Within a few weeks, multiple large events around water challenges will take place in South Africa. The African Utility Week (AUW) – a global meeting place & conference for African power and water utility professionals – will be organized in Cape Town. In the same period, The Water Institute of South Africa (WISA) organizes a conference in Durban around the subject of water management. As an important partner of South Africa, the Kingdom of the Netherlands will participate in both events to co-create solutions for local challenges. Special Water Envoy Mr. Henk Ovink will play a central role in the Dutch participation and will attend both events to provide several keynote speeches to exchange knowledge between the partnering countries.
The key task of the Special Envoy for International Water Affairs involves economic diplomacy: as the ambassador for the Dutch water sector, Mr. Ovink is responsible for maintaining good relations with foreign governments, knowledge institutions, umbrella organisations, coordinating and representative bodies, the business community and civil society organisations. He establishes connections with the other relevant top sectors (energy, agriculture, the creative industry).
Mr. Ovink collaborates closely with Dutch Embassies and maintains direct contact with bilateral and multilateral actors such as the World Bank, the United Nations and the EU. Mr. Ovink attends international water meetings, if need be as a representative of the Ministers. Mr. Ovink has a long record of service in the business community, education and the government in the fields of spatial planning, water management and culture. Among other activities, he sits on the International Advisory Board of the city of Rotterdam, he teaches at Harvard GSD and he advises the Rockefeller Foundation regarding their approach to resilience and water safety.
During his keynote speeches, Mr. Ovink will zoom in on the significant water challenges faced by the food/agriculture, water and energy industry. The Netherlands has a specific niche expertise in water, and this expertise, its innovation and approach can be useful to tackle the water challenges faced by the food/agriculture, water and energy industry. By working together to translate this expertise, we can co-create solutions for these water challenges. During his keynote speech, he will present various case studies in which the Dutch integrated water management programme has been successful on the African continent.