Patrick Lavarde, IWRA President
This will be my final editorial as President of the IWRA. It has been an honour to serve the past three years alongside such a dedicated executive board and executive office. IWRA is a relatively small association, but it continues to punch well above its weight. I am proud to see that at the end of our three-year tenure, we have managed to further improve the financial stability of IWRA, by almost doubling its financial reserves, while also increasing the staff in the office, and producing some excellent reports and analysis such as the Smart Water Management report and the Water Quality Guidelines report, both released in the last quarter of this year. This work, funded by partner organisations, was supported by a number of dedicated members through the various task forces that have been set up. We are also engaging better with our members now through our newly launched membership space – if you haven’t logged on yet I advise you to do so to see what you have been missing. And I must not forget the editorial team that has managed to continually improve our impact factor on Water International year on year.
Looking back over the past three years, I am particularly proud of the success we achieved through the XVI World Water Congress held in Cancun in 2017. It was by far one of the best Congresses we have held, in no small thanks to our Mexican colleagues at CONAGUA. I was even more impressed at how the attendance remained strong right to the final day, despite
the lure of the white sandy beaches outside. The Cancun Declaration, calling for better interlinkages between water science and policy, was just one of the great outputs from this event. I am also very pleased that we secured the XVII World Water Congress to be held in Daegu Korea, in May 2020. I know that with the City of Daegu, K-water, the Ministry of Environment, and the Korea Water Resources Association managing the event, we are in excellent hands. With the launch of the call for expression of interest to host the XVIII World Water Congress in either 2022 or 2023 announced in this newsletter, I am very keen to know where the Congress will go after Korea.
While my tenure as IWRA President draws to a close at the end of this month, I hand the reigns over to Gabriel Eckstein (who as Chair of the International Scientific Committee was critical to the successes we had in Cancun). I rest easy knowing that the Association is in good hands. Of course, I will remain on the Board in the post of Past President to offer support where needed. I will focus on building synergies between IWRA and some of our international partners, such as the World Water Council. Now that IWRA holds a seat on the Board of Governors for the Council, and I have taken up the post of Co-President of the Organisation Committee for the 9th World Water Forum planned to take place in Senegal in 2021, there will be many more opportunities to combine our efforts to make real impacts in the world of water management.
Finally, I want to thank you, our members, for having faith in me to manage your Association for you. It has been a lot of work, but it has also been fun, thanks to the many people I have had the good fortune to get to know and work with. I am therefore looking forward to the next three years: a new board, a new congress venue, new projects, new challenges and new opportunities. I wish everyone a happy new year and enjoyable festive season.