The Netherlands joins forces with India for a global water pact

The Hague: The Netherlands wishes to work closely with India, building on the Narendra Modi administration’s program for access to drinking water for all (Mission Jal Jeevan) for a “global pact on water” which will be discussed at the United Nations water conference next March, said Henk Ovink, the Netherlands’ special envoy for international water affairs.

Ovink said in an interview at his office in The Hague that the Netherlands’ partnership with India for climate change mitigation and adaptation would bring together innovative solutions developed in the Netherlands and the experience of India to ensure access to water, sanitation and hygiene for large numbers. of people, for implementation worldwide.

“India and the Netherlands are incredible partners in demonstrating what works, showing the commitment behind what works and in the opportunity to scale this up and put this on the UN agenda. as a ‘global water pact,'” Ovink said. He said that all such initiatives from around the world such as India’s Jal Jeevan Mission and national government commitments would constitute the global water agenda. The conference will be co-hosted by Tajikistan and the Netherlands.

India’s Jal Jeevan Mission aims to provide all households in rural India with safe and adequate drinking water through individual household tap connections by 2024. The program also includes measures such as water conservation and rainwater harvesting. According to available data from Jal Shakti’s ministry, nearly half of India’s 193 million rural households covered by the program had access to clean tap water as of March 29.

“In partnership, we can see how we can deploy innovative solutions across the world. It’s at the heart of a lot of what we do together, Ovink said. He said the Indian government’s focus on water security is of critical importance amid the covid pandemic.

“We come after two years of the pandemic and we know how important water is for hygiene. We say “wash your hands”, but if there is no water, there is no hand washing. Your government attaches great importance to water, sanitation and hygiene issues, which are of critical importance in the context of the pandemic,” Ovink said.

Ovink said India’s efforts under the Jal Shakti ministry show work that can be replicated in other parts of the world, where the partnership is helping. “But we still know that billions of people in the world do not have access to water”,

India’s water security agenda is an inspiration and learning capacity that we can bring to other places in the world, he added.

An email sent to Jal Shakti’s ministry on Wednesday seeking comment on the story went unanswered at press time.

Water has become a priority for bilateral relations between India and the Netherlands as both countries grapple with the impact of climate change. President Ram Nath Kovind is due to pay a state visit to the Netherlands from April 4-7 at the invitation of King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima, the Indian Foreign Ministry announced on March 22.

The visit is significant as 2022 marks 75 years of diplomatic relations between India and the Netherlands. In 2021, during a virtual summit between the prime ministers of the two countries, a strategic partnership on water was launched. The Netherlands is India’s fourth largest source of FDI.

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