Shaping an EU Water-Smart society for global leadership
Water Innovation Europe 2021 closed its successful edition on June 18, engaging over 6.700 online viewers across its five-day programme held under the theme “EU Water-Smart Society for global leadership.” Each day of the event brought together water experts from businesses, industries and governments with the objective to discuss and unfold water opportunities while exploring strategies to upscale the EU Water-Smart Society on a global level. Our five keynote speakers of the event stressed out the role of the innovative water community to develop a green and digital water sector. What were their key messages? Let’s recap.
From the European perspective, Virginijus Sinkevičius, the European Commissioner for Environment, Oceans and Fisheries, revealed to us how the European Commission is working on several water-related actions under the EU Green Deal and digitalisation of Europe. These key actions underlie our international effort to: achieve an EU Water-Smart Society while helping to reduce emissions of planet-warming greenhouse, as stated in the Paris agreement. Inês dos Santos Costa, the Secretary of State for the Environment, affirmed in her speech that “To achieve the Paris agreement objective, we must reduce the abstraction and consumption of raw material and energy; reconsider our development model with welfare and prosperity for all within the limits of our planets. We need a fair, decarbonised and circular model. It depends on how we value of resource such as water.”
The event featured 5 sessions and 10 side events, enabling participants to have a comprehensive and multi-sectorial conversation about future water opportunities (digitalization, collaboration, data sharing) and existing challenges investment, youth participation, integrated systems). As the President of the Global Water Council, Mr. Fauchon, said “Water knows no borders and we need to mobilise at all levels for managing water smartly. Governance, finance and innovation are key to tackle global water challenges.”
Collaboration is one of the vehicles to equalize water innovations across the EU. New technologies should be shared and commonly used by bringing people together, sharing information, and adopting new solutions.
How can we boost water innovations, starting from a local level? What we learnt at WIE2021 is that small municipalities can make the difference. For this reason, two Mayors, Vahap Seçer and Alexander Vandersmissen representing the cities of Mersin and Mechelen, respectively took the floor to demonstrate their local contribution during the event. Vahap Seçer and Alexander Vandersmissen, didn’t only share their common concerns around the climate issues but they also inspired us with their ambitious actions.
All the speakers of the event unanimously highlighted that we cannot limit innovation to technology, we must also consider finance and governance. We need political will to turn water issues into global and local political priorities.
Did you miss any Water Innovation Europe 2021 session? Find them all here