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Amsterdam International Water Week 2017 – Be part of the breakthrough

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This week, the first outline of the Amsterdam International Water Week was presented at IWA Brisbane. ‘We made fantastic progress with Amsterdam International Water Week 2015, but with the 2017 edition, we will take that to another level,’ says Lennart Silvis, Chairman of the Managing Board of Amsterdam International Water Week and Managing Director of the Netherlands Water Partnership. 

‘With the 2015 event, we created a unique forum that addressed the water challenges faced by cities, water utilities and industry and framed them in the context of the emerging themes of resilience and the circular economy,’ he says. ‘These challenges need solutions, and our exciting new format for 2017 will connect the owners of real-world challenges with experts, solutions providers and other stakeholders to identify actual breakthrough opportunities.’ 

The 2017 conference part of AIWW will feature approximately 12-15 of these cases. One, for example, is due to help shape thinking on how the city of Amsterdam can cope with climate change-influenced rainfall patterns in the future. The other cases will be drawn from pressing examples around the world. ‘We urge cities, utilities and industries to come forward and be part of this innovative opportunity,’ says Silvis. ‘For the world of science and for technology experts, this is a chance to launch new insights and solutions, or to contribute to the future direction of these cases, so register your interest as well.’ 

A laboratory for ideas
‘The 2017 edition will see a fresh approach for the wider conference also, with much greater interaction between participants,’ says Silvis. The programme will feature sessions on specific topics and these will bring together experts from areas such as governance, finance, technology and resilience. ‘These sessions will be run as in-depth labs to help identify viable options for addressing specific issues. They will also help channel expert thinking into the city and industry cases,’ he adds. 

‘The traditional approach to conferences offers a limited amount of time to deal with what can be complex issues. This is a missed opportunity,’ continues Silvis. ‘As a further innovation, the in-depth labs will be running online in advance of AIWW 2017. This will give more people a chance to engage with the event and will add to the overall impact of the week.’ 

An ambitious approach
‘It is clear there are huge challenges now and in the decades ahead, not least because of population growth, industrialisation and the impacts of climate change,’ says Silvis. ‘To help build our response to these challenges, we have identified four key themes for AIWW 2017: water efficiency and value; water management and resilience; institutions and governance; and innovation in water systems. These run through all the activities that will be taking place. The topics also tie into current affairs, for example the Sustainable Development Goals. 

‘The changes we are introducing for AIWW 2017 are an ambitious step, driven by the scale of the challenges but also the opportunities,’ adds Silvis. ‘We look forward to the water community joining us next November and to achieving some real breakthroughs.’

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