Henk Ovink to advise US Secretary Donovan

Acting Director-General of Spatial Planning and Water Affairs Henk Ovink is joining the Hurricane Sandy Rebuilding Taskforce. In his capacity of Senior Advisor, Mr Ovink will be advising Shaun Donovan, US Secretary of Housing and Urban Development.

The Hurricane Sandy Rebuilding Taskforce is coordinating the rebuilding of the areas in New York and New Jersey that were hit by Sandy last November. The taskforce has a complex job to do. It ensures that the federal government provides the resources necessary for the rebuilding. Regarding the rebuilding of the outdated infrastructure, in his executive order establishing the taskforce President Barack Obama stated that:”[...] the Taskforce shall [...] understand current vulnerabilities and future risks from extreme weather events”.  The Task Force is also charged with outlining a vision for the future and advising on climate resilient building and what needs to be arranged to that end in terms of administration, financing and legislation.

Mr Ovink will take up his position on 1 April. Last Monday, Minister Schultz van Haegen and Secretary Donovan signed a Memorandum of Understanding pledging more intensive collaboration between the Netherlands and the US on sustainable and integrated planning, and water management infrastructure.
Minister Schultz’s response to Mr Ovink’s appointment was one of pride. ‘This appointment is proof that Dutch knowledge of and expertise in water affairs is held in very high regard internationally. We are happy to share this knowledge and know-how with our American colleagues who are currently working on improving their defences against water. We are coming with our knowledge, but we also hope to bring new knowledge back with us. That is how we remain at the forefront.’
Henk Ovink is leaving his position of acting Director-General of Spatial Planning and Water Affairs at the Ministry of Infrastructure  & the Environment.