KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 1 — Malaysia is looking forward to expanding collaboration with the Netherlands in developing pilot projects on flood mitigation and climate resilience, says Natural Resources, Environment and Climate Change Minister Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad.
He said his ministry and the Netherlands Embassy had been engaged in various collaborations in the field, with the most recent being the assistance in tackling water disasters rendered by the Dutch Surge Support (DSS) scheme.
“The outcome of this programme is the report by the Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) team which highlighted the gaps, challenges and recommendations to improve Malaysia’s flood risks that further strengthen our response to future flood risks and related climate change impacts,” he said in his opening remarks on the 6th Malaysia-The Netherlands Water Dialogue with Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte at the Asian International Arbitration Centre (AIAC) here, today.
Nik Nazmi also hoped Malaysia would be able to learn from the Netherland’s experiences as a low-lying country that had successfully tackled various water-related issues.
“The intricate network of dykes, canals and pumps that the Dutch have ingeniously constructed over centuries showcases their mastery over water management,” he said.
Nik Nazmi said, however, climate change with its threat of rising sea levels and increased precipitation would also bring forth challenges to Dutch water management strategies.
“As such, we hope to also understand how it (the Netherlands) is dealing with these new dangers,” he said.
Meanwhile, Rutte expressed his admiration for Malaysia’s efforts to improve flood resilience, namely the SMART Tunnel, which was a key feature in flood management efforts.
“To us in the Netherlands, a tunnel that channels flood waters past the city centre is a real feat of engineering,” he said.
However, he noted that building more steel and concrete infrastructure may not be enough in the long term.
“We’re learning that green infrastructure and nature-based solutions are often more resilient, flexible and reversible than traditional methods,” said Rutte.
The Water Dialogue is an annual event co-organised by the Ministry of Natural Resources, Environment and Climate Change and the Embassy of Netherlands here, which serves as a platform for experts to address various water-related issues.
Rutte arrived in Malaysia yesterday for a two-day working visit, his second to the country since 2014.