Hans Goossens, President’s Editorial, October 2022
Dear Water Europe friends,
A very successful edition of Water Knowledge Europe concluded last week. This event brought a great vibe with participants meeting again in person, for some of them even for the first time, after all the online meetings of the last years. Networking, discussing, and all the event’s activities undoubtedly strengthened our relations. Even if we strongly believe in the importance of digital and hybrid meetings, we could clearly experience that they are not a replacement for physical meetings but only a complementary way to work together.
Our Working Groups meetings also took place in Brussels, and it was great to see people sitting together and advancing their work. These physical meetings gave a boost to the Working Groups’ developments and outputs. We observed a good interrelation between the different Working groups by exchanging of ideas, developing of synergies, and co-creating on all fronts.
This year, we also organised the Ambassadors Summit, the day before WKE2022, to create awareness of the significance of our ambassadors’ role. One of their strengths is that they come from different backgrounds, roles and expertise, bringing so much value to our everyday function. This summit served to acknowledge their important contribution to our mission, to listen to their needs, and to gather their insights on our programmes’ work.
Another important element that this edition of Water Knowledge Europe brought forward is the value of diversity and gender integration in research and innovation. The workshop organised on the topic was very insightful. We are living in a diverse world, and diversity is crucial from a small team to a big organisation. The strongest teams are those where the members complement each other and bring together differences is in gender, age, religion, culture. Still today, there is a long way to go to reach global gender equality (SDG N°5); water availability plays an important role here and can contribute to realising it. Every day in Africa, women dedicate hours, sacrificing their education and jobs, to collect water for their families. This example underlines the role that water has in our lives and how much is linked to all aspects of our society.
I would like to close this editorial with the great news that Water Europe has received official accreditation for its participation to the UN Water Conference 2023, happening in March 2023 in New York. This is a strong recognition for us and our members. It’s also a responsibility and opportunity to make the most out of this accreditation and our presence there. For this, we have already started working diligently to prepare our contribution for this important occasion!