In the coming years, the Netherlands will contribute more to the development of water management in Myanmar, the country’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said.
Lilianne Ploumen, the minister for foreign trade and development cooperation, said the ministry will make extra funding available for the exchange of knowledge, capacity building and the appointment of a Dutch water coordinator.
Ploumen said this following a two-day visit by Myanmar president U Thein Sein last week.
The Netherlands and Myanmar have worked together in the field of water management for some years now. Since January, a Dutch Risk Reduction Team has been carrying out a strategic delta study in Myanmar to explore flood prevention strategies.
The extra contribution of €3 million will be used, among other things, to develop water management models and train Myanmar officials.
“Myanmar is among the countries hardest hit by water disasters in recent years,” the minister said.
“It is in great need of help in the field of water management. Our experts and businesses have the necessary expertise to assist.”
Ploumen attended a roundtable discussion with President Thein Sein and Dutch CEOs, and also talked to Myanmar foreign minister, Wanna Maung Lwin. During these talks she stressed the importance of further democratic reforms, respect for human rights and a lasting truce between government forces and the various armed groups.
“In a short space of time Myanmar has made an impressive transition from a dictatorship to a country of greater democracy,” she said. “But these are still early days. It is important that the government involve all ethnic groups in this process and protect the rights of minorities.”
Ploumen visited Myanmar last year with a business delegation to promote trade relations, while she also opened a new trade office in Yangon. Opportunities for Dutch businesses in Myanmar lie primarily in the fields of water, infrastructure and agro-food.
In May 2013 and June 2014, the Minister of Infrastructure and the Environment, Melanie Schultz van Haegen, visited Myanmar to further strengthen water cooperation.