Henk Ovink was appointed in 2015 by the Dutch Cabinet as the first Special Envoy for International Water Affairs. As the Ambassador for Water, he is responsible for advocating water awareness around the world, building institutional capacity and coalitions amongst governments, multilateral organizations, private sector and NGO’s, and initiating innovate approaches to address the world's stressing needs on water. “Worldwide, water is the number one global risk, the connecting challenge across the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and our best opportunity for inclusive and comprehensive action!”
Ovink is also Sherpa to the UN / World Bank High Level Panel on Water.
Henk Ovink served on President Obama’s Hurricane Sandy Rebuilding Task Force where he led the long term innovation, resilience and rebuilding efforts. He developed and led the ‘Rebuild by Design’ competition and initiated the National Disaster Resilience Competition. Before joining the Task Force Ovink was both Acting Director General of Spatial Planning and Water Affairs and Director National Spatial Planning for the Netherlands.
Henk teaches at Harvard GSD, the London School of Economics and the University of Groningen.
His book - written together with Jelte Boeijenga - “Too Big. Rebuild by Design: A Transformative Approach to Climate Change” explores his climate and water work for the Obama Administration.
In January 2018 Henk Ovink was awarded for his ‘transformative global water work’ an honorary membership from the Royal Instítute of Engineers of the Netherlands. At the World Urban Forum in February 2020 Henk was awarded the IHS Urban Professional Award 2020.