Minister Schultz signs agreement on water treatment project in Vietnam

Minister Schultz van Haegen of Infrastructure and the Environment today signed an agreement on the construction of a sewage treatment plant that will purify the wastewater of 174,000 people.  Vietnam and the Netherlands also signed new cooperation agreements on making cities climate resilient and training Vietnamese water professionals.

Since 2010, the Netherlands and Vietnam have had a strategic agreement in this area. Vietnam is a leader in translating the Dutch delta approach for use abroad. The Netherlands is advising Vietnam on, among other things, a sustainable long-term approach for the Mekong Delta and Ho Chi Minh City. The Mekong Delta is one of the world’s most vulnerable in terms of the consequences of climate change. Seventeen million people live there. Ho Chi Minh City too is dealing with the effects of climate change such as heavy rainfall, drought and flooding. The delta city is home to some eight million people.

Get the job done

Ms Schultz: ‘The cooperation agreement between the Netherlands and Vietnam sets an example for the world. The Mekong Delta Plan in particular is attracting a lot of attention from delta countries like Bangladesh and Myanmar as well as international partners like the World Bank. It is now time to put the plans into action, commence the project and get the job done.’

Water management

On 30 and 31 March, Minister Schultz visited Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. In Hanoi she had talks with  Deputy Prime Minister Phuc, Minister Quang of Natural Resources and Environment, and Minister Phat of Agriculture and Rural Development. The talks focused on the progress of the cooperation in the areas of water management and climate adaptation.

In addition, Ms Schultz talked with the People’s Committees of three provinces regarding the progress of three other projects in Vietnam in the fields of water supplies and water treatment. These three projects involve Dutch government aid to the amount of 25 million euros.  Ms Schultz also talked about the problem of coastal erosion with Deputy Minister Thang of Agriculture and Rural Development, who is responsible for water safety. The Dutch method of sand replenishment can provide solutions in this regard. Minister Schultz also had talks with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) representative in Vietnam, as well as with the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank.  The World Bank already has a 300-million-dollar project under development which flows directly from the Mekong Delta Plan that was jointly drawn up by Vietnam and the Netherlands.

Historic drought

On 31 March, Minister Schultz spoke to the new Ho Chi Minh City People’s Committee. She was accompanied by representatives of the municipality of Rotterdam, the Dutch Water Authorities, Vitens Evides International, and Grontmij. All these parties are working with Ho Chi Minh City on sustainable water management solutions. On account of the historic drought in the south of Vietnam, Ms Schultz spoke about the way in which the Netherlands deals with drought and saltwater intrusion, for example at the reservoirs in the Biesbosch area. The municipality of Rotterdam presented the results of the cooperation between the two delta cities in the area of climate adaptation.