Flanders Wise With Water

Friday June 17th 2016
Palace of Academies, Hertogsstraat 1, Brussels

Flanders Wise With Water

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.


9:30 — Opening

Hubert Bocken, President of the Academy
Willy Verstraete, Coordinator of the Thinkers Program
  Presentatie Willy Verstraete

10:00 — Thinkers Report

Margaret Catley-Carlson, Glen T. Daigger and Caroline Van Steendam present the results of the Thinkers Program
  Presentatie Margaret Catley-Carlson     Presentatie Glen T. Daigger     Presentatie Caroline Van Steendam

10:45 — Coffee Break

11:15 — Responding to Governance Issues

Hans Bruyninckx (European Environment Agency), Jacqueline Cramer (former Dutch Minister of Environment and Spatial Planning) and Philippe D'Hondt (Flanders Environment Agency) respond to governance issues and recommendations raised in the Thinkers' report.
  Presentatie Hans Bruyninckx     Presentatie Jacqueline Cramer     Presentatie Philippe D'Hondt

12:00 — Responding to Science & Technical Issues

Iven Mareels (University of Melbourne), Frank Verschraegen (DEME), Erik Mathijs (KU Leuven) and Ronald Waterman(Building with Nature) respond to the scientific and technical issues raised in the Thinkers' report.
  Presentatie Iven Mareels     Presentatie Frank Verschraegen     Presentatie Erik Mathijs     Presentatie Ronald Waterman

13:00 — Lunch

14:00 — Youth and water awareness

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

Arne Verliefde (Paint, UGent), Maarten Desmet (For Good), Korneel Rabaey (Jonge Academie, UGent) and Samuel Van de Vijver (UA)   Presentatie Maarten Desmet     Presentatie Korneel Rabaey     Presentatie Samuel Van de Vijver

14:45 — Key Water Management Issues in Flanders

Experts on water management pitch their message on stage:

Willy Bauwens (VUB), Jos Boere (KWR), Jeroen Buysse (UGent), Marc Despiegelaere (Protos), Rudy Gotzen (Boerenbond, Belgian farmers associaton), Ann Overmeire (POM West-Vlaanderen), Jan Seys (VLIZ, Flanders marine institute), Marnik Vanclooster (UCLouvain), Wim Van Gils (Natuurpunt), Dirk Van der Stede (VITO/VLAKWA) and Tom Williams (IWA).
  Presentatie Willy Bauwens     Presentatie Jos Boere     Presentatie Marc Despiegelaere     Presentatie Jan Seys     Presentatie Marnik Vanclooster

15:45 — Pro-Action Café

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

  • Out of the box!

  • Coordinator: Arne Verliefde

17:30 — Closing

Jan Peumans (Chairman Flemish Parliament Climate Commission) closes the symposium.

17:45 — Network Reception


The Thinkers Program on Water & Climate is an initiative of the Class of the Technical Sciences of the Royal Flemish Academy of Belgium for Science and the Arts. The purpose of the program is to provide an alternative perspective for Flanders in the context of water, climate change and resilience, aiming at formulating long term policy objectives. Two renowned Thinkers-in-Residence, Margaret Catley-Carlson (Patron of the Global Water Partnership of Canada) and Glen Daigger (former President of the International Water Association) are facing this topic together with the members the Academy.

They examined how the region of Flanders is dealing with the coming climate change in general and particularly with respect to all issues of water, and reflected on technologies and policies to bring forward collective adaptive measures. They consulted over 200 stakeholders over the course of two 'Fact Finding Weeks'. Their findings will be published by the Royal Flemish Academy.