Water as Leverage programme winner of the Dutch Design Awards 2020

The Water as Leverage for Resilient Cities Asia (WaL) programme is the winner of the Dutch Design Awards 2020 in the ‘Best Commissioning’ category. This was announced during the DDA Award Show Live on 24 October after the interview with Mr Henk Ovink, the Netherlands Special Envoy for International Water Affairs.

After the announcement Mr Ovink expressed his gratitude and thanked the jury and the organisation. He stressed that winning this award is a joint effort of all Water as Leverage partners. Their commitment and dedication made the programme a success, therefore, a big compliment to all of them: * “This award is not exclusively for the government of the Netherlands but our Award. It is an important acknowledgement of our continuing partnership to use design, water and ongoing joint efforts to make a difference”*

Water as leverage: Best Commissioner is in all of us Water is at the core of the programme, the interconnecting element and a leverage for turning the biggest risk into the greatest opportunity. Usingwater as a starting point to work with it in an inclusive and integrated way leverages many other challenges societies face. Using Water as Leverage can induce an effect on social development and employment, sustainable economic development and the recovery of biodiversity. Commissioning these challenges and persuading multidisciplinary teams to look at these challenges from an integrated, design-driven and innovative perspective thrives action and enthusiasm on the ground. The Water as Leverage programme showed that changing the way of commissioning can make a difference, as shown by the examples in Chennai, Semarang and Khulna. The Government of the Netherlands ignited this process, but Commissioning can only be the best if all stakeholders thrive.

Setting the standard: upscaling and replicating Winning this award is also an acknowledgment of the Water as Leverage approach: inclusive and integrated. Everybody needs to be involved; banks, communities, governments, designers, all. It enables key stakeholders on all levels to become ‘guardians of the body of thought’, and that is especially critical for the financiers. Vulnerable communities are at the heart of the project, and are involved from the very beginning, in this dynamic process aimed to improve their living environment. And with the acknowledgement by this award, it is also a great opportunity to persevere in setting this standard by upscaling and replicating this approach across Asia and the rest of the world.

The Dutch Design Awards Dutch Design Week (DDW) is the largest yearly design event in Northern Europe. It lasts 9 days. Events during the week include the Dutch Design Awards (DDA) presentation.

This year, Water as Leverage had been nominated in the ‘Best Commissioning’ category as one of three nominees. The programme received great reviews from the Dutch Design Awards jury:

‘A surprising example of Dutch Design as mentality: with the integral approach of Water as Leverage, the Dutch government has created an important foundation for one of the most complex issues of our time.’

During the Dutch Design Week, all the projects from both nominees and winners were exhibited online in special 3D exhibitions on the DDW platform. If it is possible, a physical exhibition will take place in early 2021.

Water as Leverage WaL is a partnership between the Dutch government and national and international parties. The programme is implemented by the Netherlands Enterprise Agency on behalf of the Netherlands Special Envoy for International Water Affairs, Henk Ovink, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management.

The programme challenges Dutch businesses in international partnerships to build locally based partnerships. Partnerships that work together to design, develop and implement innovative concepts for sustainable development in these cities.

You can find more information about WaL, the programme partners and teams on the WaL website and the DDA information page on WaL. If you have any questions, please contact us by sending an email to wal@rvo.nl.

DDA information page on WaL