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Building with nature: Sand Motor

Deltas and low-lying coastal areas are constantly faced with threat of erosion and flooding from the sea. Over centuries, the Netherlands has learnt that the key is to work with nature by using the natural power of the sea. The Sand Motor is a prime example of nature-based solutions.

Global action vital for access to water and sanitation

To mark its 75th anniversary year, the UN launched a global consultation at the beginning of 2020 and recently published the results in a report The future we want, the United Nations we need. Among its findings is a loud and clear call to give immediate priority to improved access to safe water and sanitation (SDG 6).

Making clean shipping a global norm

If the world is to achieve the Paris Agreement’s long-term temperature goal, it is crucial that the inland shipping and short-sea sectors substantially reduce their carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions and do so fast. Within the Netherlands, freight transport represents almost a quarter of total national emissions, 5% of which comes from inland shipping. That is why, the Dutch national and provincial governments, port authorities, maritime associations, shipping and transport companies, banks and research institutes agreed to a Green Deal to help make clean shipping the global norm.   With nearly 6,000 kilometres of navigable waterways and the largest fleet of inland vessels in Europe, the Netherlands feels a sense of urgency to adopt climate-neutral supply chains and wants to inspire others to join in. Zero Emission Services (ZES) is putting forward a Dutch flagship initiative to facilitate the transition from diesel-powered to emission-free inland shipping and short-sea sailing, befitting of the 2020 World Maritime Day theme: sustainable shipping for a sustainable planet.  

The smartest part of the North Sea

Planet Earth contains 70 percent water, of which 96 percent is in the oceans. It is an important source for food, resources, energy, transportation, leisure and living space. The Netherlands seeks to become a partner in developing healthy and productive oceans as part of the solution to global challenges. In the face of population growth and resource scarcity, oceans could contribute to food security, renewable energy and economic development. To research ocean and maritime-related topics, the Dutch have created a testbed just off the west coast of the Netherlands. The offshore testing ground is used for many innovative maritime projects, which can be shared with similar programmes around the world.

Flying-V changes the shape of sustainable flying

Aviation accounts for two percent of CO2 emissions. This may seem relatively low, but air travel emits 90 percent more CO2 than travelling the same distance by rail. Rail or road can be an alternative for short-haul flights over land, but what about intercontinental and long-distance destinations. So far, research to make flying more sustainable has concentrated on replacing fossil fuel with electric or hydrogen engines. However, a new design – the Flying-V − may change the shape of sustainable flying.

Building back better for a blue and green future

The Netherlands is the official partner of the world’s largest conference on water issues: World Water Week. The annual conference, organised by the Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI), covers many different aspects of water management. Every year, it brings experts from all over the world together and seeks to find solutions to pressing issues of too much, too little and too polluted water. At this year's conference, Dutch water envoy Henk Ovink warns we cannot continue making the same mistakes.

E-waste compensation - a way forward in circularity

Business and consumers buy almost three billion mobile phones, tablets and laptops across the world, every year. However, the rapid development of electrical and electronic equipment (EEE) is also making it one of the fastest-growing waste streams. As demand for sustainable acquisition grows, the technology industry is under pressure to address their sustainable purchasing policies. E-waste compensation could set the standard in the electronics industry in the future.   Dutch company Closing the Loop already offers a ‘circular service’ to businesses enabling them to buy their devices in waste-free manner. The service has now been adopted in a new certification programme called TCO Certified Edge which links the purchase of every new device directly to the recycling of an end-of-life device. This type of e-waste compensation is recognised as a way forward in circularity.