The IHE Delft Institute for Water Education in the Netherlands is known for being the largest international graduate water education facility in the world. IHE Delft plans to roll-out a series of workshops on Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) in Small Island Developing States (SIDS). On June 23rd, 2021, the Institute partnered with the Global Water Partnership-Caribbean (GWP-C) and the IWRM Committee of Curaçao (a GWP-C Partner) for the first workshop in the series.
The 2-hour virtual event was titled “IWRM in Caribbean SIDS.” It specifically targeted Caribbean SIDS Fellows from IHE Delft, other IHE Delft alumni and Caribbean water professionals. The primary focus of the workshop was to share experiences on IWRM implementation in the Caribbean and to discuss IWRM challenges to support the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The workshop saw the participation of more than thirty (30) Caribbean IHE Delft alumni. These participants were able to engage in discussions on IWRM in the Caribbean and had the opportunity to listen to presentations by:
- Dr. Erik de Ruijter van Steveninck – Senior Lecturer in Aquatic and Marine Ecology at IHE Delft and Coordinator of the SIDS Fellowship Programme
Dr. van Steveninck who moderated the workshop, expressed that IHE Delft was pleased to be collaborating with GWP-C in hosting the event; it being the first in a possible series of similar workshops on IWRM for SIDS. He shared that the rationale for the workshop was to provide a valuable platform to connect with Caribbean SIDS Fellows and other alumni from IHE Delft to discuss IWRM challenges and progress in the Caribbean region, as well as get their inputs on possible follow-up activities.
- Simone Lewis – Regional Coordinator of the GWP-C
Ms. Lewis delivered a presentation which looked at the role and activities of GWP-C and the status of IWRM in the Caribbean. Her presentation gave participants an overview of GWP-C, a snapshot of its Strategy for 2020 – 2025, as well as examples of key knowledge products created by GWP-C and how it collaborates and shares IWRM knowledge with various stakeholders.
Key to her presentation was providing information on the overall progress of IWRM in the Caribbean region. This enabled her to explain the importance of an IWRM approach and provide examples of Caribbean countries that have developed or drafted IWRM roadmaps, plans and policies. Ms. Lewis also shared that in 2020, GWP-C was actively involved in the process of Caribbean countries monitoring their progress on IWRM. Through that process, she explained that Caribbean countries were required to complete and submit their SDG 6.5.1 (Degree of IWRM Implementation) country report to the United Nationals Environment Programme (UNEP).
She concluded her presentation by indicating that the rate of IWRM implementation in the Caribbean is low, however countries continue to develop, revise and update IWRM roadmaps, plans, policies and strategies. She stressed that GWP-C together with its partners and stakeholders from all sectors, remain committed to institutionalising and operationalising IWRM in the region.
- Vanessa Toré – Director of Foreign Economic Cooperation at the Ministry of Economic Development of Curaçao, Chair of the IWRM Committee of Curaçao and GWP-C Steering Committee (SC) Member
In her remarks to participants, Ms. Toré provided some insight into when Curaçao began working towards developing an IWRM Policy for the country. She drew reference to GWP-C’s technical support to the Government of Curaçao back in 2015 where a national Stakeholder Consultation was held on developing an IWRM Policy and a training workshop on building climate resilience in their water sector.
The Stakeholder consultation in 2015, helped to produce key recommendations (an Action Plan) for IWRM implementation in the country. Ms. Toré shared that in 2020 a Water Policy/Plan for Curaçao was finalised.
- Pédzi V. J. Girigori de Flores Martinez – Head of Observations, Forecasting and Warnings Division of the Meteorological Department of Curaçao and Coordinator of the Project Management Team of the IWRM Committee of Curaçao
Ms. Girigori de Flores Martinez’s presentation provided an in-depth look into how IWRM was applied in Curaçao and the future of water in the country. She also provided background information on Curaçao in relation to water management. Ms. Girigori de Flores Martinez highlighted that the diagnosis in the country on IWRM stemmed from the 2015 workshop mentioned by Ms. Toré where GWP-C was involved, which led to the development of an IWRM Roadmap and Plan for the country.