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Looking back on an inspiring Opening Ceremony

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The Amsterdam International Water Week has kicked off yesterday with an inspiring Opening Ceremony. The programme consisted of several renowned speakers, prestigious prizes, entertainment and networking opportunities. It was the best start to an even more inspiring week.

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Moderator Mr Tom Freyberg, Chief Editor of Penwell International Water Group, started the Opening Ceremony by asking the central question of the AIWW: How will the world cope with an extra 2 billion people? Several keynote speakers offered insights from their respective fields. Ms. Laura Tuck, Vice President of the Worldbank, identified leadership, funds and technology as key ingredients to tackle our water challenges. Daniel Calleja Crespo, Director General Environment of the European Commission, called water “the most pressing challenge of our time”, and shared six domains of action. Matti Korhonen of Metsä Board, recognised by CDP as a global leader in sustainable water management and climate action, spoke about responsible water management.

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After Dr Samuel Sarphati himself made an appearance from the afterlife, Mr Udo Kock, deputy mayor of the City of Amsterdam, handed out the Sarphati Sanitation Awards 2017: the biennial prize that honours the outstanding contribution of individuals and organisations to the global sanitation and public health challenge through entrepreneurship. Mr Ahijit Banerji of FINISH Society was selected out of three promising initiatives and won the Young Entrepreneurs Award. The Jury of SSA awarded Dr Sasha Kramer, founder of SOIL in 2006, the Lifetime Achievement Award for her exemplary work to provide sustainable sanitation services in Haiti, with an approach they considered to be replicable in many other situations, especially in fast growing peri-urban areas. 

Water technologies in six categories were celebrated with the prestigious Aquatech Innovation Awards. Out of the category winners, an overall winner was chosen by the jury: Cellvation cellulose recovery by CirTec B.V.

Overall winner: Cellvation cellulose recovery, CirTec B.V.
Innovation – not yet to market: Countinuous Counterflow Adsorber water treatment, Blücher GmbH
Process control technology & Process automation: Satellite remote sensing leak detection, Utilis
Transport & storage: Picoturbine water network energy recovery, Technoturbines S.L.
Waste water treatment: Cellvation cellulose recovery, CirTec B.V.
Water treatment: Closed Circuit Reverse Osmosis treatment technology, Desalitech via Lenntech B.V.
Special mention: DaaS (Data as a Service) for Water Quality Monitoring, s::can Messtechnik GmbH

Final speaker of the Opening Ceremony was the Prime Minister of the Netherlands: Mr Mark Rutte. He underlined the importance of valuing water in his keynote: ‘It all comes down to one thing: valuing water. As a member of the High Level Panel on Water I've lobbied hard for this theme in recent years. Valuing water is key to all the water-related SDGs. If we know what water is worth to each stakeholder, we can make the most of trade-offs and maximise the total value of water to society.' As panel member of the UN High Level Panel on Water, he spoke on the first day of the AIWW with different water experts, including young professionals, about the subject ‘Valuing Water’. This dialogue was the last one of a series to gain valuable ideas and input for the UN Panel.

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More pictures of the Opening Ceremony can be found on our Flickr stream

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