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Daily Dutch News in English

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. Lilianne Ploumen (Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation) and Melanie Schultz van Haegen (Minister of Infrastructure and the Environment) announced this decision on the eve of World Water Day (22 March 2013).

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 Schultz adds: ‘We’ve noticed that countries prone to flooding always seek help from the Netherlands first, but then tend to enter into partnerships with other countries that have a budget for assistance in this area. This programme will enable us to deploy our expertise and companies at an earlier stage.’

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: Dutch government