Between 23 and 26 April more than 31,000 professionals from all over the world visited WBI 2013 to find out about innovative products, adapted services and individual approaches in all fields of water management. The network of the export-oriented German water management and research, German Water Partnership (GWP) presented itself together with 20 member companies very impressively at a joint booth and at the diverse supporting programme.
During the official tour of the fair, the German Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development Dirk Niebel, Melanie Schultz von Haegen (Dutch Minister of Infrastructure and the Environment) and Dr Abdelkawi Khalifa (Egyptian Minister for Water and Wastewater Utilities) were very impressed by the extraordinary presentation of German Water Partnership. During talks with various members, the guests convinced themselves of the expertise in German water management GWP pools under its roof.
At the 400 sqm GWP joint booth many individual visitors and groups showed interest in the products and services of the member companies and kept the exhibitors busy. International delegations of water professionals from Belarus, Bulgaria, East Africa, the MENA region, Mongolia, Romania, Russia, Singapore and the US came to find out about the activities of GWP and took part in guided tours about the products and services of the member companies.
The delegation from the US convinced itself of the German water expertise during a sourcing tour funded by the German Ministry of Education and Research. One stop of the journey was Berlin. GWP was happy to welcome the delegation of experts and organised an information meeting, a subject-specific tour and individual meetings dealing with relevant issues.
With ACWUA (Arab Countries Water Utilities Association), as the partner of WBI 2013, and GWP the countries of the Middle East were in the focus of attention. This was reflected by various activities and events: Within the framework of the well-attended International Forum German Water Partnership hosted three excellent sessions about water markets in the Arab region: Morocco, Egypt/Tunisia and Saudi Arabia. Experts from GWP and its partner organisations discussed the challenges and opportunities of participation of German companies and institutions, in order to jointly develop solutions for water management.
One highlight of the GWP activities surely was the Arab Forum within the context of the congress, presented by GWP and ACWUA. More than eighty international participants met to exchange information and experience. Dr Azmi Ghneim, advisor for the Arab region at the GWP head office, presented the all-day event. High-ranking representatives of the region took part in the forum: Dr Abdel Qawi Khalifa, Egyptian Minister of Water and Waste Water Utilities, Abd Al-Salam Razaz, Yemeni Minister of Water and Environment and Dr Latif Rashid, advisor of the Iraqi president. The Arab representatives explained the current situation and the need for sustainable water management in the Arab region. The Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit GIZ gave an overview of present activities and current cooperation in the various countries. Several GWP members like Dorsch International Consultants and Lahmeyer GKW Consult presented project references, impressively showing the comprehensive German competence in water management.
Representatives of both national and international specialist publications visited the GWP joint booth. As a special highlight, Tom Freyberg, editor-in-chief of “Water & Wastewater International” interviewed GWP representatives: Member of the Board Dieter Ernst spoke about the achievements of GWP and its cooperation with international partners and put emphasize on the know-how pooled in the network and ready to meet the challenges of international water management. Dr Azmi Ghneim, project manager of the WEB-TT project, explained the objectives of and activities within the project and gave an account of an expert workshop successfully held in the run-up of the trade fair where about thirty participants, among them many high-ranking international representatives, discussed the need for a comprehensive approach in order to implement measures for sustainable water management: adapted transfer of technology has to be accompanied by sustainable transfer of education.
The Russia Special „Water supply and waste water disposal – current market developments in the Russian Federation was hosted by GWP, Messe Berlin and the Committee on Eastern European Economic Relations. Bernd Zacharias, Head of the GWP Regional Section Russia, presented the event. The event dealt with the current situation and the prospects of water management in the Russian Federation and discussed opportunities of cooperation with German companies, especially with small and medium enterprises in the field of water supply and waste water disposal. It became clear that the issue of energy efficiency is becoming more and more important. Other focal points of the discussion were transfer of technology and administrative regulations in the Russian Federation.
At the event "Water cooperation in Central Asia – prospects and opportunities for the involvement of German business" about 50 participants from German companies of the water sector discussed with delegates of the target countries how German companies can become involved more closely in local projects of water management. Speakers from the countries in question presented current and future water projects. Apart from technology transfer the main emphasis was put on the necessity of common strategies.
As a tradition more than one hundred guests from all four corners of the world got together on Thursday to have a chat and make or intensify contacts at the GWP joint booth.
Conclusion: international attention for Wasser Berlin International has clearly increased; it maintains its position in the world of trade fairs and congresses particularly due to the international supporting programme and the high-quality congress organised jointly by the professional associations. The partnership with ACWUA surely improved the image of the trade fair. The diversity and the quality of the foreign visitors was remarkable, the receptions of delegations extraordinarily successful. And another important aspect became obvious: the high regard in which water management is held by society.
Picture: The visitors found many innovations for the German water sector at the GWP joint booth. (Source: GWP)
Source: German Water Partnership