Climate Diplomacy: “Give it attention and it will grow”


Masterclass of Dutch Climate Envoy, Marcel Beukeboom
May 19, 2020

Last week was a week of many impulses for #EJWP1. With our trainings on Personal Resilience and Agility and Online Personal Branding in mind, we entered a completely new world: the world of Climate Diplomacy. With the European Green Deal as one of our major focus points in the strategy of the European Water Sector, getting to know the real deal and learning more about the work of a climate envoy seemed to be a great asset. And it was. First of all, we found out what not a lot of people know, namely that Climate Envoys exist, and not just in the Netherlands. Countries like France, UK, New Zealand, Singapore and also now Lithuania and Estonia also have their own, and we hope that number will rapidly increase. We learned what they do, but we also got drawn into Marcel’s positive belief “Give it attention and it will grow”, which means that through awareness raising work we can gather support for positive actions, such as fighting Climate Change.  That is certainly something we can use creating support for Water Diplomacy as well.

The water sector is an ambivalent actor in the climate debate. We feel ourselves as part of the pro-climate community, working side-by-side on the effects of climate change in regards to urban resilience, drought and water quality. The water sector is also a productive industry in which emissions and energy requests are high. In such a way that we also need to become more ‘climate’ aware in adaptive measures. So also the discussions with Marcel revolved around this ambivalence.

But there is also what we can call envy, towards the climate diplomacy power from the water sector side. The climate issue has created much more awareness among other sectors and on the high political level, and a much needed and well deserved awareness at that. Everyone knows the carbon footprint, there is legislation on it and international agreements. No one knows the water footprint, and although drought and other water related risks are high, as recognized by the World Economic Forum in their yearly risk reports, we didn’t yet quite make it onto the world wide political agenda. Here, Marcel pointed out his strategy “give it attention and it will grow”. Water Sector, Pick up the Glove. EJWP is doing it and follow up will come soon! Keep posted!

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