AfriAlliance Massive Open Online Course available – ‘Social Innovation in Water & Climate Change in Africa’
The AfriAlliance project is hosting its second Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) on “Social innovation in water and climate change in Africa” from the 2nd June to the 12th of July 2020.
The increasing manifestations of Climate Change on the African continent present many challenges for African stakeholders. This requires novel and holistic approaches in order to deal with the impacts on water resources and society. One such approach is social innovation – tackling societal, water-related challenges arising from Climate Change by combining the technological & non-technological dimensions of innovation. The main goal of this course is to increase awareness of the potential of social innovation to address water and climate challenges in Africa.
This course is designed for young as well as experienced water professionals with a background in the natural, applied or social sciences, working or interested in Africa.
Upon successful completion of this course, participants will be able to:
Define the concept of social innovation as it is used by AfriAlliance;
Describe social innovation in water monitoring;
Discuss social innovation in Integrated Water Resources Management;
Summarise a social innovation process;
Apply the newly acquired knowledge on social innovation to a specific, water-related case.
Deadline for Application: 25 May. To learn more, please click here.Read More
Tomislav Ćorić, Ph.D, Minister of Environment and Energy, Croatia, shares his insights with Water Europe
First of all, I would like to thank Water Europe for the invitation to tell you about the priorities of Croatia’s EU presidency.
The Croatian Presidency has defined four main priorities: A Europe that develops, A Europe that connects, A Europe that protects and An influential Europe.
The Republic of Croatia, like the rest of the world, is greatly affected by climate change and we are already earmarking significant funds for the remediation of its impacts. To respond to this and a number of other challenges, on 11 December 2019, the European Commission presented the European Green Deal, which proposes a new growth strategy that aims to transform the European Union into a society with a modern, resource-efficient and competitive economy, where there are no net emissions of greenhouse gases in 2050 and where economic growth is decoupled from resource use.
As already announced within the framework of the European Green Deal water will be addressed by the zero pollution action plan for a toxic-free environment, the adoption of which is foreseen in 2021, with an emphasis on the restoration of natural functions of surface water, which is essential to preserve and restore biodiversity in lakes, rivers, wetlands and estuaries, and to prevent and limit damage from floods.
It is against this background that the first Croatian Presidency of the Council of the European Union began, and at the meeting of the Environment Council, held on 5 March 2020, the Croatian Presidency initiated discussions on a number of issues from the European Green Deal. Among other things, the ministers had an exchange of views on the evaluation of the water legislation.
Namely, in December 2019, the European Commission made public the results of the fitness check of the Water Framework Directive and its associated Directives, which demonstrated that the Directives were overall fit for purpose.
More specifically, the results show that the Water Framework Directive has been successful in slowing down the deterioration of water status and reducing chemical pollution. In addition, it was also concluded that the Water Framework Directive was sufficiently flexible to accommodate emerging challenges such as climate change, water scarcity and pollutants of emerging concern, such as micro-plastics and pharmaceuticals. These require better integration of water policies into other sectoral policies and the definition of additional sources of funding for the implementation of planned measures.
I would like to use this opportunity to mention that the Republic of Croatia is setting up a legislative and strategic framework, which is a precondition for coordinated action on climate change. In that context, the Climate Change and Ozone Layer Protection Act was adopted in late 2019. The Ministry of Environment and Energy initiated the preparation of the first national Climate Change Adaptation Strategy of the Republic of Croatia for the period until 2040 with a view to 2070. This document also provides an analysis of sectors that are according to current knowledge most exposed and vulnerable to climate change and defines measures.
Temperature is expected to increase between 1.3°C and 1.5 °C by 2040, that is, between 2.2°C and 2.5 °C by 2070 and will consequently have an impact on all other parameters, including precipitation intensity and sea level rise.
The Ministry also coordinates the development of the Low-Carbon Development Strategy of the Republic of Croatia until 2040 with an outlook to 2070. The development of a net-zero emission scenario is underway as well, aimed at establishing how Croatia can achieve carbon neutrality in 2050.
These are all important pieces of a large puzzle that will make a tangible contribution to the fight against climate change and the undesirable impacts on waters in the Republic of Croatia, Europe and the world, in order to truly conserve them for future generations.
Let me stress, once again, that even the smallest contribution can make a difference. Above all, in recent months and days, we see that only if we stand united can we achieve prosperity.Read More
Due to the uncertainties in this period, EJWP has decided to postpone the launch of EJWP2 in the fall 2020.
