Reaching out to the world

Water is essential for food, energy, health, industrial development, liveable cities, nature, biodiversity and the ecosystems around us. Access to safe water and sanitation is one of the cornerstones of our socio-economic development. 

Water is literally a matter of life and death. But the pressure on water is increasing rapidly. Major global developments such as population growth, intensive agriculture, urbanisation, industrial production, pollution and climate change are gradually surpassing the capacity of the earth’s natural ecosystem and are threatening global biodiversity. Poor, vulnerable and marginalised groups are disproportionately hit by these developments. This further exacerbates the already growing inequalities.

At the same time, water is the deal maker and the enabler to turn the tide for sustainable development for all. Understanding water’s complexity, valuing all aspects comprehensively of it and managing it inclusively makes water an inspirational leverage for impactful and catalytic change.

As the Special Envoy for International Water Affairs for the Kingdom of the Netherlands, my ambition is to connect these international challenges and opportunities to the Netherlands’ unique know-how, expertise and experience in water management. The Netherlands’ strength lies in its commitment to forming global coalitions and joint partnerships that bring relevant expertise together to address these international challenges and opportunities. We need inclusive and transparent long-term comprehensive plans to initiate transformative projects everywhere and at every scale. We need to improve understanding, build capacity and create an enabling environment. In order to achieve this you need  to collaborate and be inclusive, and this is why solidarity and partnerships are critically important. There is no time to waste if we want to achieve our SDGs and, in doing so, safeguard our planet and our future.  The Netherlands is reaching out to the world. We consider it our mission and responsibility to do everything we can towards inclusive and sustainable change.

It is time to act now, let’s join forces!

Henk Ovink

Special Envoy for International Water Affairs for the Kingdom of the Netherlands.