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World Water Day in The Hague

Published on: 25/03/2016

On Thursday 24 March 2016, a Dutch celebration of World Water Day 2016 was held in the Nieuwe Kerk in The Hague. As an initiative of Aqua for All and Netherlands Water Partnership, the Dutch water sector gathered in the beautiful old church to discuss this year's theme: water and jobs.

World Water Day in the Nieuw Kerk, The Hague, The Netherlands

World Water Day is an annual event celebrated on March 22. The day focuses attention on the importance of fresh water and advocates for the sustainable management of freshwater resources.

To celebrate World Water Day in The Netherlands, the Dutch water sector gathered to discuss different perspectives that call for sustainable solutions to the world's future.

Different parties presented their views, including the City of The Hague, Plan Netherlands, Vitens International, Dutch Water Authorities, Empower People, Skills Town, Arcadis, Foundation for Water Education, National Water Traineeship, and Young Expert Programme.

Water is essential

Water is still of utmost importance. 1,5 billion people work in water-related sectors. Water is a challenging subject that cannot be separated from the new global development agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Water is an important precondition for economic development. Not only seen from the health aspect but also from the aspect of sufficient human resources in the water sector. It is a pillar of sustainable development and the implementation of the decent work agenda.

Key speaker Henk Ovink, Special Envoy for International Water Affairs at Kingdom of the Netherlands, explained that water is central in many current conflicts, and is often a determining factor in crises. "Water is one goal in the Sustainable Development Goals, but it is part of all the other goals as well. If we want to reach the SDG's in 2030, we can start by calling on governments and corporate business to improve their policy in their own backyard, at home. If everyone puts their own house in order, we can make a big step," he said.

Speaker Karsten Klein from the The Hague City Hall said partnerships are key. "The city of The Hague works closely with partners in India. They are not looking for help, but for partnerships."

Monitoring data can help us prevent problems in the future 

Second keyspeaker of the day, Birgitta Kramer from Vitens, speaks of making water services sustainable using smart solutions. She says we need people in the sector that are able to face the challenges of the near future, including climate change, population growth, and ICT. She mentions the importance of monitoring throughout the world – data is essential to track problems and find sustainable solutions. "Data can even help prevent such problems in the future," she says.

As one of the highlights of World Water Day in the Netherlands, was the annual 'Walking for Water'. In 2015, 36.500 students in 11 countries walked on World Water Day and raised €1.3m for 34 projects in Africa and Asia. On the Dutch celebration of World Water Day 2016, the organisers of 'Walking for Water' announced that Walking for Water raised over one million euro's this year to improve access to water for children all over the world.