The Vietnamese Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinn visited the Netherlands last December along with a delegation from 11 Vietnamese ministries. The Ministry of infrastructure and Water Management welcomed Minister Ha of Natural Resources and Environment (MoNRE) and Minister Hoan of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) to strengthen the long-lasting collaboration on climate change adaptation and water management between the Netherlands and Vietnam.
The two countries have a longstanding and successful collaboration. In 2010, both nations signed a strategic partnership arrangement on climate change adaptation and water management. This led to the Mekong Delta Plan, a comprehensive strategy for the sustainable development of the delta region, financed through the Partners for Water program and finalized in 2013. This plan was further developed in the Mekong Delta Integrated Regional Plan, which was formally adopted by the Vietnamese Prime Minister in 2022. The two governments continue to collaborate on implementing the plan, through programs like Partners for Water and in coordination with different development partners, like the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank.
An important outcome of the visit was a bilateral consultation with Minister Ha and director-general Jaap Slootmaker from the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management. They discussed important issues for water management in Vietnam, like offshore sand mining and the use of nature-based solutions. In the presence of the two prime ministers Rutte and Chinh, a Joint Cooperation Plan (JCP) was signed between the two ministries to continue working together on sustainable water management in the Mekong Delta and the development of Nature-based Solutions projects. In the JCP, Vietnam indicated its desire to become a member of the International Panel on Deltas and Coastal Zones (IPDC), which is chaired by the Netherlands minister of Infrastructure and Water Management, and to participate in the UN Water Conference in March 2023 together with the Netherlands.
This bilateral consultation was a valuable run-up for the Intergovernmental Committee Meeting that is planned for June this year to discuss the implementation of activities under the Strategic Partnership Agreement (SPA) on climate change adaptation and water management between the Netherlands and Vietnam.
The Vietnamese delegation was invited on a field visit to different locations showcasing water safety and nature based solutions. One of them was the Sand Motor in Kijkduin. The Sand Motor is a unique experiment that uses ocean currents, wind, and waves to gradually spread the sand along the coast and into the dunes. The aim is to reinforce the coastline long-term. It is an innovative approach to coastal maintenance, using nature to distribute the sand to the right places. The artificial sand bank was reached after a slippery walk through the dunes, and the delegation learned more about how the Netherlands protects its coastline.
Additionally, the delegation visited the Maeslantkering. This forward barrier at the Hoek van Holland protects the inhabitants of South Holland in case of extremely high-water events. The storm surge barrier is controlled fully automatically, and it has the largest moveable parts you can find in a flood defense. The delegation was delighted and inspired by this impressive water management technique.
Both the minister of Natural Resources and Environment and the minister of Agriculture and Rural Development were inspired by the different water management techniques and knowledge of the Dutch water sector. New knowledge and insights about working with nature are taken back to Vietnam. Plans are made to work together on the improvement of sandmining and nature-based solutions, and the collaboration on sustainable water management between the Dutch government and the Vietnamese government will be continued.