Over four days the Water and Development Congress & Exhibition has brought together 3,072 professionals from 82 countries of the global water community. New ideas were discussed and shared, new collaborations fostered, and new solutions to some of the greatest water, wastewater and sanitation challenges were identified.
“The challenge that the water sector and water professionals have set themselves this week is to turn those challenges and risks into an opportunity that delivers benefits well beyond the water sector – how we, as a sector, can drive the global agenda to meet the needs and expectations of billions of citizens by improving water availability, safety and security. This meeting has brought extra energy and focus to how we address the challenges, manage the risks and identify the opportunities”, said Kala Vairavamoorthy, IWA Executive Director.
We have been inspired by the vision for the transformation of water in Argentina outlined by Minister Rogelio Frigerio and Under Secretary Pablo Bereciatura. Guang Chen from the World Bank argued that business as usual was not an option if we were to achieve universal access to water and sanitation and established the scale of what lies ahead – we need to find US$114 billion per year to reach those goals;
Professor Barbara Evans, IWA Development Award for Water Research, reminded us to be people focused not infrastructure obsessed when working to deliver solutions to the massive gaps in sanitation provision around the world; and Marco Antonio Cevallos, IWA Development Award for Water Practice set the example for how management vision can lead water utilities in emerging economies to deliver vastly improved services, even to the poorest in society.
Eleanor Allen from Water for All, asked us to explore innovative financing mechanisms to meet the huge investment needed to reach the SDGs, and to seek out non-traditional ways of funding water and sanitation for all; The renowned economist Jeffrey Sachs introduced 3Ts: Trade Resources; Transform Water for Safe Use; and Traits of crops resistant to drought; and 3Fs Finance, Fairness and Funding; And from South Africa, Dhesigen Naidoo highlighted that dealing with climate change and global water risks requires us to relate the SDGs to the global economy, and introduced us to the Climate Change Grief Cycle.
We saw a shared vision of the future from three Young Water Leaders who proposed new ways of achieving business and governance resilience: we need forward looking solutions but should also get inspiration from traditional methods, from Public-private partnership models to thinking a hundred years ahead our infrastructure finance models.
With over 100 exhibitors, including country and thematic pavilions, the exhibition again proved to be a valuable networking place in the Congress, where exhibitors and delegates exchanged solutions and innovations to inspire global change. The exhibition presented a full picture of the global water sector: water utilities, governments, consultants, contractors, and technology providers presented their contribution to sustainable solutions in emerging economies globally.
The Water and Development Congress & Exhibition was organized by the International Water Association in partnership with Argentina´s Ministry of Internal Affairs, Public Works and Housing – Secretary of Water Resources, through Agua y Saneamientos Argentinos S.A. (AySA) and the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB); with the support of Sponsorship from Newcom; Coca-Cola – Argentina; Ghella; Serviur; Veolia; Bridge Hydrogen Argentina; Ecopreneur; Plastiferro; Salini Impregilio; Van Oord; Hobas; Superlit.
A short impression of the exhibition: