Symposium: Flanders Wise With Water



Paleis der Academiën

Flanders Wise With Water


Koninklijke Vlaamse Academie van België voor Wetenschappen en Kunsten
Willy Verstraete (Organisator)

Activiteit in het kader van de Denkerscyclus 

Activiteit in het kader van het Standpunt 

Climate change is a fact. The challenge arises to develop an adaptation strategy and deal with its consequences. Rather than focusing on the negative aspects, this symposium aims to provide an alternative perspective. Top speakers from Flanders and abroad present a positive narrative about climate change and resilience in the context of water.

This symposium concludes the 2016 KVAB Thinkers Program on Water & Climate. Margaret Catley-Carlson (Patron Global Water Partnership Canada) and Glen T. Daigger (former chairman of the International Water Association) worked with stakeholders in Flanders, aiming to formulate long term policy objectives for Flanders and beyond. On June 17th they present their findings. National and international experts respond and nurture the debate about climate and future water management.


1 Registration 09:00 - 09:30
2 Opening 09:30 - 10:00
Hubert Bocken, KVAB (speaker)
Willy Verstraete, KVAB, Coordinator of the Thinkers Program (speaker)
3 Thinkers Report 10:00 - 10:45
Maggie Catley-Carlson, Thinker in Residence (speaker)
Glen Daigger, Thinker in Residence (speaker)
Erik Mathijs, KU Leuven (chair)
Caroline Van Steendam, Associate Thinker in Residence (speaker)
4 Coffee Break 10:45 - 11:15
5 Responding to Govenance Issues 11:15 - 12:00
Erik Mathijs, KU Leuven (chair)
5.1 European perspectives on water management
Hans Bruyninckx, European Environment Agency (speaker)
5.2 Water as key resource for cities
Jacqueline Cramer, Former Dutch Minister of Environment and Spatial Planning (speaker)
5.3 How Wise is the Integrated Water Policy in Flanders
Philippe D'Hondt, Flanders Environment Agency (speaker)
6 Responding to Science & Technical Issues 12:00 - 13:00
Joos Vandewalle, KVAB (chair)
6.1 Intelligent Water Systems
Iven Mareels, University of Melbourne (speaker)

6.2 The Blue Cluster: a project with guts
Frank Verschraegen, DEME (speaker)
6.3 The agro-food system wise with water
Erik Mathijs, KU Leuven (speaker)
6.4 Sustainable coast & delta zone development
Ronald Waterman, Building with Nature (speaker)
7 Lunch 13:00 - 14:00
8 Youth and water awareness 14:00 - 14:45
Maarten Desmet, For Good (speaker)
Korneel Rabaey, Jonge Academie, UGent (speaker)
Ilse Smets, (chair)
Samuel Van de Vijver, UAntwerpen (speaker)
Caroline Van Steendam, Associate Thinker in Residence (chair)
Arne Verliefde, Paint, UGent (speaker)

Ilse Smets and Caroline Van Steendam present young water professionals pitching potential game changers for the future.

9 Key Water Management Issues in Flanders 14:45 - 15:45
Willy Bauwens, VUB (speaker)
Jos Boere, KWR (speaker)
Jeroen Buysse, UGent (speaker)
Marc Despiegelaere, Protos (speaker)
Rudy Gotzen, Boerenbond (speaker)
Ann Overmeire, POM West-Vlaanderen (speaker)
Jan Seys, VLIZ, Flanders marine institute (speaker)
Dirk Van der Stede, VITO/VLAKWA (speaker)
Wim Van Gils, Natuurpunt (speaker)
Marnik Vanclooster, UCLouvain (speaker)
Willy Verstraete, KVAB (chair)
Tom Williams, IWA (speaker)

Experts on water management pitch their message on stage:

10 Pro-Action Café 15:45 - 17:30

Drinks & discussion groups - participants may choose two tables. Coordinators report back to the plenary.

  • Too much & too little: better preparation for flood and water shortages
    Coordinators: Ilse Smets and Ingmar Nopens
  • Coastal defenses: standing up to nature or building with it
    Coordinators: Jean Berlamont and Frank Verschraegen
  • Organizing Agriculture to enhance Ecosystem Services
    Coordinators: Patrick Meire and Jeroen Buysse
  • Water & resilience
    Coordinators: Erik Mathijs and Luuk Boelens
  • Outside the box!
    Coordinator: Arne Verliefde

11 Closing 17:30 - 17:45
Jan Peumans, Chairman Flemish Parliament Climate Commission (speaker)


12 Network Reception 17:45 - 18:45