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Water changemaker innovation awards launched

Water Changemaker Innovation Awards 2023 launched at the kick-off of the International Asia Water Week in South Korea Songsan, 6 July 2023.

 The Water Changemaker Innovation Awards 2023 have officially been launched during the kick-off of the largest gathering on water in Asia, the International Asian Water Week in South Korea.

The Water Changemaker Awards is a global initiative that recognizes high-level commitment and leadership for climate-resilient water investments and showcases investment-ready climate-resilient innovations with the greatest potential for scale and replication to support a water-secure world. The awards are convened by the Continental Africa Water Investment Programme, K-water, the World Bank and the Global Water Partnership.

H.E Dr. Mokgweetsi Masisi, President of Botswana is the Honorary Co-Chair of the Water Changemaker Awards. Delivering a keynote address during the launch, Ban Ki-moon, the 8th Secretary General of the United Nations said climate change was visible in water, citing floods, droughts, rising sea levels, and other weather events that devastate communities and ecosystems around the world.

 He urged urgent action in the implementation of over 700 UN Water Conference 2023 commitments, aimed at driving transformation towards a climate-resilient water-secure world. “Climate resilient innovations with potential for scale and replication can expedite our progress by providing governments with technologies and approaches that were not only previously unavailable, but that also have the potential to create sustainable jobs and improve livelihoods.

 “It is my hope that the Water Changemaker Awards will bring the best of these innovations to light and link them with new finance sources to enable them to scale,” he said.

 In the video message, Mr. Ban Ki-moon further commended the International High-Level Panel on Water Investments for Africa for the launch of their report, Africa’s Rising Investment Tide, on World Water Day 22 March 2023, during the United Nations 2023 Water Conference in New York.

The report outlines three pathways to secure an additional US$30 billion to achieve water security and sustainable sanitation on the continent by 2030. He urged the replication of the Continental Africa Water Investment Programme – AIP for other water-insecure regions.

“The Continental Africa Water Investment Programme – AIP – which is one of the co-convening organizations of these awards, is an innovative initiative of the African Union to narrow the water investment gap on the continent by transforming the investment outlook for water.

We need to scale up initiatives similar to the AIP in other water-insecure regions in Asia, Latin America and others. Therefore, I urge investors and development partners to support the AIP, the recommendations made in the International High-Level Panel on Water Investments for Africa’s report as well as innovations that can increase access to clean water and sanitation for all.”

K-water, the host of the launch event in Songsan, urged global cooperation and collaboration in addressing climate change and in achieving carbon neutrality.

“The launch of the Water Changemaker Awards represents a very significant step in encouraging innovation in the water sector to improve global climate resilience,” said Dr. Seog Dae Yun, Chief Executive Officer of K-water and co-chair of the Water Changemaker Awards. Co-convenor of the Awards, the World Bank Group said the Water Changemaker Awards will boost competition and creative innovation to address all the cutting-edge issues in the water sector especially as most of the countries globally are not on track to meet the SDG’s for access to water supply and sanitation.

“All this requires a tremendous amount of financing, innovation, new technologies, very creative ways of delivering water and sanitation services in the countries. This initiative will bring new ideas that can be scaled up in countries around the world to address the financing gap, which can be met through, of course, new, innovative models for delivering water services in the countries we work in,” said Mr. Saroj Kumar Jha, Global Director for Water Global Practice World Bank Group.

 Among the high-level delegates who attended the launch in South Korea were Mr. Pablo Bereciartua, Global Water Partnership Chairperson and Ms Jaehyang So who is Chair of the Water Changemaker Innovation Awards 2023 Jury.

 In his remarks, Mr. Bereciartua urged those with climate-resilient innovations that would contribute to solving water challenges to submit entries. “Climate change is together with us. We will see many things that we don’t imagine in the next few years. We’re already seeing that.

 “And climate change is actually water change. Climate is about water. Climate is how the water moves around our planet. So, we need to move from analyzing what climate change is about into really providing solutions to climate change.

“We, therefore, encourage you to enter climate-resilient innovations into the changemaker awards. I can assure you that we will identify those ideas and we will work together to make them big so they have a significant impact in the world.,” he said.

Entities are eligible to enter the Water Changemaker Innovation Awards if they have been operating for at least one year and are seeking to scale up on a successful business model. Innovative initiatives should be about a business model involving water which has contributed to building resilience to climate change.

Entries are open from 6 July to 18 August 2023. The winners of the Water Changemaker Innovation Awards will be announced in November 2023, during COP 28 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. For media enquiries: Teresa Chirwa-Ndanga, Communications Specialist, Water Changemaker Awards 2023 Secretariat, +265 999 247 911 |teresa.chirwa-ndanga@gwpsaf.org Editor’s Note: About the Water Changemakers 2023 Awards The Water Changemaker Awards 2023 is a global initiative to recognize high-level commitment and leadership for climate-resilient water investments and showcase the most promising climate-resilient innovations with the greatest potential for scale, replication, and further investment to support a water-secure world.

 The Water Changemaker Awards include: (a) Presidential Global Water Changemaker Award – for demonstrated leadership and commitment (b) Innovation Water Changemaker Award- for the most promising climate innovations (c)Youth Water Changemaker Award -for demonstrating commitment to social change.

 The recipients of the Presidential Global Changemaker Award are identified by the Changemakers jury and awarded at a global UN event. The recipients of the Water Changemaker Innovation Award are identified through a global competition while the recipients of the Youth Water Changemaker Awards are identified through independently managed competitions at regional level by GWP regions, as well as by WMO and the Water Youth Network at global level for integrated drought and flood management.

The core partners running the Water Changemaker Awards 2023 include: • Global Water Partnership • Korea Water Resources Corporation (K-Water) • The World Bank Group • Continental Africa Water Investment Programme

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