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World Waternet Circulating towards 2030

15 April 2024

In recent months, we at World Waternet have taken a good look at ourselves in the mirror, asking whether we are still engaged in the right and impactful activities in this changing world. This has been exciting, confronting, but above all, healing and inspiring. It's a necessary process to work on our proposition and our new business plan (2025 – 2030).

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For a brief summary, watch the video above.

Future Search Basecamp, Amstelmeer, 3rd and 4th April 2024

(World) Waternetters worked together to shape the future of World Waternet. Participants from our Amstel National Park were carefully selected to represent multiple layers of the organisations. This was facilitated by open-system thinkers and doers, the ‘Embassy of the Earth’. This journey had already begun on September 7th.


Consciousness with water

Early in the morning, 31 colleagues started working on shaping the best possible future of World Waternet at the Wierschuur in Hippolytushoef for two days. It began with an icebreaker and ceremonial start where Frodo (CEO World Waternet) and Marieke (Regional Manager East Africa) poured water from the Amstel and water from the nearby Amstelmeer into pottery. This created a moment of awareness and attention to what we deal with every day: water!


How do you work towards the best possible future?

To shape the best possible future of World Waternet, we embarked on a dialogical process, which, in a nutshell, involved the following steps: examining changes in the world, external influences directly impacting our organisation and work (learning from our environment), our history, our system, our goals and ideals (what do we have?), and finally strategies, action plans, and organisation (how do we change the world we work in).

Active adaptation: navigating in a turbulent environment

We all feel that the world has become more dynamic regarding political instability, international conflicts, climate extremes, and digitalization. You can either be overwhelmed by these changes or identify opportunities and adapt to what you have. Although the influence may be small, you can at least determine which course to take and which partners are involved.


The water journey of World Waternet

World Waternet started organically and has now evolved into a passionate professional collective dedicated to shaping the water cycle worldwide. Together, we created a timeline to see the milestones since its establishment in 2007, as well as international work dating back to the 1990s, and how we are doing it now. The number of post-its grew exponentially in recent years.


Ambitions are high

As part of the process, we defined the most desirable future of World Waternet in 2030. What would the newspapers write about us then? This utilized the human drive for ideals. Statements like "World Waternet implements EU water agenda: 10 metropolis coalitions" and "Irbid wins World Tile Flipping Championship, Yarmouk floods a thing of the past!" captured our ambitions well. The 20 statements from various groups, along with the impact scan and other plenary and group discussions, formed the basis for identifying the themes we wanted to work on, which also shaped the vision.


Course 2025 - 2030

Day 1: From the initial sessions, the key defined themes to work on emerged, namely: sustainable financing, Europe, river basin approach (RSGB)/social-ecological work, digital acceleration, local hubs/regional organization, right to water, and partners & growth. At the heart of these themes are the connecting themes, which are relevant to each objective, namely the water cycle, impact, climate adaptation, and social inclusion.

Day 2: Attention was given to strategy and action plans by 4 task groups that will initially focus on the themes of sustainable financing, RSGB, Europe, and impact. The added value of dialogue and task groups, especially on the impact theme, was immediately visible, laying a good foundation for organising everything else around it. The various task groups are now working on the initial steps. A coordinating council has been chosen to coordinate the upcoming work and ensure coherence among all themes.

Refinement through dialogue

The course determined by the broad World Waternet community and the action plan outlined by that community on various themes helped sharpen who we are and what we do, in conjunction with our partners and the water systems in which we operate. The following vision was formed by us, the participants:

"In 2030, World Waternet is an internationally leading collective that connects and strengthens public partners and their communities around the water cycle. The local capacity of World Waternet has expanded, and the organisation in Amsterdam is more diverse and further professionalized. With sustainable financing and renewed partnerships, we make lasting impacts on water challenges in our partner countries."

Indirect contributions from: Kasper, Merel, Tanah, Marieke, Frank, Paul, Lars, Mir, Njord, Isabel, Richard, Eric, Peter, Jaap, Thomas, Koen, Peter, Mohamed, Kirsty, Mohammad, Alex, Douwe, Willemijn, Kees, Judith, Rob, Andre, Frodo, Frank, Theun, Frank, Leo.