While EJWP1 is going ahead with its programme temporarily having made the switch to full digital work and communication, it is important that at the start of each new group, the participants get to meet each other face to face.
The precise date will be announced at a later time.
In the meantime, a new animation EJWP video has been launched. Watch it here and learn all about the EJWP and the benefits of joining the programme!
For more information, please click here.Read More
This month Water Europe released its new position paper A Water-Smart Society for a successful post COVID19 recovery plan to stress out the importance of water as key enabler to reboot and accelerate the recovery towards a resilient and united Europe.
Europe needs to be ambitious in its reply and adopt a comprehensive approach towards a Water Smart society to prevent future expensive crises. We, therefore, need a new paradigm towards a Water-Smart Society, from crisis management to risk management and prevention in Europe and beyond. Water Europe welcomes the first replies provided by the European Union, particularly to promote water diplomacy but we need to go further than this. The President of the European Council, Charles Michel, stated last week some important principles in this regard: Solidarity, cohesion and convergence.
Water knows no borders and it is an asset for Europe. We can use water as the enabler to create green jobs and sustainable growth with a high return on investments in every sector of our society. Furthermore, the European Union has already several solutions that need simply to be up-scaled, but additional ones require new collective efforts. It means that some results can be visible quickly for citizens.
Based on different discussions with our ambassadors and different external stakeholders, particularly the members of the EU Water Alliance, Water Europe hereby presents recommendations to contribute to the post COVID-19 strategy:
- Achieve a Water Smart Society to reboot and build a resilient Europe.
- Support digitalisation for a water-driven sustainable growth.
- Encourage an inclusive Water Smart society for our citizens
- Reinforce European leadership to improve international solidarity.
Young professional and people are key to build a sustainable, resilient water society. Europe should support initiatives to recruit and retain young professionals in the water sector.
Encouraging disclosure and consideration of water risk management in our businesses are of key importance, too. Private companies receiving public money during the Covid-19 crisis should spend this money in line with the Green Deal and the UN Sustainable Development Goals and finance projects which bring social benefits, such as water security projects, biodiversity and restoration projects.
We have prepared a video with an overview of the position paper. Watch now:Read More
Dear Water Europe family!
I hope this editorial finds you all well. We are faced with a new and unexplored situation and new challenges. When this is all over (hopefully soon) most of what we know today might be different. Challenges and the unexplored ought to be looked upon as, and converted into, opportunities.
In line with our commitment to always find innovative ways to provide value to our members and the water community, we have decided, after considering all alternatives, to move forward with an all-digital edition of our annual conference Water Innovation Europe (WIE).
The two-day Water Innovation Europe event you know will turn into an online ‘Innovative Water Week’ you can visit from the 22nd to the 26th of June 2020. Online plenary sessions, digital Working Group meetings, digital networking and digital exhibition opportunities will be our answer to maintaining everyone’s safety a top priority.
A digital Water Innovation Europe 2020 should overcome all possible travel limitations and still enable people to meet, gain new insights, debate and discuss, as we have done so successfully in past Water Innovation Europe conferences. Adapting this way to the COVID-19 crisis, we anticipate and expect to also shape a new digital identity for WE.
The COVID-19 crisis has made evident that the European Union and its Member States could be better prepared for cross-boundary and cross-sectoral crises. The WE position paper on the role of water in post-COVID-19 times has been released last week. Europe must be smart and requires a new societal paradigm in its reply. Europe must not only focus on curative solutions but also preventive ones to achieve a sustainable Europe which can be resilient through risk management, prevention and mitigation of crisis. The WE position paper pledges for a new paradigm towards a Water-Smart Society, from crisis management to risk management and prevention in Europe and beyond. It is an opportunity to reboot our economy quickly and maintain Europe united.
The development of a WE Water Vision Implementation 2020-2027 document that links the WE Water Vision with the European Green Deal, the SDGs, and Horizon Europe (HEU), is making progress. Consultation with our WE ambassadors is underway. Before finalising the document, an open public consultation is scheduled at the beginning of May. This new publication should see the light during the digital edition of WIE2020.
A new position paper has been also developed by the WE Working Group on Human Capital to bring the knowledge on the challenges and good practices of Human Capital in the European Water Sector (EJWP Report released last September) to the tables of policy-makers. The interview below with Naomi Timmer, leader of this Working Group extends on ‘Towards a water-related human capital agenda for the Green Deal’.
