Water as Leverage in 2019: from speed date to real date - full speed ahead!

*Blind dating, speed dating and real dating? These terms were used during the first regional ‘Water as leverage’ workshop in Singapore on 6 and 7 December 2018. Goal of the workshop was to test drive transformative, inclusive and integrated conceptual designs with the international financial sector. * The teams pitched their conceptual designs which include proposed interventions to tackle the water, urban and climate challenges in Chennai, Khulna and Semarang to the financial sector, the cities of Semarang, Chennai and Khulna and the Advisory Board Water as Leverage. Several WaL-stakeholders were present, such as WWF, UN-Habitat, International Architecture Biennale Rotterdam, Architecture Workroom Brussels, OECD and 100 Resilient Cities, with input of Partners for Resilience and the Global Centre on Adaptation and from the financial sector: the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), the Dutch Development bank FMO, the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank, the Islamic Development Bank and the Green Climate Fund. This led to even more positive energy than expected and resulted in the will to cooperate more closely in the next phase of the Water as Leverage for Resilient Cities Asia programme.

Start and finalisation phase 1 in 2018 This summer, over 35 proposals focusing on Resilient Cities in Asia were received for the first edition of Water as Leverage from which 6 proposals were selected. The programme kicked off in September and October with the first local design workshop in the cities of Semarang, Chennai and Khulna. Prior to this regional workshop, the second round of local designs workshops in the three cities were held during which the teams presented their conceptual designs and discussed, verified and clarified these with local stakeholders. The feedback and new insights collected at the local workshops, were also presented at the regional workshop.

This regional workshop was the last event and finalisation of the first phase of the Water as Leverage programme during which extensive research and collecting of sources resulted in conceptual designs for each city. And during which a lot of cross-connections have been made, lessons learned have been gathered, extensive discussions and a (more) common knowledge/understanding has been built on transformative capacity and the challenges that go hand in hand with these type of interventions that do not fit the regular/traditional boxes of (government/financial) institutions.

Next steps: 2019 During the next phase the teams will develop their conceptual designs further into proposals for Urban Water projects with an infrastructural focus. These will be presented during next round of local design workshops in the three cities which will be in the beginning of March 2019. The second regional workshop in Singapore is planned at the end of April 2019. The objective for 2019 is clear: work towards the next feasibility and implementation phase: from speed date to real date.