IWA 2021: Robust and Resilient
Looking back over 2021, we see a year that featured some outstanding highlights. These are highlights that built on and contributed further to the robustness and resilience of our fantastic global network of water sector professionals. In particular, it was a year in which the Association took important steps to further expand our dissemination of information and knowledge. IWA Publishing moved publication of ten journals to the ‘subscribe to open’ Open Access model, greatly increasing the accessibility of this valuable content. Alongside this, numerous books were also made available on an Open Access basis. Next, we are a network organisation and the very essence of a network is the ability of those within it to interact and communicate. We have remained determined to support this, despite the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. It was therefore a huge achievement to hold our first virtual World Water Congress during 2021. This successfully covered a broad range of themes, providing access to high-quality presentations and discussions for participants around the world – importantly facilitating access for many who might not normally travel to our physical events. This virtual delivery of the World Water Congress built on pandemic mitigation measures that were initiated in 2020 and were continued and scaled up in 2021. Adapting to the ‘new normal’ of online meetings, workshops, and conferences, we delivered some 20 online events during the year, including the increasingly popular use of webinars.
This Digital World Water Congress also provided an opportunity for us to publicly acknowledge and celebrate the latest winners of our Awards programme, most notably our Global Water Award winner, Marcos von Sperling, and our Women in Water Award winner, Nafisa Barot. Alongside this, we of course continued to make great progress with our programmes throughout the year, especially with our Digital Water Programme, our Climate Smart Utilities initiative, and the Regulating for Citywide Inclusive Sanitation initiative. Through these activities, IWA plays an influential role in shaping the strategic direction of our sector. Given all of this, we can surely say that during 2021 the Association continued to advance its core mission as a global reference point for water professionals working on all aspects of the water cycle. This has been visible through our diverse activities and is evidenced in our strong membership base, that remained steady in terms of membership numbers despite the demands of the pandemic. We thank all who have contributed to our vibrant organisation – one that has shown itself to be both robust and resilient.