Integral – Inclusive – Innovative: using Water as Leverage

World Urban Forum

Water as Leverage / City Water Resilience Approach Date: Wednesday 12 February 2020 Time: 12.30-13.30 (local time) Location: Hall 2, Room Number 1

An international collaborative approach for local climate adaptation action – examples from India, Indonesia & Bangladesh.

At this year’s World Urban Forum, The Resilience Shift will be sharing a platform with the Water as Leverage for Resilient Cities Asiaprogramme, initiated by the Netherlands government to talk about innovative solutions to the challenges of urban water resilience.

So what is Water as Leverage? We asked them to tell us their story.

The story started with the urgency and notion that the climate crisis is a water crisis. Climate change induced floods, droughts, pollution, famine, disease and conflict are all related to water, and combined with rapid and unplanned urbanization can result in not only catastrophic events, but threats to life and livelihoods on Earth.

According to Henk Ovink, Special Envoy for International Water Affairs of the Netherlands and co-founder of Water as Leverage: ‘Worldwide, water is the connecting challenge, the number one global risk and the opportunity for transformative and sustainable impact and comprehensive cultural change. Therefore we need to start understanding the challenges and identify the opportunities that will help build resilient cities through a systematic approach, in all its complexities.’

In order to better plan and organize around water in cities, Water as Leverage for Resilient Cities Asia (WaL) is an inaugural effort to bridge innovative financing, inclusive design, and government collaboration in the development and implementation of projects that mitigate the impacts and adapt to the effects of climate change.

Dennis van Peppen, Lead Water Programmes at Netherlands Enterprise Agency, said, “Safeguarding the water we have in the supplies we need is a formidable task. But it also an opportunity: an opportunity to use water as leverage to improve our ecosystems, grow our economies, boost agricultural efficiencies, and tackle inequity.”

International financial institutions as well as local, regional, and national governments, local communities, NGOs, and private sector firms, were involved in the embryonic stages of the programme, contributing to multidisciplinary teams’ initial analyses of systemic risks and unique opportunities in three cities in Asia.

Chennai (India), Semarang (Indonesia), and Khulna (Bangladesh) have provided a fertile testing ground for sowing the seeds of WaL that aims to balance long-term comprehensive urban planning with short-term innovative transformations and ambitious climate adaptation and mitigation plans with bankable projects that set a precedent for integrative design, financing, and governance in Asian cities that can be scaled up and replicated in regions worldwide.

Over the coming year, in partnership with the Global Center on Adaptation’s Year of Action, WaL will mobilise political, technical and financial support to start the implementation of these innovative, climate-resilient and scalable solutions.

Water as Leverage are partnering with The Resilience Shift to host the World Urban Forum Side Event Session:

Climate Action: Accelerating Urban Water Resilience in Asia, Africa and beyond: two approaches in theory and in practice:

For more information: please follow us on twitter @waterasleverage or visit our website: