On World Earth Day, 22 April, Netherlands Enterprise Agency (RVO) will open a call for action for innovative solutions to meet the water challenges in Chennai (India), Khulna (Bangladesh) and Semarang (Indonesia).

The call is part of the ‘Water as Leverage for Asian cities’ programme that aims to develop excellent, innovative, integrated and bankable projects, including committed local support by active stakeholder coalitions.

Internationally operating multidisciplinary teams comprising urban planners and water and climate experts as well as other key players, are invited to react on the call.

dws-rvo-leverage-chennai-flood-2008-Severe flooding in Chennia, India, after a cloudburst in 2008. Preventive flood measaures are very complex and involve traffic systems, housing and spatial planning. When addressing water issues, it can be very effective to incorporate solutions that address other issues, like traffic and housing, at the same time. 

Addressing complex urban issues
The challenge of the programme is to match long-term comprehensive urban planning with short term innovative transformations.

As well as combining ambitious climate adaptation plans with bankable projects; the development of more knowledge on water systems with the construction of more resilient cities; research, design and implementation with inclusive urban alliances.

Result-driven collaboration is essential — across all sectors, all layers of government, and all stakeholders — from activists and vulnerable communities to private and public institutions.

dws-rvo-leverage-khulna-water-quality-350pxWater quality is also an important issue in many Asian cities, often to do with poor sewage treatment.

Tackling water issues to improve city as a whole
According to Dutch water envoy Henk Ovink, Asia is at a critical juncture. ‘Its role on the world stage is increasing, but the region now faces new and complex challenges. By using water as leverage we can build a sustainable tomorrow and make their cities resilient.’

Ovink points out that Water as Leverage wants to be different. It aims to involve the international financial world, development banks and governments in the advancement of this innovative approach.

Research by design
In each of the three cities, the call for action will focus on project strategies and design. Teams will test, refine, question or expand the opportunities that are traced and develop scenarios to prompt action.

Through research by design, each team will concentrate on real implementation, and thereby nurture action to induce vision.

dws-rvo-leverage-semarang-industry-350px  Tackling urban water issues provides an opportunity to revitalize old industrial areas. Here seen are the fish smoking factories in Semarang, Indonesia.

From problems to solutions
The teams who respond to the call are challenged to develop innovative, bankable and implementable design proposals.

The programme will provide support and help connect the interdependencies or networks and foster a transformative approach-methodology to evolve from a landscape of problems to a landscape of solutions.

The Water as Leverage programme is carried out by Netherlands Enterprise Agency (RVO) on behalf of the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Dutch Water Envoy. Its partners are the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, the Global Centre of Excellence on Climate Adaptation, 100ResilientCities and the cities of Chennai, Khulna and Semarang.

This news item was originally published on the website of Netherlands Enterprise Agency (RVO).

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Expertise: Resilient cities

More information
Water as Leverage programme
c/o Netherlands Enterprise Agency (RVO)
The Hague, the Netherlands
+31 70 379 80 00