Word of retrospect on 2013 from the Executive Director

- Growing network diversity and inspiring change

Dear IWA members and partners. Last month I visited the island of Gorée of the coast of the city of Dakar (Senegal). The island hosts the historic site where African slaves where brought together before they walked through ‘the door of no return’ and shipped to an unknown destination. Visiting the ‘House of Slaves’ reminded me of the disgrace of the very practice of slavery and the inhumane and terrible hygienic conditions in which these people were held. In a similar way, it is disgraceful today, at the end of 2013, that we still have billions of people around the world without safe water supply and sanitation.

To address this challenge, the IWA continued to promote the implementation of the Human Right to Water and Sanitation and achieving full access to water and sanitation throughout 2013. We have done so through initiating the development of an IWA handbook on the Right to Water and Sanitation for operators, providing practical guidance on how to implement ‘progressive realisation’ of the Right. We also provided input into the development of a global  “Sustainable Development Goal” around water and waste water treatment.

This is just one example of the many initiatives the IWA started during 2013. Looking back at 2013, our Association has witnessed a very successful and eventful year - we organized more than 50 events around the world connecting over 13,000 members and water professional peers from over 90 countries.

A major highlight was the 3rd IWA Development Congress and Exhibition (Nairobi, Kenya). Over 1000 participants and an extensive programme contributed to its success. Working closely with our Kenyan colleagues we demonstrated that the IWA truly is an association by its members for its members. The support of the Strategic Partners and engagement of key actors from the development sector, showed the growing interest in the approach that the IWA puts forward - bringing together the practice, technology and science communities around water solutions for development.

Throughout the year we extended the IWA Thematic Programmes and the IWA Clusters. We now have six programmes firmly in place focusing on: Water Supply Services; Water, Energy and Climate; Basins of the Future; Cities of the Future; Urban Sanitation and Capacity Assessment & Development. The existing three IWA Clusters developed their activities further. We also created a fourth IWA Cluster on Resource Recovery focusing on recovering resources from the water and waste water streams. All programmes and clusters have an increasing number of activities that are implemented around the world and globally, supported by our members, partners, sponsors and donors.

During 2013, we developed the engagement of the IWA at the regional level. For example, our Korean colleagues organized a very successful ASPIRE conference bringing more than 600 people from the Asia-Pacific region together. In China, we organized and supported 15 conferences and workshops. The interest of Chinese professionals to join the IWA became visible through an increase of the individual membership with more than 30% to over 400 members. In Africa, we created many training opportunities, developed the water services programme and organized the successful IWA Water Re-use Conference lead by the IWA Re-use Specialist Group and our members from Namibia. For the South and South East Asia & Pacific Region and the Danube-Eastern Europe region we successfully recruited two Regional Directors, respectively Ganesh Pangare and Florin Illiescu, that will take up their duties in the first quarter of 2014. During 2014, we will continue to strengthen the IWA support to regional initiatives and activities.

This will form an important dimension in the IWA 2014 - 2018 Strategic Plan, which we started to develop in the second half of the year. During the IWA Governing Assembly, the IWA Governing Member representatives had a first opportunity together with the Strategic Council members to provide input to the development of the strategy. The consultation will be extended to involve all the IWA members and partners in early 2014. At the Governing Assembly, the Governing Members also elected the new IWA President, Helmut Kroiss who will take up his duties after the IWA World Water Congress & Exhibition in Lisbon (September 2014).

With the arrival of our new Director - Communications and Engagement, Inge Wallage, we embarked upon an ambitious plan to develop the communication and engagement ability of the IWA. This to ensure we provide better services to our members, participants and partners and inspire change. The new on-line IWA Brand Toolkit is a first step to help the IWA members and partners to align better with the overall look and feel of the IWA by focusing on connecting people, innovating technology, pioneering science, and leading practise.

We look back at a very successful year. I want to thank you for being an active and engaged member, particpant and partner. Thanks to your continued contributions, the leadership provided by Glen Daigger - the IWA President -, an engaged Board of Directors, the support from our partners and a great IWA Staff team, we have made major steps towards an IWA that is innovating, inspiring and servicing the water profession at large.

Now, reflecting on this year’s accomplishments, it is clear to me that more than ever, we as water professionals need to be the driving force for change. Whether it is for access to water and sanitation, improving water safety or ending over abstractions, we owe it to the honour of our profession to end the disgraceful situations around the world. Let’s end with the small steps and embark on big steps to create a better water future.

I wish you all the best for the holiday season and a festive start of 2014, which I hope will be a successful year for you both personally and professionally.

Dr Ger Bergkamp
IWA Executive Director
kopia z originálu...
Dr Ger Bergkamp
executive director IWA
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