From the CEO: 2017 at a glance

From the CEO: 2017 at a glance

As we near the end of 2017, CEO Mark Pascoe takes a moment to reflect on what has been another incredibly busy and exciting year at the International WaterCentre.

The International WaterCentre (IWC) has had another busy year between training the world’s future water leaders through our education, training and capacity development programs, and actively participating in global efforts to build a more sustainable and water secure world.

In February, 49 water professionals from 26 countries joined the IWC in Brisbane to begin the challenging and exciting journey that is the Master of Integrated Water Management. For those students completing the program in 2017 they spent their final semester undertaking a self-directed project to consolidate and apply the Integrated Water Management concepts and principles they have learnt. This year we had 36 final projects submitted covering a broad range of interesting and innovative research pieces, from water resource planning in Tajikistan, water conservation in post-war Colombia, Water Sensitive Urban Design and urban wetlands in Brisbane, through to mining and water in northern Chile and water governance in Mozambique.    

Some stand out projects include: Amy Syvrud’s A Water Markets Development Process: A long-term governance solution to water scarcity applied to a case study in Canterbury, New ZealandPhoebe Swift’s Measuring organisational culture to support action planning for a more gender diverse and inclusive water industry applied to a case study in Victoria, Australia; Bridie Velik-Lord’s Integration of Aboriginal values and knowledge in Victorian water planning and management decisions: A case study of Birrarung (the Yarra River); and Remy Caball’s Retrospective diagnostic analysis of the decision-making process on the Western Corridor Recycled Water Scheme in South East Queensland. It’s safe to say the future of our water is in good hands with the quality of work and innovation on display each year within our student cohort.

Moving beyond the program our Alumni continue to make waves around the world, with the IWC Alumni Network going from strength the strength. In 2017 IWCAN has partnered with the Australian Water Partnership to manage the Kini Initiative, an initiative that seeks to facilitate exchanges between water professionals in Australia and the Asia-Pacific to connect people and resources in the context of regional knowledge needs.   

Meanwhile, in the Leadership Education space we saw 27 Australian water professionals complete the sixth round of the award-winning Water Leadership Program for 2016/17 with a record number of industry scholarships awarded. In the last quarter of the year we took a moment to acknowledge and celebrate some of the incredible leaders emerging in the Australian water sector with the inaugural IWC Water Leadership Program Alumni Event. Delivered in partnership with Liveability Victoria International, the Victorian Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning, and the Water Services Association of Australia, the event included two professional development workshops and a dinner where a number of exemplary leaders were acknowledged and awarded.

The IWC’s excellence in providing world-class education and training shone through in our diverse portfolio of programs equipping many national and international water professionals with vital skills, knowledge, tools and techniques to tackle Integrated Water Management challenges. We delivered 5 online courses to 114 water professionals from around the world, including a new course on water reform and governance and the second delivery of the co-badged Online Team Leadership Course aimed at young water professionals with the Australian Water Association.

Through our Custom Training Program our team was awarded five Australia Awards Fellowship grants, with a delegation of Fellows from Fiji and Vietnam visiting us this year, and three more programs from Sri Lanka, Indonesia and Colombia scheduled for 2018. Earlier in the year we also visited delegates from the 2016 Sri Lanka AAF program for an in-country follow up on sustainable groundwater management through Integrated Water Management.  

Our organisation showed its true sense of collaboration with 2017 proving a busy year for partnerships. To assist strengthen capacity within the Indonesian water sector Griffith University and the IWC jointly delivered an Australia Awards in Indonesia short course program – Managing Water in Urban Settings. While the Asian Development Bank Learning Week returned for a second year with support from the Australian Water Partnership and included delegates from seven ADB developing member countries and ADB officers.

Delivering on the MOU signed with the Yellow River Conservancy Commission in late-2016, we welcomed a delegation of 15 water professionals from China for a three-week training program on water security and integrated river basin management in December. While earlier in the year, during a visit to the Philippines I was pleased to finalise another MOU with Manila Water and the University of Queensland (UQ)’s Advance Water Management Centre to establish a partnership program aimed at addressing water security in the region. Acros our custom training program more than 65 water professionals from across the Asia-Pacific region received training with the IWC. 

At home we were a proud sponsor of the inaugural Brisbane-leg of the Transitions Film Festival, a festival aimed to inspire, inform and engage on the complex challenges facing our world and the cutting-edge solutions redefining them. We also launched the WASH Futures Conference for 2018 and are now three months out from hosting the event in Brisbane, 5 – 9 March.

2017 saw us sign up as a Network Partner for the Waterlution Water Innovation Lab Australia for 2018, an exciting first that will see a dynamic group of young water leaders come together for a seven day immersion to innovate around some of our greatest water challenges.

We were also well presented on the international stage, in May our education and leadership team facilitated a workshop to Young Water Professionals at the Ozwater Conference and again in September at the International RiversymposiumA number of our staff, current students and alumni participated in the International Riversymposium, you can read their reflections on participating in the Emerging Water Professionals Program (EWPP) here  

Closer to home our water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) projects team were kept busy with ongoing training trips to our partners, including this trip to Papua New Guinea to deliver workshops on Menstrual Hygiene Management in schools with WaterAid, and this one to support Live and Learn’s WASH in Schools officers. A partnership with UNICEF Pacificsaw our team visit Kiribati for the first time to conduct an external review of the UNICEF Kiribati WASH in Schools program. In the Philippines, meanwhile phase two of the UNICEF Hifive for HiSan project commenced.

Looking to 2018 we’re excited to move to a new strategic home with Griffith University, an opportunity that will allow us to build on our world-class offerings in Integrated Water Management and bolster the IWC’s existing relationships with Griffith networks. Brisbane is the river city of Australia and the new arrangement will strengthen our ability to share the lessons and best practices on managing water at all stages of the water cycle in South East Queensland with our region and beyond.

We are also eager to put into action our commitment to the UN Global Compact and CEO Water Mandate, looking at how we can best make the Ten Principles of the Compact part of our strategy, culture and day-to-day operations.  

Finally, and most importantly, I would like to extend my thanks to our staff, students, partners, supporters, and all those who have collaborated with us throughout the year for their hard work, vision and ongoing support. The IWC would not be what it is without the valuable contributions from all of these individuals and organisations.

On behalf of the IWC team, I wish you all a happy and safe festive season and New Year, and we look forward to working with you again in 2018.

Mark Pascoe


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