Water, from risk to reward - in a transformative way
Global urbanization provides many opportunities for growth, prosperity, innovation, emancipation, equality and prosperity. At the same time, rapid population growth and the increasing disastrous impact of climate change threaten our cities and landscapes, ecology and citizens, our society. Our current use of raw materials is unsustainable, and its combined effect with climate change is disastrous. Water is at the heart of these crises, at the heart of that uncertain future. Floods and droughts, contamination and water conflicts are linked worldwide to rapid urbanization, the growing demand for energy and food, and the pressures of migration and climate change. The combination of all this is lethal and disruptive to man and planet. But this also goes the other way around: a better understanding of these complex risks, interdependencies and impacts provides insight into pathways forward, real solutions with transformative capacity. Water is then the inspiration, the source and the lever for change, with key interventions, on every scale across all interests. From risk to reward, with real added value for all.
And it is on us, we are the ones that have the capacity, the understanding and capability. Never were we in a better place; we see the urgency and can identify the opportunities and potential solutions. And we have all means at our hands to act upon our knowledge and understanding. Wicked problems can only be met with inclusive approaches, by collaboration in strong coalitions. With partners on every scale and from every discipline, background and representation. We have no time to waste, lets work on this together. Now!
Henk WJ Ovink
Special Envoy for International Water Affairs, Kingdom of The Netherlands Sherpa to the UN/WB High Level Panel on Water