19 April 2023 / Vienna, Austria
Navigating Changing Waters: The 2023 Danube Water Conference
Contributed by:
Voice of the Danube
21 April 2023

The countdown is on: The Danube Water Conference will convene from 31 May till 2 June in Vienna, back-to-back with the UBP Danube Hub Workshop on 30 May and business meetings on 31 May. Find here an overview of the agenda – and follow the link to the registration page.

Fully titled “Navigating Changing Waters: New ways to overcome emerging challenges of the water sector in the Danube region”, the 2023 edition of the bi-annual Danube Water Conference will be hosted by the Danube Water Program and marks two significant anniversaries: IAWD celebrates its 30th birthday and the Danube Water Program has been kicked off precisely a decade ago by by the World Bank and IAWD. Appropriate celebrations will be part of the conference.

The focus of this event will be on the multiple existing and emerging challenges that the Danube region's water sector is currently facing, including consequences of the recent global pandemic, energy and economic crises caused by the war in Ukraine, and the ever-increasing effects of climate change. To maintain high levels of service provision, the region's water and wastewater utilities have to deal rising energy costs, an aging workforce, and the need to invest in performance improvements.

The conference's objective is to foster cooperation and knowledge exchange to tackle these challenges. Exploring best practice examples and new approaches, it seeks to present valuable insights and innovative strategies to ensure that the water sector in the Danube region continues to deliver high-quality service amidst a constantly changing environment.

One exemplary approach that will be presented in the course of the conference is the Utility of the Future Center of Excellence (UoF-CoE) which will be established in Tirana, Albania. As part of the World Bank's Utility of the Future program, and supported by the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs, the UoF-CoE is intended to complement existing capacity development efforts in the region, such as the Regional Capacity Development Network (RCDN) and the Danube Learning Partnership (DLeaP). It will operate a knowledge and innovation hub, a project incubator and a financing facility to provide demand-driven provision of “soft” corporate development and change management support to utilities across the world.

The conference's session flow is designed to cover all aspects of the most burning problems and their solution: On day 1, the opening keynote will explore the overall situation of the sector in the current crisis environment. Day 2 starts with a session titled “Mission (im)possible” which will present real life innovative solutions and best practice examples from various utilities, answering to demands stated in the participants' feedback to last year's Danube Water Forum.

The following sessions will each be dedicated to a single problem field and promising approaches to answering the challenge: „The wider perspective“ is a session dedicated to climate change and the resulting droughts, water security and non-revenue water issues.

„Hidden figures“ will deal with workforce issues like recruiting, retention, workforce diversity and the general appeal of a career in the sector. „Think outside the box“ is scheduled as a round table session, involving the exchange of ideas and experiences in small working groups.

On day 3, „Communication and cooperation“ will throw a spotlight on the potential of communication in challenging times, exploring communication with consumers, decision-makers, partner and also the wider public through awareness-raising initiatives, followed by a conference wrap-up session.

To review the conference program, receive further information on registration and logistics, please follow hte link below!  

VoD - 2023 Danube Water Conference

The 2023 Danube Water Conference “Navigating Changing Waters: New ways to overcome emerging challenges of the water sector in the Danube region” will convene on 31 May to 2 June, 2023 in Austria's capital city Vienna, back...