Ms Schultz: business mission to Colombia a success
Last week, Minister Schultz van Haegen (Infrastructure and the Environment) strengthened cooperation with Colombia in the field of integrated water management. She was accompanied by a delegation representing fifteen Dutch companies during her visit. In addition to expanding existing good relations, the aim of the mission was to provide a clearer picture of what the Dutch business community could contribute to assignments arising from the Colombian government’s infrastructure programme.
Minister Schultz: ‘Over these past days, it was very constructive to be in Colombia with fifteen Dutch companies that are eager to put into practice their expertise in the field of water management and infrastructure. We were involved in many important talks and we signed cooperation agreements. This mission has further intensified our good relations with Colombia and opened doors for the Dutch business community.’
Several partnership agreements were signed during the trip, including with the Colombian Minister of Housing, in the areas of drinking water, sanitation and waste management. Deltares signed an agreement with the Institute of Hydrology, Meteorology and Environmental Studies (IDEAM). Agreements were also made with the World Bank to increase its involvement in projects the Netherlands carries out in Colombia.
The Netherlands Water Partnership (NWP) signed a declaration of intent with ACODAL, a large company that focuses on clean water. The NWP also signed an extension of a partnership agreement to which three areas were added: coastal protection and development, ports, and multimodal transport. Furthermore, the Fluvial Master Plan was officially presented.
In Colombia, Minister Schultz also spoke at length with the Colombian Minister of Transport who was particularly interested in how the Netherlands approaches multimodal transport, in which transport by road, rail and water are linked. Colombia is keen to stimulate water transport.
In 2010/2011, Colombia was hit by severe floods. Consequently, since 2011, Colombia and the Netherlands have been collaborating intensively on a number of projects, including a Coastal Defence Master Plan and the Room for the River project for the Cauca River. Dutch dredging companies are also carrying out several projects. In addition, Colombia is one of the initiators of the Delta Coalition, together with the Netherlands and Japan. This partnership of “low-lying countries” is aimed at making vulnerable deltas a higher priority on international agendas.