Kitty van der Heijden
WRI Europe Director
WRI Europe enjoys a strong bond and shares common goals with many European governments and institutions. The Institute's small presence based in The Hague aims to strengthen our European partnerships and share WRI’s vision and strategy. WRI Europe became a legally independent entity in February 2016, enhancing access to EU tenders and grants. In November, the team welcomed a new manager for European Partnerships.
WRI’s Global Board Meeting in The Netherlands in March 2016 provided an opportunity to forge new relationships at all levels, from ministers to mayors, CEOs to civil society representatives and from foundations to other funders. Discussions with private sector leaders, including the CEOs of Unilever, DSM and AkzoNobel, offered new perspectives for WRI’s work on accelerating the transition to a circular economy.
Throughout the year, WRI Europe worked to deepen relations with core partners. A highlight was our annual meeting with European bilateral partners, where we examined feedback from a comprehensive external review and sought input on our five-year strategic plan. WRI Europe also facilitated high-level exchanges with European experts and leaders, supported the Adaptation Futures Conference—a centerpiece of the Netherlands’ EU Presidency—and organized a high-level session on natural resource challenges and security risks during the Future Forces Conference, a conclave of 1,000 leaders and experts on the future of the security sector. We also welcomed DOB Ecology as a new donor to Resource Watch, an online global data system designed to drive sustainable natural resource management.