Henk W. J. Ovink

Senior Fellow, World Resources Institute

Henk W.J. Ovink was appointed by the Cabinet of the Netherlands as the first Special Envoy for International Water Affairs in 2015. As the Ambassador for Water, he was responsible for advocating water awareness around the world, focusing on building institutional capacity and coalitions among governments, multilateral organizations, the private sector and NGOs to address the world’s pressing water needs and help initiate transformative interventions.

Prior to that, he served as senior advisor to U.S. Secretary for Housing and Urban Development Shaun Donovan in his role as Chair of the Hurricane Sandy Rebuilding Task Force, where Ovink was responsible for the long-term planning strategy, the regional design competition ‘REBUILD BY DESIGN’ and the connected planning conference. He worked on the Task Force’s legacy process, the regional resilience science center, regional infrastructure coordination and the overall Task Force Strategy. Before joining the Task Force, Ovink was both Director General Spatial Planning and Water Affairs, and Director National Spatial Planning for the Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment in the Netherlands.

Ovink is a member of the advisory boards of The Berlage Institute, the UK School of Design, Delft University of Technology Faculty of Architecture and the Master City Developer Rotterdam. He was curator of the 5th International Architecture Biennale Rotterdam ‘Making City’ and curator of the ANCB Berlin debate series ‘Design&Politics: the next phase.’ He lectures and publishes on the change of government, governance and planning as well as on the specific relationship between design and politics.