WE President editorial March 2020
Dear Water Europe friends,
We are in the midst of a global pandemic that affects us all and makes all other topics look of minor importance. Still though, while we are all in the same boat, it’s crucial to continue our work undaunted to emerge through these challenging times with the minimal impact possible.
To adjust to the demands of social distancing and reduce the speed and impact of the virus, the Water Europe board unanimously decided to cancel all WE events in the period March‐May, including Water Market Europe 2020, International Water Dialogues Days 2020 and to re‐evaluate the situation regarding Water Innovation Europe 2020 by the 7th of April. In the meantime, the Water Europe staff is working remotely since the 16th of March. Through digital tools that allow the team to connect, exchange and support members, Water Europe’s activities go on normally, enabling us to keep our services at their highest level and implement effectively our strategy the next period of time.
On the 18th of March, the WE Board met online to welcome 9 new members and discuss amongst others the new WE position paper on a Water-related Human Capital for the European Green Deal, the European Water Alliance manifesto on building a European Water-Smart Society and Circular Economy that will be used to convince different European Commissioners of the importance of water for their portfolios. Next day, the WE WGs moved ahead with their scheduled meetings via teleconference. A special thanks goes to all our Working Group leaders for demonstrating, once again, their resilience and commitment, with their excellent preparatory work and high-level discussions during the meetings.
Same time, we are also going ahead with the preparations of our new publication that will match the WE Water Vision with the European Green Deal, the SDGs, and Horizon Europe (HEU). This is a key publication as it will form the basis for the WE advocacy for water in the HEU work programmes for the next 7 years. In the context of our International Water Dialogues programme, now, Water Europe is strengthening its collaboration with the World Water Council, after receiving the WWC governors at the Water Europe premises last February. We foresee many interesting activities coming up, so stay tuned!
This March was very different from anything we experienced before but there has been one day that calls for everyone’s attention. On the 22nd of March, we celebrated the World Water Day which was dedicated this year to ‘Water and Climate Change’. We cannot afford to experience all the effects of climate change before we realise the value of water for our society and economy. Science, applied research and on the ground solutions and technologies are necessary to increase water efficiency and to make our cities resilient against climate change events.
The UN World Water Report 2020 released that day encourages Europe’s approach within the framework of the European Green Deal and clearly shows that Water Europe is on the right track fostering a holistic approach of the sector by gathering the full value-chain in its activities to achieve the transition to a Water Smart Society. Even stuck in our homes, in the middle of this crisis, we can still do the groundwork for this vital transition. This is the silver lining we can all focus on, as everyone has a role to play here.
Please stay safe and healthy and while socially distancing, let’s all remain connected!