Indonesia visits Netherlands to explore solutions for flood problems in Java

Published: 14 March 2014

A high-level delegation from the Ministry of Marine Affairs and Fisheries of Indonesia (MMAF) will visit the Netherlands from 17 to 21 March to learn how the Dutch have applied ‘Building with Nature’ techniques for flood prevention. The Director General of Marine, Coast and Small Islands, Dr Sudirman Saad, M.Hum, and the advisor of the Minister, Mr Ukay Karyadi, joined by five executives, are interested in meeting with Dutch coastal and delta experts, who specialize in the integration of infrastructure, nature and society.

The Netherlands has been successful in this approach especially in the salt marshes of the Wadden Sea. Indonesia currently struggles with severe coastal flooding, such as along the coast of North Java, threatening the safety of millions of people.

The governance of Dutch coastal management will be an important topic during the exchange visit, and therefore, the Delegation will meet with Delta Commissioner Wim Kuijken and various ministries. The visit is organized by Deltares and Wetlands International.

Not only the traditional hard coastal defenses

Indonesia seeks solutions that work with nature rather than those fighting against it, such as dykes, which only exacerbate erosion in the muddy environments in Indonesia.
Several parts of Indonesia have long been suffering from a strongly eroding coastline and coastal communities are now considering moving inland or to other Indonesian islands. The erosion is caused by unsustainable practices, such as mangrove deforestation for the construction of fish ponds, combined with impacts from storm surges and sea level rise. The coastline is retreating rapidly with tens of meters per year, and in extreme cases, more than a hundred meters per year. This has major implications for Indonesia’s coastal safety, its ecosystems and its fisheries, an important source of income for the country.

Building with nature

The Indonesian delegation will visit various Dutch examples of ‘Building with Nature’ to get inspired on how to build economically and environmentally sustainable security. One of the locations they will visit is the restored salt marshes of the Wadden Sea. Wetlands International, Deltares and the Indonesian Ministry of Marine Affairs and Fisheries are already implementing an innovative pilot project in Java in which mangrove restoration is combined with infrastructure solutions. The pilot is extremely successful as it protects the coast against further erosion, and helps to reclaim lost land, while also enhancing fisheries.

mangrove herstel Java

Opportunities for press interviews

Formal opening, Tuesday 18 March, 9:30 am, Deltares, Rotterdamseweg 185, Delft
Press is welcome to attend the formal opening of the exchange visit with speeches from Wim Kuijken, Delta Commissioner the Netherlands and Dr Sudirman Saad, M.Hum, Director General of Marine, Coast and Small Islands – Ministry of Marine Affairs and Fisheries of Indonesia (MMAF).

Press conference, Thursday 20 March, 13:00 am, De Seedykster Toer, Zeedijk 8, Marrum
Press is invited to join the delegation at their visit to the salt marshes (Kwelders) which is an opportunity for taking pictures. Subsequent to this visit there will be a press presentation with opportunity to interview representatives of MMAF, Wetlands International and Deltares.