Successful visit to World Water Forum Indonesia

From 18 to 25 May, the World Water Forum took place in Indonesia. Dutch Water Authorities (DWA) and the Blue Deal attended the forum with a small delegation. Luzette Kroon, Chair of the Blue Deal Steering Committee, led the delegation. She closely coordinated her agenda with Meike van Ginneken, the Dutch Water Envoy. They participated in various sessions and made arrangements with (potential) new cooperation partners.

Luzette Kroon (in the middle with microphone) is presenting during a session with The Nature Conservancy

Kroon: “During the World Water Forum, the Netherlands was able to convey the necessity of joint action. Drought, extreme rainfall, and water pollution pose significant challenges worldwide. We have positioned ourselves with the Blue Deal programme, as a strong partner to address international water challenges.”

She continues: “We discussed the importance of cooperation across the entire water (supply) chain and sustainable financing for operation and maintenance. During various sessions, we also emphasised the importance of preventing pollution at the source, local implementation, and the execution of the Water Action Agenda (the outcome of the UN Water Conference last year). I look back on a successful forum.”

Blue Deal contributes to continuity of regional water management

We spoke with Blue Deal staff from the Palestinian Territories, South Africa, Peru, and Indonesia. They all emphasised how much the Blue Deal, often in combination with the WaterWorX programme of the Dutch drinking water companies, meant to them. The long-term relationship is considered crucial, and the substantive cooperation significantly contributes to the continuity of water management.

Improving and protecting watersheds

Regarding sustainable financing for management and maintenance, we have called for attention to climate-resilient watershed investments. These are investments aimed at improving and protecting watersheds to make them resilient to the effects of climate change, often in the form of nature-based solutions, such as reforestation and planting vegetation to prevent erosion and retain water. Recently, we entered into a collaboration in this area with The Nature Conservancy, VEI (WaterWorX), and NWB Fund. We officially announced this collaboration during the forum.

Potential cooperation with development banks

The delegation also met with the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Islamic Development Bank. These development banks aim to promote the economic development of Asian and Islamic countries. During the discussions, it became clear that the approach of climate-resilient watershed investments aligns well with their goals. Additionally, there is growing interest in investing more in water governance. The approach of the Dutch water authorities has also attracted the interest of the banks. The Blue Deal and the development banks will further discuss this during International Water Week in Stockholm at the end of August.

Compensating water footprint

During the UN Water Conference in 2023 in New York, Blue Deal was involved in the launch of the Water Footprint Compensation platform. During the World Water Forum, there was renewed attention for this. The Water Footprint concept aims for a ‘water-safe’ world where water users take responsibility for restoring a healthy water cycle. For example, companies that use a lot of water can compensate for their water footprint. This money can be used for investments in water-saving or restorative measures. This is actively pursued by the Blue Deal in the Palestinian Territories (with BluElephant) through a pilot. Discussions are also underway with Blue Deal South Africa. Additionally, there is significant potential within other Blue Deal partnerships.