Dutch Water Ambassador and Former Water Advisor to Obama Is Keynote Speaker at SIWW

“Climate resilience is becoming of essential importance to cities. Ninety percent of the world’s disasters are related to water and they will become more frequent and severe in the future. Governments should not just react to events, but be prepared for them,” according to Henk Ovink. As the former senior advisor to President Obama’s Hurricane Sandy Rebuilding Taskforce, Ovink is one of the key-note speakers during the Singapore International Water Week and World Cities Summit. Between the 10th and 14th July 2016, Ovink will speak at multiple occasions. His goal is to advocate water issues around the world, with a focus on building institutional capacity and coalitions between governments, multilateral organizations, the private sector and NGOs in order to address the world’s pressing water needs, and get to innovative solutions.

Building Resilient Cities
“Worldwide, water is a connecting issue, the number one global risk and an opportunity for comprehensive cultural change,” says Ovink. As at present the Special Envoy for International Water Affairs for the Netherlands, Ovink knows resilience is about being prepared and being able to deal with uncertainty. He developed and led the reconstruction of the New York and New Jersey region after floods and developed the   by Design contest, designated by CNN as the most innovative idea in 2013. During the World Cities Summit, Ovink will share his expertise on ‘Building Resilient Cities and Communities’.

Singapore & the Netherlands
The Dutch are the world’s experts on keeping the water at bay. With 55 percent of the Netherlands prone to flooding or below sea-level and two-thirds of GDP at risk from water, they have to be. To obtain such expertise collaboration is essential. Both the Netherlands and Singapore are highly urbanized countries, dealing with limited resources and limited space. They both have extensive coastlines, inland waterways and world-class export. In addition, Singapore and the Netherlands face challenges in dealing with the effects of urbanization and climate change. Nonetheless, both countries are in the top ten of the Global Innovation Index. “In their unique ways, Singapore and the Netherlands have been leading in water innovation. Singaporean and Dutch experts have the ability to jointly generate a crucial push towards
resilience in the ASEAN region,” says Ovink.

Singapore International Water Week
From the 10th until the 14th of July 2016, the Singapore International Water Week will be hosted again in Singapore. This event will take place in conjunction with the World City Summit and the CleanEnviro Summit. During the Water Leaders Summit, global water industry leaders, government regulators and policy makers meet to discuss pressing water issues. This year the focus lies on water in the urban context and key issues such as water accessibility, sustainability and resilience are discussed. Henk Ovink will take part in the Water Leaders
Summit, Young Water Leaders Summit, ABCWaters Seminar, Clean Environment Regulators Roundtable and WCS Session about Strengthening the Physical City.