Prince Willem Alexander, an alumnus of the course of 1998, highlighted the need to have well-educated professionals to change the world’s water future. “It cannot be denied that this need has grown in the past fifty years, and will continue to grow.
After all, the field is becoming increasingly complex, because the various interests at stake – water, food production, energy and ecosystems – impact much more directly on each other”, said HRH.
See full speech at www.koninklijkhuis.nl
The celebration ceremony was the wind-up of the 3-day symposium “Water for a Changing World: Enhancing local capacity”, where experts from 36 countries discussed the necessary actions needed to implement change in the development of the water and sanitation sectors.
The symposium came up with a set of recommendations which include:
Local actors need to participate as partners, not as “beneficiaries” who only “receive” pre-determined solutions;
Local knowledge should be incorporated and leadership promoted;
Education and training are crucial at the post-graduate level, but also at primary and secondary levels, as many children in developing countries don’t make it to tertiary education;
Better communication with policy makers and society is crucial;
Awareness needs to be increased about urgency of problems
Everybody should be involved to ensure coordination and integration
Appropriate solutions are best developed by the South.
These recommendations were commented on by a high -evel panel that included the HRH, Prince Willem-Alexander of Orange, who is an alumnus of UNESCO-IHE:
His Royal Highness The Prince of Orange, Chairman of the UN Secretary-General's Advisory Board on Water and Sanitation:
“Having being raised by parents who lived during the Second World War, and a father who lived in Africa for some years, I could say that water is in my genes. As a child, I remember being educated about the importance of water. Education, especially at an early age, is very important.
Hon. Maria Mutagamba, Minister of State for Water of Uganda and Former Chair of the African Ministers' Council on Water:
”I used to visit a pond close to Lake Victoria years ago, where women collected water. That pond has dried up. So it is not any more about reaching the Millennium Development Goals in 2015. We need to act now upon the obvious and increasing problems”.
Mr Roestam Sjarief, Secretary General, Ministry of Public Works of Indonesia:
“Institutions need to be accommodated and prepared for change. At the same time, institutions need to be connected to society”.
Mr. Kyul Ho Kwak, President of K-Water, Former Minister of the Environment, South Korea:
“Participation of all players is essential. None agenda can be reached without everybody’s involvement. As an alumnus of UNESCO-IHE, I know the Institute can play a role in capacity development and in bringing partners together. I hope UNESCO-IHE will keep counting on the full support of the Dutch Government and UNESCO”.
Prof. Lidia Brito, Professor E. Mondlane University, Former Minister of Science and Technology of Mozambique:
“Countries like Mozambique need many qualified professionals who can lead processes, you can’t separate process from people”
Dr. Loïc Fauchon, President of the World Water Council:
”There is no innovation without respect for tradition. Transfer of knowledge needs to be assessed. It needs to shift the focus from building infrastructure to primarily ensuring operation and maintenance”.
Mr. Jacques Labre, Vice-President of SUEZ:
”Private companies are accountable because they are under contracts. “Contractualization” is a powerful tool to ensure accountability, and public utilities should operate in this framework. Whether run by public or private utilities, the water supply utilities and the local authorities should share responsibility to provide quality water to its citizens”.
Mr. Wouter T. Lincklaen Arriëns, Lead Water Resources Specialist, Asian Development Bank:
“It is not about adding up money. We need to do more, but we also need to do it better. It is about investing in human and institutional capacity. We need to assess capacity and review what has been done in the past years and learn from successful and failing experiences. For every dollar invested in infrastructure, 70 cents should be invested in capacity development. That is what successful countries in Asia have done over the past six decades, and the results are evident. ”
Mr. Ng Han Tong, Managing Director, Singapore Utilities International, Singapore Public Utilities Board:
“Singapore made amazing progresses in water supply and sanitation in the past two decades that brought up the world’s admiration. This happened with a good combination of leadership, water prize management and appropriate technologies”.