Deltas in times of Climate Change Conference: ideal occasion for UDW

30 September 2014

The NWO-WOTRO programme ’Urbanising deltas of the world’ (UDW) organised two sessions at the Deltas in Times of Climate Change II conference. The Rotterdam conference was a perfect occasion to present the seven new UDW projects and also to link the vast audience of delta practitioners, researchers and policy makers to start maximising the impact of UDW.

The conference was held in Rotterdam in the last week of September 2014, sessions were led by Professor Huub Savenije, chair of the UDW Steering Committee. At the end of the second session, Professor Isa Baud was introduced as the new chair of the UDW Steering Committee.

Session 1: 'How Science and Practice meet and feed each other to develop new delta management approaches'

Researchers from UDW-I projects at 23 September 2014Researchers from UDW-I projects at 23 September 2014

The session presented the seven research projects of the first UDW call for proposals. In short pitches, presenters elaborated on the issues that need to be addressed in the deltas concerning water and food security, adaptation to climate change and vulnerability to natural disasters, as well as governance and migration policies. Referring to their specific backgrounds, the speakers highlighted their perspectives on delta development, and how and where research should come in. The discussion showed that the complexity of these issues requires an integrated scientific approach focusing on developing sustainable delta and urban development policies, and enhancing the capacity and resilience of the poor and marginalised. It is now up to the UDW projects to put this into practice. Progress will be shared on the UDW website.

Researchers, policy makers and business representatives from UDW and related projects, discussed what role science should play in three rapidly changing deltas - Mekong, the Netherlands, Bangladesh - and ultimately, in deltas all over the world. They urged UDW researchers to actively feed their socio-technological knowledge into policy making processes and the implementation of strategic delta planning. Huub Savenije concluded this session by announcing that this is exactly what the UDW programme aims to do!

Session 2: 'Urbanising Deltas of the World: Launch second Call for proposals'

Cover flyer UDW-II: Invitation for Expressions of InterestFlyer UDW-II

In the second session, UDW presented the framework for UDW-II and invited relevant parties to join the process of formulating a new call for proposals by submitting an Expression of Interest. Based on these Expressions of Interest, UDW will organise road shows: meetings on location with the double purpose of developing your ideas with potential partners and specifying the call for proposals.

Maarten Gischler, UDW steering group member on behalf of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands, underlined the need for the involvement of business partners to face the many challenges of rapidly urbanising deltas in developing countries. He mentioned that either the vulnerable people in these areas are ‘shovelled away by shovels or shovelled away by floods’, and science and business need to find out how and where they can collaborate.

Kees Slingerland, member of the Export and Promotion team of the Topsector Water, stated that water is an economic force and therefore business. He stated that the main challenge for UDW-II to come to innovative solutions is to attract surprising private companies. In the discussion that followed, the audience shared useful tips for the Call formulation, which will be explored in more details over the next two months.

More information on the bottom-up process of call formulation is available on the invitation for expressions of interest web page.

Source: NWO