News / 14 March 2011

Both ENDS Political Cafe

On Wednesday, March 23rd, 2011, Both ENDS Foundation is hosting a so-called 'Political Café, or debate, on the new international role of Dutch water utilities in Developing countries. The State Secretary for Development Cooperation, Ben Knapen, would like to see a more direct involvement of Dutch companies in development cooperation. The Netherlands is internationally well known for its water expertise and both the government and the private sector would like to make this a focal point of foreign policy in the realm of international cooperation. Dutch water companies such as Evides and Vitens are already working with water companies in Ghana, Mozambique, Vietnam and Suriname.


Through a motion by Christian Democrat and MP Ad Koppejan, Dutch Water companies are now permitted to invest 1% of their turnover in foreign activities. This mechanism was designed to release extra funding for poverty reduction in the water and sanitation sector. Evides and Vitens have been active for some time in developing countries, can we there already learn from their efforts at development cooperation?In recent years much public attention has been paid to the question whether Dutch development cooperation is effective, prompting the Dutch government to make NGO cooperation in joint coalitions a condition for the release of funding to the sector. Is Knapen demanding the same from Dutch Companies? Are there any guarantees that the effectiveness of development will improve when Dutch companies get involved?

The 1% motion of Koppejan aimed at generating resources for poverty reduction. The question is whether the 1% is actually used for this purpose. Are Dutch water companies actually providing development cooperation, or are they merely trying to obtain market share in developing countries? Are poor people reached of mainly the paying middle class?

Dutch development cooperation has always been a dance between the 'clergyman' who approves aid for moral reasons, and the 'merchant', who wants to see something in return. The businessman, says Knapen, should now lead the dance.

Both ENDS organizes this Political Cafe during World Water Week, policy makers, businesses and experts from the field join in a debate together to discuss this new path.

The debate will be held in English.

Ad Koppejan, MP for the CDA,
Riant Nugroho, former director of the Jakarta Water Regulatory and policy analyst in Indonesia,
Gerard Rundberg, director of World Waternet, daughter of the Amsterdam water company Waternet,
Christophe Nuttall, specialist innovative partnerships with UNDP.
Rolien Sasse, Director Simavi

Talk, drink and think along at our Political Café, drinks afterwards.

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