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The Netherlands and Indonesia continue cooperation on coastal protection and urban resilience


Alumni in Water, Energy and Climate

Thematic news



Water safety, sustainable use of water resources, urban resilience and flood- and river basin management were high priority themes during the Dutch trade mission to Indonesia from 8 to 13 March. The Netherlands and Indonesia have strong ties and similar water challenges which offers opportunities for both countries to work together on sustainable solutions. The Netherlands Water Partnership (NWP) was actively involved in the mission and organised the 'water programme' which attracted over 30 Dutch water organisations. 

The focus of the trade mission was to extend the intensive water cooperation between Indonesia and the Netherlands. On 10 March, Cora van Nieuwenhuizen, Dutch Minister of Infrastructure and Water Management, signed a Letter of Intent (LoI) confirming water cooperation with the Indonesian minister of Public Works and Housing to bridge a transition phase in 2020, ahead of the expected signing of a new Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Water during the Climate Adaptation Summit in October 2020. Among the focus areas covered in the letter are: resilient cities (coastal protection and development), integrated water management (including river basin management) and water governance. Van Nieuwenhuizen also signed an agreement with the Indonesian Minister of the Environment and Forestry that addresses waste reduction, more recycling and better water quality. Today in Indonesia, three million tons of plastic disappear into the oceans every year. With Dutch knowledge and innovations, the Netherlands can help with better waste management and improving the overall water quality with smart plastic-waste solutions.

With these topics in mind, NWP organised two seminars on 10 and 12 March, both moderated by NWP Managing Director Bianca Nijhof. The first seminar was about Indonesia-Netherlands cooperation in addressing coastal protection and urban resilience challenges. Dutch participants shared their experiences on hard and soft measures to ensure resilience and reduce the risks of land subsidence, water pollution, flooding and coastal erosion. During the seminar, the need for a more integrated approach versus single solutions was also highlighted. The second seminar was on river basin management in East Java to address water quality, waste management, water management and flood control. Also part of this seminar was the exchange of knowledge on how to implement nature-based solutions to secure urban resilience into practice. 

 The trade mission programme also included field visits which were supported by NWP. In Jakarta, delegates visited Multi Bintang Indonesia (Heineken group) to see how the brewery has integrated water management practices into its operations. Thereafter, the delegation travelled to The Ocean Cleanup Interceptor which is tackling surface water quality and river waste problems – a top priority of the Indonesian Government. Another field trip focused on the National Capital Integrated Coastal Development (NCICD) project and the flood protection and coastal development work the Dutch government supports in North Jakarta. Overall, the field visits demonstrated the land subsidence problem in Jakarta and led delegates see for themselves the alarming rate at which the city has been sinking in recent years. 

In Surabaya, one group visited Jasa Tirta 1, a state-owned enterprise which manages the Brantas river basin, where his CEO outlined the challenges faced by the company and the opportunities for Dutch partners to offer solutions. Another group visited the technical university ITS, which has been a trusted partner for Dutch institutions in supporting the development of the maritime campus and human capital.  

Good progress was made amongst the trade delegation in forging new partnerships and further strengthening existing ones. Equally important was laying the groundwork for potentially significant follow-through action on Indonesia’s new Medium Term (2020-2024) strategic development plan, with a key focus on North Coast of Java.

NWP’s Indonesia activities took place within the framework of the Partners for Water programme. For more information please contact Project Manager Asia, Simone Sweerts at  

The Ocean Cleanup Interceptor in Jakarta. 

Source: Netherlands Water Partnership 

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