Dutch minister advocates more funds for prevention water-related disasters
On 24 and 25 June, Dutch Minister Cora van Nieuwenhuizen of Infrastructure and Water Management attended a special United Nations session on flood disasters, and a High Level Experts and Leaders Panel meeting on Water and Disasters (HELP). Within the UN context, she traditionally made a case for preventative measures to boost flood protection.
Spare no effort
“It’s our duty to do everything in our power to mitigate the impact of water-related disasters. And we must spare no effort”, said Minister Van Nieuwenhuizen, addressing the HELP meeting in New York. “The most important is to keep looking ahead and adapting to changing circumstances. Continued attention to flood prevention and financing are crucial”, she continued.
The HELP-panel took the opportunity of the meeting to present its Principles on Investment and Financing.
Mixing green, blue and grey infrastructure
High on the agenda is the introduction of green (meadows, forests and parks) and blue (lakes, swamps and peatlands) infrastructure, which can be combined with grey (levees and sea walls) infrastructure for more cost-effectiveness flood preparedness.
To reduce the impacts of water-related disasters, investments are considered in ecosystem restoration and protection, with particular focus on lakes, swamps and peatlands.
“Financing is crucial”, commented Dutch Minister Van Nieuwenhuizen. “Because we can design as many projects and programmes as we like, but without funding none of them will be able to get off the ground.”
She explained that prevention is far less expensive than disaster recovery. “Investing in resilience means investing in the future. Now especially, as risks are on the rise, it’s time to change our approach and become proactive instead of reactive.”
Read the full speech by Dutch Minister Van Nieuwenhuizen.
The United Nations High-Level Expert and Leaders Panel on Water and Disaster (HELP) was convened in 2007, under the presidency of Dr. Han Seung-soo, Prime Minister of the Republic of Korea.
The panel aims to continue the global dialogue and maintain a high level of awareness on the issues of water and disasters.
The HELP includes 32 members and advisors. Dutch Minister Van Nieuwenhuizen is vice-chair since November last year when she succeeded former Dutch Minister Melanie Schultz-Van Haegen.