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Internal Event

Designing In Water
PART 01 of 03
Designing Water and Policy

March 23, 2023 8:00 AM – 9:15 AM

UNHQ Side Event Room C
405 East 42nd Street, New York, NY 10017
UNHQ Registered Participants Welcome on a first come first serve basis

Bringing together government leaders of multiple countries/cities who are host to urban and rural archipelagos and whose dense urban areas are on islands or coasts subjecting their populations to immediate climate-based threats, as well as representatives from international financial institutions, local and international design organizations, this panel will allow each participant to share commitments to prioritize design in adaptive, nature-based projects/solutions for water safety, access, quality and delivery, using the result of Rebuild by Design and Water as Leverage as examples.

Considering the pivotal moment we are in, where climate adaptation is critical in the coming decade, how design has played a role in the projects comprising these panelist’s past experience is equally important to how it might play a role going forward. The eight speakers represent three key sectors from policy, to finance, to design. They are experienced in supporting, steering and developing projects that include aspects of water harnessing, water safety and/or water access. 

  • What are the lessons learned from past projects?
  • What are the challenges ahead? 
  • How does design play a role in that future?


  • Moderator:  René van Hell  – Ambassador of Sustainable Development and Director of Inclusive Growth, Ministry of Foreign Affairs Netherlands.
  • Welcome: David Erdman  – Director Center for Climate Adaptation and Chair Graduate Architecture and Urban Design Pratt Institute
  • Opening Remarks: Heather Polinsky – Resilience Global President, Arcadis 


  • Ahmed Aboutaleb – Mayor Rotterdam
  • Angela Licata – Deputy Commissioner Sustainability, Department of Environmental Protection, New York City
  • Rodrigo Sanhueza – General Director of Water, Chilean Government
  • Michael Toh – Director of the Industry and Technology Collaboration Department, Public Utilities Board (PUB), Singapore.
  • Allison Woodruff  – Principal Water Security Specialist,, Asia Development Bank
  • Fan Zhang – Lead Economist, and Global Lead for Water, Economy, and Climate Change, World Bank.
  • Amy Chester – Managing Director, Rebuild by Design
  • Dennis van Peppen – Director International Water Programmes, Netherlands Enterprise and Development Agency/RVO

Partners and Sponsors:

Host: Pratt Institute 
Co-Hosts: Rebuild by Design + Water as Leverage
Academic Partners: University of Pennsylvania, Harvard University, Anant National University, Singapore University of Technology and Design, Universidad Del Desarrollo, Pace University.
Industry Partners: Arcadis, Egis, IDC 
Sponsors: Arcadis, Inhabit, Egis, BIG, Center for Climate Adaptation (Pratt Institute), The McHarg Center (U Penn)