Hans Goossens, President’s Editorial, December 2023


2023 was a year full of uncertainties. Uncertainties in terms of geopolitical stability with major military incidents taking place at the gates of Europe, in terms of weather and climate instability with floods and climate-related disasters, such as the Amazon facing its worst drought ever, and in terms of an economy flirting with a looming recession. Amidst such challenges, it is crucial to remind ourselves that it’s during these uncertain times that people work together and make collective decisions that can alter our resilience for the challenges faced.

This is what we have been doing in the water sector throughout the year, with Water Europe and our community undertaking a series of collective actions for building a Water-Smart Society. 2023 started with our preparations and participation in the UN2023 Water Conference, the first in 47 years, and the launch of our updated WE Vision for a Water-Smart Society.  We continued the path by the launch of the call for an EU Blue Deal, and concluded with our active engagement in COP28 where we positioned water at the centre of the discussions for climate change.

Europe is taking the lead in a green transition towards a sustainable society.  We need to recognize water as a key element in the green transition – there is no green without blue. All signals point out that this generation has the opportunity and the duty to adopt a different way of living. This is a legacy we should actively pursue, and now,  there are realms of opportunities. With the European elections coming up, with the new Water Resilience Initiative of the European Commission, and with a water conference already being arranged by Belgium taking over the Presidency of the EU Council, we have the tools in our hands to shape the next steps that will lead to a Water-Smart Society.

In the end, as water professionals, our daily efforts in laying the foundation for a Water-Smart Society, contribute to more peace and harmony in our communities and society, as a whole. That’s why I do think of water professionals as peace makers. Let’s uphold this commitment in 2024, as well. I look forward to collaborating with you in the next year, and in the meantime, I am sending you my best wishes for a peaceful Christmas period, and a Happy New Year!


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