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‘New coalitions and solutions for achieving real breakthroughs in the world’

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‘Amsterdam Agreements’ result of Amsterdam International Water Week

The Conference of the Amsterdam International Water Week (AIWW) resulted in the signing of nine Amsterdam Agreements. The agreements express the intention of many leading companies, institutes and authorities in the water sector to jointly collaborate on a wide range of challenging issues on the global water agenda.

One of the Amsterdam Agreements involves the Human Cities Coalition by consultancy firms Arcadis, Witteveen+Bos, Fugro, SWECO, research institute Deltares and multinational AkzoNobel. This coalition signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to join the UN Roadmap for Human Cities, improving the living conditions of informal populations in slums in Manilla, Jakarta and other megacities. This and many more impressive ‘Amsterdam Agreements’ were signed during AIWW this week.

Prime Minister Mark Rutte
Prime Minister of the Netherlands, Mr Mark Rutte, who opened the Amsterdam International Water Week: “More and more people around the world are experiencing the destructive power of water. Problems caused by too much water, too little water or polluted water. So working together in the field of water is more crucial than ever. That is why we are here today: to exploit the opportunities water presents, but also to tackle the problems it creates. Amsterdam International Water Week provides an excellent platform for government bodies, cities, industry, water companies, NGOs and next generation water professionals to create alliances, share knowledge and turn promising plans into practice.”

Amsterdam Agreements
Changing the way we look at our water-related risks - finding new approaches - is something that cannot be achieved overnight. Case owners, experts, suppliers and investors signing an Amsterdam Agreement, pledge to continue their work in the coming years until they have reached their goals.
In order to achieve real breakthroughs. Signatories will report back on their progress during the Amsterdam International Water Week 2019.

Lennart Silvis, Chairman of the Managing Board AIWW and Managing Director Netherlands Water Partnership: “The success of this conference is that we did not organise a traditional call for papers. We deliberately called for real life cases and solutions. We have organised round table discussions in which case holders were matched to those who could provide solutions to these specific cases. It was a very intensive process, but the only way to come up with concrete output and new partnerships.
Some of these partnerships are labelled as an Amsterdam Agreement. Part of the agreement is to keep us informed about the progress, the challenges, road blocks and successes, and increase the transparency which is required to make the next step in the global water world.”

The signed Amsterdam Agreements:

Human Cities Coalition
Human Cities Coalition and Arcadis, Witteveen+Bos, Fugro, SWECO, Deltares and AkzoNobel signed a MoU that sets out an action agenda for inclusive urban development. The Roadmap lays out a long-term strategy to effect a systematic transformation in water infrastructure investments by working closely with key stakeholders towards the inclusion of social and human components in procurement design. This will remain in effect for eighteen months, during which signatories will share knowledge and expertise on a pre-competitive basis to develop a collective vision and action plan to integrate inclusivity.

Berlin Wasserbetriebe and Waternet
Berliner Wasserbetriebe and Waternet, both utilities that operate in an urban environment agreed to cooperate on three specific topics:

  • how to abate contaminants of emerging concern (pharmaceuticals, plant protection products, industrial contaminants, personal care products) in the water cycle;
  • how to cope with extreme weather events due to climate change in an urban environment;
  • how to cooperate in an international context in international and European research programs like Life and Horizon2020.

Blue Deal: safe water for 20 milion people
All 21 Dutch regional water authorities and the ministries of Foreign Affairs, Infrastructure and Water, Economic Affairs and Climate will set up an international program (Blue Deal). With the programme the parties aim to improve flood protection, the accessibility of water and the water quality worldwide. Blue Deal combines the national policy of three ministries with the hands-on implementing power of the Dutch regional water authorities. These authorities want to share their expertise in regional water management with countries that face similar challenges. In addition, the Dutch water authorities believe that Blue Deal will increase their ambitions to contribute to a safer, cleaner and healthier world. On World Water Day 2018, Blue Deal wil be finalised and presented.

FMO – NWP: develop and finance international water initiatives
Netherlands Water Partnership (NWP) and the Dutch development bank FMO signed a Memorandum of Understanding that aims to develop at least two water initiatives, from project development to financial closing stage. The role of NWP focuses on mobilising the Dutch water sector around a specific international water initiative and the role for FMO is to develop and structure that specific initiative in such a way that it becomes attractive for different financial partners.

Water in the Circular Economy’ (WiCE)
KWR, water companies and Vewin have taken the initiative for a joint research program ‘Water in the Circular Economy’ (WiCE). The transition to a circular economy is necessary and the water sector wants to take a leading role in this transition. By developing and applying knowledge with other actors in and around the urban water cycle, they contribute to a circular society. The first WiCE projects will start in January 2018. In these projects parties in and around the urban water cycle connect to develop knowledge on local (re)use of freshwater, the role of water in balancing energy supply and demand, raw material efficiency in the urban water cycle, and investigate governance aspects such as stakeholder management, optimal scale of innovations in the urban water cycle and cost-benefit distribution within these innovations.

Living with the sea
Project Kustplaats IJmuiden aan Zee and the city of Velsen, soon also supported by Wageningen Marine Research and Deltares, are cooperating in ‘Living with the sea’. This project aims to be an international showcase on water safety consisting of:

  • Experimental playground – FabCityNature. Learning and testing of climate adaptation and building seaward of the dykes
  • BRAK! – Temporary coastal information and innovation center. To have people experiencing the impact of climate change and the innovative ways they can adapt to it.
  • Coastal protection and living along the waterside – Building with Nature. Pilot project for living in a sustainable and safe environment. With the rising of the sea level, overcoming climate impact, and, in a natural way.

Allied Waters, AquaMinerals and KWR: Upscale water resource recovery
Drinking water treatment yields – apart from drinking water itself – are very useable side products, including lime pellets from central softening processes and iron sludge resulting from the aeration of groundwater. Over two decades AquaMinerals has gained experience finding applications for these products in The Netherlands. The final destination of these side products ranges from paper, glass and carpet industries (lime pellets) to biogas purification (iron sludge). Research and development are key to achieve environmentally and economically viable applications. That’s the role of KWR Watercycle Research Institute. Allied Waters’ focus is to market sustainable concepts internationally, in public-private partnerships. The joint ambition in the Amsterdam Agreement is:

  • Introducing and implementing the concept of ‘upcycling’ in three new countries
  • Stimulating further innovation through a ‘revolving fund’ in order to fund further research and development

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