dws-schultz-help-vice-chair-opening-iww-770px-1Dutch minister Melanie Schultz van Haegen of Infrastructure and the Environment has been appointed Vice Chairman of the High Level Experts and Leaders Panel on Water and Disasters (HELP).

Schultz was nominated by the current chairman of HELP, the former prime minister of South Korea, Han Seung-soo.

Dutch knowledge and experience
Schultz welcomed her appointment . "The number of water-related disasters is increasing and the damage, both material but also in number of people's lives - is increasing. The Netherlands has the world a lot to offer when it comes down to knowledge and experience with water management. I cannot and will not wait and watch the effects of floods, droughts, hurricanes and tsunamis to increase. Noblesse oblige, for that matter."

dws-schultz-help-visit-myanmar-350pxMinister Schultz visiting Myanmar in May 2013.

Building smarter
Schultz : "Nature is stronger than man. But we can try to limit the consequences of natural disasters. Not only with dikes and large dams, but also by building smarter, by giving nature more space and by making proper evacuation plans. If we combine international expertise, we can make a difference."

The panel aims to reduce flood hazard. It's main task is to get  the prevention of water-related disasters on the international agenda and help with practical, innovative solutions. The panel is an advisory committee to Secretary-general Ban Ki -Moon of the United Nations and is affiliated to UNSGAB , the United Nations Secretary - Generals' Advisory Board on Water and Sanitation.

About minister Schultz
As State Secretary for Transport, Public Works and Water Management Melanie Schultz van Haegen became responsible for the Dutch national water management for the first time in 2002. In 2007 she left politics to return again in 2010 as Minister of Infrastructure and the Environment.

In 2012 she was again reappointed in her current position as Minister of Infrastructure and the Environment, this time again with the portfolio policy for the national water management.

This news item was originally published on the website of the Dutch ministry of infrastructure and environment (in Dutch only).

(top photo: Minister Schultz during the opening ceremony of the International Water Week Amsterdam on 4 November 2013)

Also read on minister Schultz on this website
IWW/Aquatech: Collective call for integrated water solutions at opening ceremony, 5 November 2013
H2O9 Forum New York: Minister Schultz urges to keep all flood protection options open, 9 September 2013
Better flood and drought preparedness urged by high-level UN session on water-related disasters, 7 March 2013

More information
UNSGAB water and disaster
New York, USA

Ministry of Infrastructure and environment
The Hague, the Netherlands