Henk Ovink was appointed by the Dutch Cabinet as the first Special Envoy for International
Water Affairs (2015). As the Ambassador for Water, he is responsible for advocating water
awareness around the world, focusing on building institutional capacity and coalitions among
governments, multilateral organizations, the private sector and NGO’s to address the world’s
stressing needs on water and help initiate transformative interventions.
Ovink is also Sherpa to the High-Level Panel on Water, installed by UN Secretary-General
Ban Ki Moon and President of the World Bank Jim Kim with 10 Heads of State / Heads of
Government including Prime Minister Rutte from The Netherlands to catalyze change in
water awareness and implementation.
Henk is Principal for Rebuild by Design, the resilience innovation competition he developed
and led for President Obama's Hurricane Sandy Rebuilding Task Force where he was Senior
Advisor to the Chair. He has been Director General for Planning and Water Affairs and
Director for National Spatial Planning in The Netherlands.
Ovink teaches at the London School of Economics and at Harvard GSD and is a member of the
International Advisory Board for the City of Rotterdam. He was Curator for the 5th
International Architecture Biennale Rotterdam 2012 ‘Making City’, and curated the debate
series ‘Design and Politics: the next phase’ for Aedes network Campus Berlin. He initiated
the research program and is chief editor of the series of publications with NAI010 Publishers
on Design and Politics.