The Dutch Ambassador and a team of water management experts from The Netherlands met Thai prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra and the 10-strong Strategic Committee for Water Resources Management at Government House on Tuesday to discuss possible solutions to Thailand’s flood crisis.
Committee member Dr Anond Snidwong na Ayudhaya revealed it was initially con?cluded that a water seminar be hosted early next year and Thai social experts such as Chulalongkorn University (CU) political scientist Surachai Wankaew be invited to join the water resources body.
Dutch Ambassador Johannes Andries Boer led a team of water management experts from the Netherlands to talk with Yingluck and rep?resentatives from the strategic committee such as Anond, Seri Supparathit and Veera Wongsaengnak.
Following the meeting, Anond said the Netherlands offered to organise a seminar for knowledge exchange with Thailand in the format of a “Water Fair” in February 2012. But Yingluck would like to organise it earlier, so she assigned Anond to discuss details further with the ambas?sador.
The Netherlands also offered to sign an MOU with Thailand to expand relations from aca?demic cooperation to possible joint investments. The premier initially accepted the offer but wanted to study the details fur?ther, he said.
Anond noted that things had to be done carefully as water management involved not only physical aspects but also bio-systems and social aspects.
“I believe water manage?ment isn’t just bringing water engineers to talk but should consider the social conditions in Thailand, which has its specifics. Hence even the best social expert from the Netherlands may not under?stand [things here],” he said.
“We have to consider these points for society to set the direction together and prevent any conflict,” he said.
Therefore Thailand would invite its social experts to work with the strategic committee, such as CU Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies director Surachai Wankaew, he said.
Anond said that as well as the offers discussed, the Netherlands also offered to make a flood analysis to try show the strong and weak points of Thailand’s water man?agement system.
As several such studies were being carried out but had not crystallised yet, he said this could lead to the setting of clear terms of reference for a study, so that results would lead to practical guidelines that could be implemented.
He said a master plan being formulated by the strategic committee should be complet?ed in nine months – near the end of the 2012 fiscal year – so it could be implemented straight away in the next fiscal year.