Each month we’ll feature someone from the ICCA Association Community and ask them to share their vision, mission, thoughts and feelings about the work they do… and the kind of people they are.
This will help give members real insight into the heart of our association community… and the people they wish to connect with. This month Ignacio Deregibus, Deputy Executive Director of the IWRA-International Water Resources Association
Please explain to us in a few sentences, what does IWRA do?
The International Water Resources Association (IWRA) is a multi-disciplinary, multisectoral international network connecting professionals, students, policy-makers, corporations and institutions on water resources. IWRA is a non-profit, non-governmental, member based Association established in 1971. It provides a global, knowledge and research based forum working at the interface of science and policy for the sustainable use and management of the world’s water resources. It uses events, projects, publications and activities to provide a leading platform to advance the understanding and management of water resources by bridging geographies, disciplines and levels, to exchange, share and generate more opportunities and collaboration, globally.
Why did you join the ICCA Association Community?
I was invited several times to attend various ICCA events and meetings back in 2019 and 2020 but never managed to attend one. However, with change in positions as a Deputy Executive Director, and provided we organise events - the World Water Congress being IWRA's flagship event held every two years, and the biggest worldwide linking water researchers with policy practitioners - I started to join very informative and productive ICCA workshops and forums, as well as Chapter meetings. I must admit getting out of the water box and meeting such an energetic and enthusiastic crowd of professionals and Association colleagues, made me much welcomed to the ICCA family!
Interesting facts about IWRA?
A first interesting fact is when IWRA was founded back in 1971. Following the interest and high motivation of the members of the American Water Resources Association (AWRA), which wanted to work globally, we became an international Association - becoming one of the first water organisations in the world. More recently, it is worth highlighting that the 1994 IWRA World Water Congress in Cairo resulted in the resolution creating the World Water Council, or that in 2008 the process of organising the Congress helped the city of Montpellier create the critical mass and local synergy needed among water stakeholders that eventually gave rise to the newly created National French Water Cluster. Another key moment was in 2015, when the international spotlight and momentum that the Congress brought to Scotland helped to come up with an ambitious Hydro Nation programme. And, only last year, IWRA became the winner of the 2022 ICCA-BestCities Incredible Impacts Award & Grant, which will provide financial support to young representatives from local communities all around the world to better their water resources challenges and priorities!
One fun fact: what would be your alternative career if not being the Deputy Executive Director at IWRA?
When trying to decide my bachelor studies my life gravitated all around rugby. Rugby training in the field during night-time, gym sessions, video sessions, diets, etc. I took and played this sport very seriously, and when I looked at the career and university options I remember I was obsessed with timetables and making all rugby commitments fit. This is why I didn't choose to be a Film Director - since the only available courses were at night, so I went on and pursued my studies as morning Politologist.
What is your top tip to other association professionals going into 2023?
Geopolitics have significantly changed how we look into the future today. Change is inevitable and moving much faster than expected. So, being prepared to adapt quickly, taking small or significant, bold steps in a participatory way, and offering new services/ products as a result, is the smartest thing to do and the road to success in my humble opinion.
What is the most unusual and exciting place you have organized and/or attended a professional event?
The first that comes to my mind are the Faroes Islands! Went there for a professional event right before the pandemic in 2020 and everything was shut down, and it is really an unusual, mind blowing place full of incredible landscapes, unique history, location and friendly people. Even food, venues and accommodation are spectacular. A must place to visit, partner up and engage with!