Speech Cora van Nieuwenhuizen at the launch of Orange Knowledge Programme, 10 April 2019

10-04-2019

“It’s great to feel the buzz of young people with good ideas, promising innovations, a spirit of enterprise. It makes me optimistic, and confident." Dat zei minister Van Nieuwenhuizen tijdens de lancering van een nieuw watereducatieprogramma in Vietnam, woensdag 10 april.

Speech by Cora van Nieuwenhuizen, Minister of Infrastructure and Water Management, at the launch of the Orange Knowledge Programme, 10 April 2019

Thank you for those eloquent words, Minister Ha.

We’re ready for the launch!

I always find settings like this very inspiring. Perhaps you have that too.

It’s great to feel the buzz of young people with good ideas, promising innovations, a spirit of enterprise.

It makes me curious about all the wonderful new things we’re about to see.

It also makes me optimistic, and confident that new generations will come up with new solutions.

Good education is the basis for good water management. And that’s why we’re here today.

It also makes me optimistic, and confident that new generations will come up with new solutions.

In 2010 our countries agreed a Strategic Partnership Arrangement on water and climate adaptation. And part of this arrangement is cooperation in higher education.

So I’m delighted that the Dutch NICHE programme has now got a follow-up: the Orange Knowledge programme.

Made possible in part with Vietnamese co-financing.

So that Delft University of Technology and its Vietnamese partners HUNRE and Thuyloi University will be able to continue their collaboration.

That’s fantastic news!

Because there’s a lot of work to be done.

Vietnam and the Netherlands face the same challenges: climate change, urbanisation, industrialisation and subsidence.

We’re both located in vulnerable deltas. That makes us natural allies.

Some of these challenges are already taking their toll.

In Hoi An, for instance, which I will be visiting this afternoon. Where tourist resorts are threatened by coastal erosion.

Many cities are also finding it difficult to provide enough clean drinking water because of salinisation.

And pharmaceutical residues are making wastewater treatment more complex.

The Netherlands faces the same problems.

They’re problems that need solutions, now and in the future. And that’s why education and research are so important.

that’s why education and research are so important.

I was alarmed to learn that fewer Vietnamese students are choosing to study water management. Because what this delta needs is more water engineers.

In fact, one of the main goals of the Orange Knowledge Programme that we’re launching today is to raise these numbers.

And we’re going all out to do so!

  • Together we’re going to expand the number of master’s degree courses.

  • Together we’re going to broaden the curricula, to include subjects like financing, project management and project development.

  • And together with InNet we’re going to provide extra training courses for ministry staff.

So we’ll be jointly equipping a new generation of water professionals with good practical and analytical skills.

The more knowledge and experience your water professionals have, the better prepared Vietnam will be.

Besides education, the second goal of the Orange Knowledge Programme is cooperation in research that will benefit both our countries.

Besides education, the second goal of the Orange Knowledge Programme is cooperation in research that will benefit both our countries.

Vietnam will learn from the Netherlands. And the Netherlands will learn from Vietnam.

And let’s not stop there. The international Delta Coalition was set up to allow delta countries around the world to learn from each other.

The same applies to the Global Commission on Adaptation, which I initiated last year. It is led by former UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, Microsoft founder Bill Gates and World Bank CEO Kristalina Georgieva, and aims to accelerate climate adaptation.

It’s great news that Vietnam has now decided to participate in the Commission.


Ladies and gentlemen,

I’d also like to say a few words about the third goal of the Orange Knowledge Programme: improving the link with the job market.

Because it’s important that water management graduates have rewarding jobs.

There are good opportunities in established companies and the public sector, of course.

But that’s not necessarily what these enterprising young people are after.

They aren’t only students and researchers. They’re also involved in their own spin-off companies.

These young entrepreneurs are making innovation work. Thanks also to government support.

It’s great that you’re here today, to show us what you can do, and how we can help.

I wish all parties in this new bilateral partnership all the best.


To all the students here, I’d like to say: we need you.

You’ve been given the responsible task of securing your country’s future. By seeking new solutions, and helping to put them into practice.

And we look forward to hearing about the progress you’re making at the annual meetings.

Tell us, too, when things aren’t going smoothly. My Vietnamese counterpart and I will be happy to see if we can help!

Tôi chúc b?n m?i di?u may m?n! (=Ik wens u allen veel succes!)

Thank you.

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