U.S. Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Shaun Donovan and Melanie Schultz van Haegen, the minister of infrastructure and the environment for the Netherlands, have signed an agreement pledging closer cooperation between their two countries on issues related to disaster mitigation, sustainable and integrated planning, and water management infrastructure.
The new agreement will create community development strategies designed to place a premium on sustainability and 'livability' principles. The two governments will also pursue infrastructure and water management strategies, and climate resilience and preparedness, including new approaches to flood protection systems and building with nature. Furthermore, the governments will seek to leverage private and philanthropic investments to maximize public investments in urban development and long-term disaster mitigation.
‘Our two nations have much to learn from each other about finding innovative solutions to age-old shared problems,’ says Donovan. ‘The Dutch are no strangers to the forces of nature, and I'm certain we can benefit from their experience in disaster mitigation, infrastructure management and a variety of approaches to sustainable community development and planning.’
‘Although the scale of our landscapes differs, New York and the Netherlands have a lot in common,’ says Schultz. ‘Both areas are river deltas. Both areas have estuaries, rivers and water basins that are vulnerable to flooding. The Netherlands has a long history in water management, but I am not coming only to bring Dutch expertise. I am also coming to learn from the American approach.’