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Water as Leverage programme nominated for a Dutch Design Award

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© Cynthia van Elk | Water as Leverage
Published on: 14 October 2020 | Changed on: 15 October 2020

The Water as Leverage for Resilient Cities Asia (WaL) programme is one of 3 nominees for a Dutch Design Award. WaL competes in the ‘Best Commissioning’ category. WaL believes that water can cause climate action. Also, WaL contributes to sustainable, social, economic and ecological development. WaL uses the research by design principle and has an innovative approach to project development for solving climate problems. Cities worldwide are facing these climate problems. The approach connects employment opportunities, social development and the recovery of biodiversity.

Fighting climate change

Rapidly-growing cities all over the world are severely affected by climate change. At the same time, cities are part of the solution. Water is the connecting factor in cities’ sustainable development. Worldwide, water presents not only the biggest risk but also the greatest opportunity.

This is the idea behind Water as Leverage (WaL). In the case of WaL, parties are involved in cooperation and innovation from the very beginning. This includes:

  • the project investors,
  • those implementing it, and
  • the vulnerable communities whom the programme is for.

As a result, the parties experience a true sense of ownership of the ideology.
WaL focuses on the cities of Chennai (India), Khulna (Bangladesh) and Semarang (Indonesia). The programme has ambitions to scale up to all of Asia and the rest of the world.

The programme challenges Dutch entrepreneurs to form local and international partnerships. Partnerships then work together to develop innovative concepts for sustainable development in these cities.

Announcing the winners of the Dutch Design Awards

Dutch Design Week (DDW) is the largest yearly design event in Northern Europe. It, lasts 9 days. Events during the week include the Dutch Design Awards (DDA) presentation.

This year, Water as Leverage has been nominated in the ‘Best Commissioning’ category. The project received great reviews from the Dutch Design Awards jury.

“A surprising new take on the Dutch Design mentality: through the complete approach of Water as Leverage, the Dutch government has created an important foundation for addressing one of the most complex issues of our time.”

The winner will be announced on Saturday, 24 October during a live talk show on DDW TV. Henk Ovink, the Netherlands Special Envoy for International Water Affairs, will be interviewed on behalf of the Dutch government. Ovink is the initiator and commissioning party of WaL. You can watch The DDA Show live at 16:00 CEST from 17 until 24 October on

From 17 October, you can also look at all the projects from both nominees and winners online. These will be shown in special 3D exhibitions on the DDW platform. If it is possible, a physical exhibition will take place in early 2021.

Water as Leverage

WaL is a partnership between the Dutch government and national and international parties. The programme is implemented by the Netherlands Enterprise Agency on behalf of the Netherlands Special Envoy for International Water Affairs, Henk Ovink, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management.

You can find more information about WaL, the programme partners and teams on the WaL website and the DDA information page on WaL.
If you have any questions, please contact us by sending an email to

Do you want to help improve water security and water safety worldwide? Find out about the other programmes and funding schemes we offer for water projects in developing countries.

Water as Leverage partners

Asian Development BankIndia and IndonesiaThe Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Infrastructure and Water Management
Asian Infrastructure Investment BankIslamic Development BankThe Netherlands Enterprise, Agency
AWBKfWThe Netherlands Special Envoy for International Water Affairs
DeltaresOECDThe 6 Water as Leverage teams
FabricationsPartners for ResilienceUN Habitat
FMOPBLWater Youth Network
Global Center on AdaptationPegasysWorld Bank
Global Resilient Cities NetworkPTSMI IndonesiaWWF
Green Climate FundThe cities of Chennai, Khulna and Semarang 
IABRThe governments of Bangladesh