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.