerian water minister Sarah Reng Ochekpe and advisor Alexander Verbeek of the Dutch ministry of Foreign Affairs (on photo from left to right) talked about the possibilities of behvior change. Just by washing their hands the number of water-borne diseases drops dramatically, leading to better learning at school, more productivity, and also more creativity, said Nigerian minister Reng Ochekpe.
Also read on this website
• Budapest Water Summit: Final collective call for dedicated global water goal, 13 October 2013
• Budapest Water Summit: “In the end, it is all about human dignity”, 11 October 2013
• Budapest Water Summit: ”Getting more transparency by using real-time data on water infrastructure”, 10 October 2013
• Budapest Water Summit: Water governance and WASH central themes in Dutch contributions, 6 October 2013
• World Water Day – The Hague: Global water community endeavors cooperation on food, energy and health issues, 23 March 2013
Budapest Water Summit