This month we are very glad to feature an editorial article by Tomislav Ćorić, Minister of Environment and Energy, sharing with us the key priorities of the Croatian Presidency, the role of water in achieving them, the importance of the European Green Deal and many other very important insights. Read the full article.
Let’s continue to give voice to water, let’s put digital to work, and stay all well!Read More
‘The water sector needs to respond to its changing profile’ says Naomi Timmer, leader of the Human Capital Working Group in her interview
Why is it important to have a new Working Group dedicated to the theme of ‘Human Capital’?
The world is changing rapidly. Now in extreme conditions like the COVID19 crisis, but also before we were hit by a pandemic, the water sector needs to respond to its changing profile, due to technical innovations, climate change and societal changes. ‘Things’ we cannot see, touch and can easily close our eyes for. The complexity of our world and our work is overwhelming. What does that mean for us as people working in the field? What does it mean for organizations?
Development of new knowledge and roles, creates new leadership and different leaders who will fit. Organizations and individuals need to adapt. It is vital for our role in the water sector to take up this role. To ensure a future-proof workforce for the water sector. A future where not only knowledge, but especially the capability to innovate, adapt and be flexible are important criteria. The WG HC wants to support and accelerate the innovative water sector with more knowledge and support for the role of human capital in the water sector. It will create Water Europe as an inclusive organization with a not only eye for the technical view of innovations but also room for the development of innovations to the human capital.
What are the main priorities of the Working Group?
For our first two years, we have two main priorities: Create more insight knowledge on the human capital agenda in the water sector and support and accelerate collaborations on practical programmes within the human capital agenda.
Creating insight knowledge on the human capital agenda in the European water sector is our first priority. We don’t only want to reach and find out what the current issues in human capital are but also create and share more knowledge on the future agenda. What will be the urgent matters in 5- 10 years? How can water organizations prepare and create opportunities? What is needed for the sector and what does future personnel need? And of course, the working group will provide help to the water sector in defining what it can do to work on this.
To support and accelerate collaborations and practical programmes, we will also support existing collaborations and practical programmes throughout Europe. Making the knowledge, tools and programmes that already is available accessible for the members of Water Europe. How to make it easier for organizations/ regions etc. to set and create their own practical human capital policy/ programme within the framework of a cooperative European human capital programme?
What are you currently working on and what are you expecting to deliver within the upcoming year?
To work on our first priority and raise awareness of the human factor of the work in the water sector, and what it means when you take it seriously. What are the challenges and good practices of human capital in the European Water Sector?
This question was given to the first group of EJWP participants who published this last September within the Working Group. Using this publication the WG created a workshop on human capital within the water sector and published last month also a position paper ‘Towards a water-related human capital agenda for the Green Deal’ . With these actions, we do not only try to create awareness with the water sector itself but also create opportunities for more support of human capital actions from European policies and programmes.
In the next phase of the Working Group, we will continue raising awareness of the human factor at a policy level, but also at a practical level during workshops at conferences (online and offline). For our second year, we already have some great new plans as well to make it more practical.
The WG aims to work on an Employer Branding guide, including a workshop for HR personnel. It also wants to look into the human capital needs of Water Europe members and set up training curricula. We also plan to open up all good practices and activities already being developed in a platform to support collaboration and accelerate existing and new initiatives. Finally, we will continue working on creating and sharing more knowledge of the Human Capital agenda for the water sector.Read More
We are excited to announce that our annual conference Water Innovation Europe (WIE) will turn into an all-digital edition from the 22nd to the 26th of June 2020. Water Europe will host a digital ‘Innovative Water Week’ with online plenary sessions, digital Working Group meetings, digital networking and exhibition opportunities.
Registrations are officially open. Click here to register now.
Applications Open for Water Innovation Awards 2020🏆
Explore the Digital Exhibition Opportunities
As scientists around the world race to create effective antivirals and vaccines in the fight against COVID-19, the international water community has likewise been looking at what the water sector can, and needs to, do.
This kind of global unpredictability, complexity, and the need for resilience – in terms of water availability, quality, management and sustainability – is at the core of IHE Delft’s 6th International Symposium on Knowledge and Capacity Development: From Capacity Development to Implementation Science, happening on the 27-29 May 2020.
Having taken the decision to go online some weeks ago, IHE Delft has created a platform, inviting up to 500 conference participants to meet online to discuss issues, such as the bridges and barriers to water capacity, the challenges of managing institutional change, managing conflict, using ‘big data’ and options for water financing.
