Tomas Michel, Water Europe President Editorial – April 2020
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!