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Water Conference: Speeding up to a water resilient Europe. Towards an EU water resilience agenda

Mar 12, 2024
Water resilience is a critical concern within the EU, with countries and regions having to deal with drought, water scarcity, and increasingly severe floods. During the Belgian Presidency of the EU Council, this 1-day conference provided valuable perspectives and insights on water resilience in Europe.

The Water Conference featured presentations and in-depth panel discussions covering:

  • Opening speech by Mrs. Florika Fink-Hooijer, Director-General of the Environment Department of the European Commission
  • Key-note speech by Prof. Patrick Willems, professor on water engineering at KU Leuven: ‘Changing risks of hydrological extremes’
  • Outline the future towards a water resilient Europe!
    searching for accelerators at EU level and at regional level
    • Flemish government - Mrs. Zuhal Demir, Minister of Justice & Enforcement Environment, Energy, and Tourism
    • European Economic and Social Committee - Pietro Francesco De Lotto, President of the Consultative Commission on Industrial Change (CCMI) of the European Economic and Social Committee
    • European Committee of the Regions - Karl Vanlouwe, rapporteur EU Blue Deal European Committee of the Regions
    • Italian Region Emilia-Romagna - Aki Ishiwa, Policy officer
  • Panel discussion: Evidence based pathways to a water resilient Europe: actionable knowledge for decision makers
    • A preview on the State of Water 2024 report (European Environmental Agency)
    • VITO / VLAKWA - Dirk Halet, Strategic Coordinator at VLAKWA & Chair Research and Development Platform at Commission Integrated Water Management Flanders
    • Water Europe  - Hans Goossens, President Water Europe
    • BOSAQ  - Jacob Bosaer, CEO Bosaq
    • Ragn-Sells Group  -Pär Larshans, Chief Sustainability Officer
  • Towards a water smart society: a discussion amongst Europe’s most prominent water stakeholders
    • Europe Water Association - Wendy Francken, President
    • SUMAQUA - Vincent Wolfs, general manager and business developer
    • SWECO -Isabel Putseys, CSO & Expert Climate & Water planning
    • Water Coalition / Living Rivers Europe - Claire Baffert, Senior water Policy Officer - WWF European Policy Office
  • Closing remarks by Mr. Bernard De Potter, Water Director Flanders: Water resilience in a transboundary context
Afternoon events
  • Boots on the ground: site visits to demonstration projects on water resilience
    • Water in the City
    • AB INBEV
    • JustNATUREproject
    • Smart Water Control on Campus Arenberg
    • Restoring wetlands: Mechels Broek

 A joint organization by Watercircle, Vlakwa, European Water Association, Minaraad en Vleva.



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