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Dutch government extends grant program for Indonesia

Cooperation to continue


Tags: Excerpts from the Windmill

JAKARTA - The Dutch government will continue to provide a grant program for Indonesia when the current grant package ends this year. According to Dutch junior minister Ben Knapen (European Union and Development Cooperation), who visited Indonesia recently, the next three-year grant program will cover economic and social sectors such as sustainable trade, water infrastructure development, reforestation, and higher education capacity building, especially projects in the legal field.

Knapen did not say how much money would be spent in the program. He answered by pointing to past experiences of the bilateral relationship when it involved about $77 million a year. Previous cooperation agreements with Indonesia were administrated mostly through multilateral organizations, such as the World Bank and the United Nations Development Program (UNDP).

Knapen told reporters that the Netherlands intends to intensify its cooperation with Indonesia in the areas where the Indonesian people really need it and the Netherlands can provide it.

Dikes and laws

One of the priorities will be in the field of water infrastructure development. Knapen reminded his hosts of his countryís long history in trying to keep its feet dry while half of it is below sea level. It is something flooding prone Jakarta can relate to. According to Knapenís Indonesian colleague Armida Alisjahbana, they may develop a dike system in the Jakarta Bay to protect North Jakarta from flooding.

Armida said that several ongoing Dutch cooperative programs would also be continued, including the Nuffic Neso higher education scholarship programs, as well as in the fields of law and good governance.

The bilateral cooperation in the area of law was based on the fact that Indonesia has so many laws it inherited from the Dutch colonial era, Armida said.