Dutch Minister Schultz van Haegen (Infrastructure & the Environment) will pay a working visit to Washington and New York on 4 to 6 March.
The aim of the visit is to take stock of how the Netherlands and the US can strengthen their cooperation regarding water defences. On 5 March, the Minister will visit Hoboken and Jersey City, areas that were flooded due to Hurricane Sandy last November. On 6 March, she will speak at the United Nations Special Thematic Session on Water and Disasters.
Minister Schultz: “Although different in scale, the landscapes of the Netherlands and New York have much in common. Both are river deltas with rivers, estuaries and basins. The Netherlands has a long history of water management. However, I don’t just want to provide expertise, I also want to learn about the American approach.”
In Washington, Minister Schultz and her American colleague Shaun Donovan (Secretary of Housing and Urban Development) will sign a Memorandum of Understanding that sets down agreements on sharing knowledge and experiences in the field of water safety. Companies including Royal HaskoningDHV, Fugro, Arcadis, Deltares, Dutch Water Design, Tygron and Palmbout Urban Landscapes will be participating in part of the visit. The municipality of Rotterdam and the Netherlands Water Partnership (NWP) will also be represented.
The water disasters of the past decade – that have not only occurred more frequently but have also been more severe than in the past – have led the UN to organise a special conference. The aim is to raise the awareness of citizens, share experiences and discuss global action. The Netherlands was invited due to its reputation in the field of water safety.
On Monday 4 March, Minister Schultz will meet with Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Shaun Donovan in Washington. There will be a press conference afterwards. The Minister will then travel by train to New York. On Tuesday 5 March, she will chair closed round-table talks at which Dutch and American companies will share experiences. That afternoon the Minister will visit Hoboken and Jersey City which were hit hard by Sandy, and she will speak with local organisations that are involved in the rebuilding project. In the evening, the Minister will attend a closed reception at the United Nations.
The United Nations Special Thematic Session on Water and Disasters will take place on Wednesday 6 March. Speakers include UN Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon, His Royal Highness the Prince of Orange, Crown Prince Naruhito of Japan, Minister Schultz and high-ranking officials from Thailand, Egypt and Indonesia.
Source: Dutch government