During the event itself the keynote speakers will be delivering inspiring insights and available for live and offline Q&A, and the Track leads will host a mix of live and offline discussion around our eight key themes.
All participants will have an opportunity to contribute to the process of providing recommendations on the future agenda for water capacity implementation. The platform will help participants to organise and promote dedicated discussions of their own, by scheduling presentations to solicit feedback (by chat or small discussion groups) from an expert audience and other available options.
For more information, please visit the Symposium’s dedicated webpage.Read More
Water Europe is one of the undersigned organisations and businesses that stand with the 375,000 European citizens who have urged the EU governments and the European Commission to preserve the European Union’s groundbreaking Water Framework Directive in its current form, as advocated by the #Protectwater campaign. The Water Framework Directive is the key law to ensuring that freshwater ecosystems in Europe are protected and restored and water is sustainably managed, fully supporting the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals. This law has provided a stable regulatory framework and has encouraged collective water stewardship action in river basins across the EU.
Freshwater is a unique resource that is not only key to Europe’s stability, prosperity, and peace, but is also essential for businesses to operate and nature to thrive. The coronavirus pandemic has put a strain on many of our societies and activities, reinforcing, amongst other things, our utter dependence on our natural world, including water. As a hygienic element, an indispensable part of economic activity, and a primary element of our landscapes and ecosystems, water is a vital natural resource we need to protect and secure access for everyone.
The need to protect and restore freshwater ecosystems, the source of our water, and to seize the potential of sustainable and efficient management of water, has never been greater. There has been an alarming 83% decline in freshwater species since 1970 1, millions of people are at risk globally from water scarcity and pollution 2, and billions of euros are being lost by investors, companies and municipalities from water risks 3. Europe is not exempt from that trend: as an example, more than 10 million people live in areas at risk of extreme floods along the Rhine only, and the potential damage from floods in this region amounts to €165 billion 4.
The drought experienced in Europe last summer has shown how vulnerable our ecosystems, food systems and economic activities are to climate change. Floods, forest fires, water stress will only increase in the future, with large impacts on businesses as well. Only sound water management and protection and restoration of freshwater ecosystem can reduce those risks.
However, only 40% of European rivers, lakes, and wetlands are currently healthy and fully provide the ecosystem services we all depend on 5. Despite the efforts made by governments, businesses, and communities, a lot of work remains to be done in order to protect and restore all European waters by 2027 as mandated by the EU’s Water Framework Directive.
The EU water law offers significant opportunities for business ranging from world-leading innovation in water technology, to 26% of the EU’s value added generated by economic sectors that are highly dependent on water in sufficient quantity and/or quality. These same sectors also provide 44 million jobs 6.
Since the adoption of the Water Framework Directive in 2000, the EU has had a set of rules for the protection and promotion of sustainable water management of surface waters and groundwater. It has served as a stable regulatory framework that improves governance including for businesses, those that depend on clean water as those that need the social and environmental stability that healthy rivers provide. Because the directive distributes responsibilities among water users and promotes public and stakeholder involvement in water management, it has encouraged business mobilization around collective action in the river basins and engagement in water governance to deliver effective river basin planning and real improvements for the water environment. It has helped collect data on the situation of river basins across Europe which enable companies to better scope and plan their activities.
The governance model provided by the Water Framework Directive has inspired several countries beyond Europe, such as India and China, to adopt similar principles in their legislation. To maintain its credibility globally, the EU cannot weaken the current legal requirements and needs to ensure its objectives are met for the benefits of people and nature.
- WWF Living Planet
- World Bank
- European Commission
- European Environmental Agency
- European Commission Blue 2 study
New EC consultations launched on climate neutrality & public participation to achieve the Green Deal
Last month, the European Commission launched two online public consultations within the framework of the Green Deal. They aim to increase our ambitions to achieve an EU economy that is sustainable, cleaner, safer and healthier and rising, at the same time, the standards of climate by 2030 and hence to become climate-neutral by 2050 with the active participation of the citizens together with industry, civil society and authorities at all levels.
Water Europe is already working on the Climate Pact consultation with its W.E. Ambassadors to encourage active support from the European institutions in water-related Living Labs, as they are key tools at all levels to encourage broad participation and accelerate the creation and implementation of innovative solutions. It’s also an opportunity to invest in human capital and encourage citizens to get skills and knowledge on water through an active participation. The deadline to provide inputs is 27 May.