Symposium: Flanders Wise With Water



Paleis der Academiën

Flanders Wise With Water
Willy Verstraete (organiser)

Activity in the context of the Thinkers' cycle 

Activity in the context of the Position Paper 

Climate change is a fact. The challenge arises to develop an adaptation strategy and deal with its consequences. Rather than focusing on the negative aspects, this symposium aims to provide an alternative perspective. Top speakers from Flanders and abroad present a positive narrative about climate change and resilience in the context of water.

This symposium concludes the 2016 KVAB Thinkers Program on Water & Climate. Margaret Catley-Carlson (Patron Global Water Partnership Canada) and Glen T. Daigger (former chairman of the International Water Association) worked with stakeholders in Flanders, aiming to formulate long term policy objectives for Flanders and beyond. On June 17th they present their findings. National and international experts respond and nurture the debate about climate and future water management.


1 Registration 09:00 - 09:30
2 Opening 09:30 - 10:00
Hubert Bocken, KVAB (speaker)
Willy Verstraete, KVAB, Coordinator of the Thinkers Program (speaker)
3 Thinkers Report 10:00 - 10:45
Maggie Catley-Carlson, Thinker in Residence (speaker)
Glen Daigger, Thinker in Residence (speaker)
Caroline Van Steendam, Associate Thinker in Residence (speaker)
Erik Mathijs, KU Leuven (chair)
4 Coffee Break 10:45 - 11:15
5 Responding to Govenance Issues 11:15 - 12:00
Erik Mathijs, KU Leuven (chair)
5.1 European perspectives on water management
Hans Bruyninckx, European Environment Agency (speaker)
5.2 Water as key resource for cities
Jacqueline Cramer, Former Dutch Minister of Environment and Spatial Planning (speaker)
5.3 How Wise is the Integrated Water Policy in Flanders
Philippe D'Hondt, Flanders Environment Agency (speaker)
6 Responding to Science & Technical Issues 12:00 - 13:00
Joos Vandewalle, KVAB (chair)
6.1 Intelligent Water Systems
Iven Mareels, University of Melbourne (speaker)

6.2 The Blue Cluster: a project with guts
Frank Verschraegen, DEME (speaker)
6.3 The agro-food system wise with water
Erik Mathijs, KU Leuven (speaker)
6.4 Sustainable coast & delta zone development
Ronald Waterman, Building with Nature (speaker)
7 Lunch 13:00 - 14:00
8 Youth and water awareness 14:00 - 14:45
Caroline Van Steendam, Associate Thinker in Residence (chair)
Ilse Smets, (chair)
Korneel Rabaey, Jonge Academie, UGent (speaker)
Arne Verliefde, Paint, UGent (speaker)
Samuel Van de Vijver, UAntwerpen (speaker)
Maarten Desmet, For Good (speaker)

Ilse Smets and Caroline Van Steendam present young water professionals pitching potential game changers for the future.

9 Key Water Management Issues in Flanders 14:45 - 15:45
Willy Bauwens, VUB (speaker)
Jeroen Buysse, UGent (speaker)
Marnik Vanclooster, UCLouvain (speaker)
Wim Van Gils, Natuurpunt (speaker)
Dirk Van der Stede, VITO/VLAKWA (speaker)
Tom Williams, IWA (speaker)
Jan Seys, VLIZ, Flanders marine institute (speaker)
Ann Overmeire, POM West-Vlaanderen (speaker)
Marc Despiegelaere, Protos (speaker)
Jos Boere, KWR (speaker)
Rudy Gotzen, Boerenbond (speaker)
Willy Verstraete, KVAB (chair)

Experts on water management pitch their message on stage:

10 Pro-Action Café 15:45 - 17:30

Drinks & discussion groups - participants may choose two tables. Coordinators report back to the plenary.

  • Too much & too little: better preparation for flood and water shortages
    Coordinators: Ilse Smets and Ingmar Nopens
  • Coastal defenses: standing up to nature or building with it
    Coordinators: Jean Berlamont and Frank Verschraegen
  • Organizing Agriculture to enhance Ecosystem Services
    Coordinators: Patrick Meire and Jeroen Buysse
  • Water & resilience
    Coordinators: Erik Mathijs and Luuk Boelens
  • Outside the box!
    Coordinator: Arne Verliefde

11 Closing 17:30 - 17:45
Jan Peumans, Chairman Flemish Parliament Climate Commission (speaker)


12 Network Reception 17:45 - 18:45