The 2017 Water Innovation Europe conference in Brussels addressed on 14 and 15 June 2017 the theme ‘The Value of Water: The case for innovation and investment in water’. It featured a key note speech of Jyri Katainen, the EC Vice-President for Jobs, Growth, Investment and Competitiveness. The two-day conference showcased that pro-actively addressing key water challenges can create strong investment and market opportunities within and outside Europe. The programme of the event also addressed the priorities and expectations for the next EU Framework Programme, in succession of Horizon2020. Wageningen Environmental researcher Jochen Froebrich moderated the session ‘Water-smart agriculture’
“The 2017 session ‘Water-smart agriculture’ is a breakthrough for all our past efforts to promote the Living Labs as key instruments for water related innovation in agriculture,” Jochen Froebrich says. “Receiving an opportunity to get Carlo Galli, Nestlé’s Technical and Strategic Adviser for Water Resources, as key note speaker opened great opportunities to exchange experiences and needs from the AgroFood sector. The high level discussion with the panellists identified concrete interactions with the new Task force on Water, Copa Cogeca, the EIP Water Action group WIRE and in particular with the Alliance for Water Stewardship. Using the input from the panel discussion helped to position SYSTEMIC as one of the pulling Living Labs for the new WSSTP cluster Rural Living in Brussels, and to increase the exposure of the success story from Oscar Schoumans and his team.
“In conjunction with other projects that put ‘Water and Food’ on the agenda, e.g. within the Dutch NKWK (Nationaal Kennisprogramma Water en Klimaat), the Water-Nexus research programme and also through projects in Argentina, Myanmar and Vietnam, we are building a stronger portfolio and position in Water and Food,” says Ivo Demmers, Programme Leader Sustainable Water Management at Wageningen Environmental Research. “Recently we joined the Top Sector Water Working Group ‘Europe’ and the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs asked advice on how to put water more prominent in EZ’s food security policy. Aligning Dutch, European and international strategic agenda’s in putting more emphasis on Water and Food enables ESG to gain more impact with our knowledge and research.”
Jochen Froebrich is convinced that we still can benefit from a strong visibility in Brussels to acquire an adequate share from the opportunities the European Union is offering: “Gluing all stepping stones now together, is really satisfying and I am happy to support all colleagues, who want to use the WSSTP exposure for a common promotion of our joint progress.”