On Wednesday, 20 September the province of Friesland and the city of Daegu, South Korea signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) during the World Water Cities Forum in Gyeongju, South Korea. The signing of the MOU represents an intensification of the contacts that have been established between the two countries in recent years. The MOU came about at the request of the South Koreans and facilitates entry to the South Korean market for Europeans. Vice versa, doing business in Europe will also become easier for South Korean companies.
In the coming years Daegu will continue to work on forming an impressive water cluster. This is all the more reason for the province of Friesland and Water Alliance to be involved. Water Alliance has maintained regular contact with The Korea Water Resources Corporation (K-water, for short) in recent years. K-water is interested in Chlorine free Dutch drinking water distribution. South Korea faces major challenges in the area of wastewater purification as well. Dutch knowledge and expertise in resource recovery and innovative wastewater technology is sure to garner a great deal of interest in South Korea. This was also evident at a separately organised congress in Seoul on 19 September, which was attended by K-water’s top management and various delegates from the Korean government. Hein Molenkamp from the Water Alliance was invited to give an explanation of the Dutch innovation ecosystem around the WaterCampus but also received a specific request to address the fact that water governance, policy areas and implementation were integrated into one joint ministry (Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment) years ago in the Netherlands. In South Korea the various water-related branches of government and policy areas are still spread out across various ministries, but the new government is very interested in the Dutch model.