Dutch expertise to help limit impact of water disasters

Over the next two years, the Dutch government and business sector will finance a €2.4-million-a-year programme to provide other countries with advice and expertise on limiting the impact of water disasters. The Dutch Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation, Lilianne Ploumen, and the Minister of Infrastructure and the Environment Melanie Schultz announced this decision on the eve of World Water Day, 22 March 2013.

Water expertise

The programme will allow the Dutch government and water industry to respond jointly to high-risk situations by providing capacity for rapidly deployable expert missions.

In 2025, almost two-thirds of the world population will be living in areas where water is scarce. In 2050, two billion people will be living in areas liable to flooding. ‘In developing countries especially,’ says Ms Ploumen, ‘like Burma, Mozambique and Bangladesh, we can already see how the most vulnerable are hit hardest by water disasters. The authorities in those countries come knocking on our door because the Netherlands is well known for its expertise in this field. But we also attract interest from authorities in richer countries, like the United States.’

Ms Ploumen comments: ‘The benefits of this new programme are twofold. It will enable us to match countries rapidly with experts who can explore structural and sustainable solutions from a perspective that embraces people, the environment and the economy. In addition, it will improve economic opportunities for the Dutch companies, allowing them to showcase their ability to provide expert advice – with development money where necessary and otherwise without.’

Source: Government of the Netherlands