The Netherlands, 30 years of support for Yemen [Archives:2008/1204/Local News]

November 3 2008

Khaled Al-Hilaly
SANA'A Oct. 31 ) When you visit rural areas, it is evident how grateful Yemenis are to the Netherlands. Speaking to women, children and even the older generation, you quickly realize how Dutch projects have changed or enhanced their lives.

The Netherlands is one of the largest donors to Yemen. Throughout thirty years of diplomatic relations between the two countries, Dutch development projects have reached the farthest corners of Yemen focusing on the water, education and health sectors.

The problem of the scarcity of water resources as a result of over-exploited aquifers is one of the most complex development problems and most serious challenges facing Yemen. The Netherlands, with all its expertise in this field, has been playing a leading role in supporting water management and rural water supply, in addition to coordinating other major donors in the water sector, such as the World Bank and Germany. Yemen's first Water Management Action Plan was implemented in Taiz with Dutch funding.

At the end of 2004 the ministry presented a multi-annual policy and strategy for the water sector for 2005 to 2009, the first of its kind, aimed at achieving the seventh Millennium Development Goal of environmental sustainability, in particular reducing by half the proportion of people without sustainable access to safe drinking water.

According to Development Cooperation Minister Bert Koenders who came on a three-day visit to Yemen last week to mark 30 years of bilateral relations, “Dutch aid to Yemen amounts to around EUR 26 million from the embassy