In the AIWW2021 Online Conference closing ceremony, all the ideas, experiences and initiatives discussed during AIWW2021 and shared in the different sessions were wrapped up. Journalist Ikenna Azuike, who hosted the ceremony, listed a few inspiring sessions brought to the online stage: “AIWW2021 organised 30 events over the last 2 days, witnessed by water professionals and leaders from 51 nationalities. The list of cases and insights presented is impressive and in short we can conclude: we have a blueprint for further action.”
Sarphati Sanitation Challenge: The Winner
After opening the session, Azuike invited Cheryl Hicks, the senior advisor for the United Nations Global Compact’s CEO Water Mandate on water, sanitation and hygiene, to the stage, announcing the winner of the Sarphati Sanitation Challenge: AKYAS.
AKYAS innovated a new faecal sludge management value chain for non-sewered sanitation systems. Their solution aims to provide safe sanitation at low cost, recover resources from human waste in a hygienic, user-friendly approach, and prevent cross-contamination between human waste and the surrounding environment. AKYAS products generate additional financial flow at the back end of the service chain, by tapping into resource recovery from waste-derived products, such as organic fertiliser.
Discussion: How fast can we act?
In a short discussion, Azuike asked panel members Veronica Manfredi and Alain Cracau how fast we can act.
Manfredi was very clear in her answer: “Fast! We have 33 actions planned between 2022-2024, pushing city leaders. Our zero pollution ambition gives a clear signal for the long term goals. We expect a great change in thinking and action.”
Alain Cracau added: “Water is underestimated and an undervaluated asset. Water is a risk and a cost. Through increasing risks, investments in water are necessary and viable.”
Cheryl Hicks assured: “We can value water much better today than in the past. There are many innovations, we have more knowledge, know how to use digital tech to lower the cost and to provide more value back into environment wilst creating new value streams. AS UN, we need to clear in setting new expectations, so the society knows what to expect.”
In conclusion, the Mayor of Rotterdam, Ahmed Aboutaleb, presented his inspirational speech, stressing out that investments in water are not only investments in water, but investments in quality and life. “We have to adapt to mother nature and we need collaboration with our citizens. We have no choice.”
Next: AIWW In-Person Conference
As from tomorrow, November 3, we continue with our in-person sessions and Integrated leaders Forum. Finally, we can meet, mix and match in-person again. With a clear message: we have to intensify our actions and work together. As Aboutaleb said: we have no choice.
A few of the many highlights of Day 2
Kees van der Lugt, Programme Director of AIWW, shares a few of his highlights of AIWW2021 Online Conference, Day 2: “Today started early CET, with inspiring sessions for the Asian region and in-depth Innovation & Research sessions. Interesting solutions were presented at the Treatment & Monitoring session, contributing to our climate challenge with reduction of N2O (6% of greenhouse gasses) at waste water treatment plants with real time operational control. The session Agrifood & Water shared scalable solutions, like the vertical farming stack up and smart innovations as iFlux sensing (r)evolution, sampling 95% of all industrial pollution in ground water.
The plenary session ‘From dissociated approaches to integrated practices’ underlined the need for not just technical solutions. One of the take-aways was that we need an inclusive approach to breakthrough the silos; an inclusive approach focused on community engagement, project- and commissioning development, needing openness and trust for integrated results.
The session about the Afsluitdijk made clear that reinforcing infrastructure to cope with sealevel rising is not only about the used bermblocks but also about redesigning with room for stimulating marine life through and integrate a bike path in the dike. And that you can decrease your CO2 footprint with 56% if you use the right innovative bermblocks. The new predictions from even 5 meters of sealevel rising makes the need clear for very ambitious breaking decisions and agreements at COP26.”
AIWW2021 Online Conference Closing Ceremony