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Daily Dutch News in English

The Netherlands leads the field in water for development

Minister for European Affairs and International Cooperation Ben Knapen wants companies, knowledge institutions and civil society organisations to join the government in tackling water problems in developing countries. Today, on World Water Day, he launched the Sustainable Water Fund.

With its Football for Water, Sanitation and Hygiene initiative, the KNVB (Royal Dutch Football Association) has made a flying start. This programme will provide pupils at 1,100 schools in Ghana, Mozambique and Kenya with toilets and clean drinking water. The football programme which is also part of the initiative will focus on the importance of hygiene. The other parties to this public-private partnership are UNICEF, Simavi, Vitens Evides, Aqua for All and AKVO. ‘This is a first-rate example of public-private cooperation,’ said Mr Knapen. ‘On the football pitch every player is needed to score goals. Partnerships like this one are the future.’

There are many organisations, companies and NGOs in the Netherlands with enough expertise and interest in water to contribute to clean drinking water, efficient use of water in farming and safe coastal areas and deltas. By launching the Sustainable Water Fund, Mr Knapen is not only encouraging cooperation between experts, but is also generating more private investment for development cooperation. In the case of the KNVB’s public-private partnership, the government will contribute €3.4 million a year on average in the first four years, and the private partners will double that amount. After that, the project should be able to run without government funding. Mr Knapen is counting on more good plans. ‘If I’m right, around 40 parties are already drafting project proposals. I have high expectations of them.’