India-Netherlands ties: Climate, water initiatives likely to take centre stage

Climate cooperation and water security initiatives are likely to be the key focus areas for the future ties between the Netherlands and India. These are also likely to be discussed between the countries as part of the upcoming state visit of President Ram Nath Kovind to the European nation next week.

The visit will coincide with the publication of the latest round of the global climate report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which is likely to highlight climate change mitigation, action and development pathways. Scalable techniques of renewable and solar energy seen in countries like India and also techniques where there are institutional barriers like nuclear energy are likely to be the core focus of the report, Netherlands government officials said. The report will be published Monday.

India and the Netherlands will also be working on preparing a model for a global water pact, taking cues from various water security initiatives from across the world including India’s Jal Jeevan Mission, Henk Ovink, Netherlands’ special envoy for international water affairs said in an interaction in The Hague with Indian journalists. Global water initiatives including India’s Jal Jeevan Mission will set the path for global action on water, Ovink said. Jal Jeevan Mission envisions to provide safe and adequate drinking water through individual household tap connections by 2024 to all households in rural India.

“…water is very organised, fragmented, it means often the solution is at a very small scale, so on one local level it might make a difference, but outside the community nothing changes. India is a continent in itself. If India changes, the world changes for the good or better and better for the good,” Ovink said. He highlighted the importance to focus on water as a means for hygiene especially in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic. “We say ‘wash your hands’, but if there is no water, there is no hand washing. Your government has a big focus on issues of water, sanitation and hygiene, which are of critical importance in the context of the pandemic…but we still know that billions of people around the world lack that access to water. India’s water security programme is inspirational and we can bring that learning to other places around the world,” he said.

The Netherlands will be co-hosting a 3-day UN conference on March 22, 2023 for taking action on sustainable water management with Tajikistan.

(The correspondent was in The Hague on an invitation from the Netherlands government)

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