What do you consider your priorities for the association?
Above all, I believe in strengthening the existing member network by improving the visibility of German Water Partnership in Germany and abroad and engaging new members to join the GWP-network. The launching of our new Website in mid-2018 is a first step in that direction with many more to come. Furthermore, we will strengthen existing cooperations and partnerships with ministries and partner organizations.
In many developing countries, particularly those within Africa, there is a disconnect between a lack of advancement in infrastructure and an advancement in smart technology, between which an opportunity presents itself for digital infrastructure to leapfrog developed nations. How is GWP working to realise the potential in this space?
GWP has been actively driving the agenda on digitalization in the water sector through our Working Group WATER 4.0 – our members have been actively embracing the opportunities arising from digitalization by developing concepts custom made for developing countries based on smart technology. With joint booths on the international water exhibitions and our own conference brand GWP-Day we actively showcase the German know-how and
expertise in WATER 4.0 worldwide and continue to provide a platform for establishing new digital solutions.
What are you doing as general manager to encourage more young professionals to enter the water sector?
As the network representing the internationally active German water sector we closely work together with Germany’s technical universities, research and training institutes. We are also participating in international programs such as the ASApreneurs-program and thus offer young students the chance to work on water related projects abroad. This year the GWPconferences in Sambia and Colombia will be supported by two such young professionals. These conferences aim at showcasing solutions for water related challenges and bring experts from Germany together with their counterparts abroad.
What signifcance do you place on the inﬂuence of global cities as places facing enormous demand for sophisticated and sustainable water supply over the coming thirty years?
I see an extremely high significance with a rapidly growing need for circular concepts and re-use solutions, which can be provided by the extensive German know-how in environmental technology. The focus on cities guided by the SDG-Agenda and embracing the opportunities of digitalization will be a core component of the next Blue Planet – Berlin Water Dialogues on 22nd October 2018 that is being coorganzied by GWP.
China is Germany’s biggest private sector competitor in water. How do you think German water companies ought to manage price competition with China?
The German water sector has to concentrate on its core competences: cutting edge research and development paired with excellent engineering. GWP aims to further foster an international understanding that truly sustainable and high quality technologies with a long life-cycle and exceptional efficiency have their price. But German quality goes beyond manufacturing as it involves proper maintenance and service, which can only be provided by excellent schooling and TVET. Germany’s excellence in engineering paired with its excellence in schooling will – proven by sustainable and more efficient solutions – enable German companies to manage future competition.
Are there aspects to the GWP’s relationship with the five German ministries it works with that you wish to see improved and how do you intend to achieve this?
Firstly I can proudly state that the relationship with our five German partner ministries has been very positive, with close communication and cooperation on a multitude of levels. Our common goals have seen a renewed push with the specific focus on Africa and water related issues framed in the coalition agreement of the new German government in spring 2018. Thus, GWP has offered to play a more active role in cooperation on development issues with the Federal Ministry for Economic Development (BMZ). Beyond this newly defined focus GWP will continue to closely work together with all its Federal Partner Ministries regarding their initiatives on export of German expertise and environmental technology in the water sector. Especially the close cooperation with the Federal Ministry for the Environment (BMU) will be continued to support the fulfillment of Germany’s international commitments made with regard to sustainable water management and
What do you believe the future will hold for the German Water Partnership?
The future holds great opportunities for the German water sector and beyond. Germany has shown for more than a hundred years how water management can be accomplished by fulfilling highest standards. Besides wasteful use of water and inefficient water management, climate change further increases the negative effects on available water resources. Thus, the global community is increasingly aware of the necessary changes needed to sustainably manage dwindling resources. German technology provides truly sustainable solutions to integrated water resource management which can only be achieved
by technological approaches with a long life cycle and the necessary sophistication to tackle both rural as well as complicated mega-city water challenges of today and a demanding future. One key with regard to finding successful solutions for the future certainly is an eye-to-eye level cooperation between partners in Germany and abroad to also adapt concepts to thelocal needs of each country.