Meet Dirk-Jan Koch, Netherlands Special Envoy for Natural Resources

Photography: © Judith Jockel

In a few weeks, the international conference on mining, Mining Indaba, will take place in Cape Town, South Africa. The one name you will hear a lot, is that of Special Envoy for Natural Resources of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. We hereby introduce to you: Mr. Dirk-Jan Koch.

Today, Dirk-Jan Koch is a diplomat, writer, scientist and highly committed to a world in which natural resources are used in a sustainable way. A man focused on long-term and durable security of supply of metals and minerals and one who never fails to forget to look at the social and environmental impacts of the extractive industry, including energy resources. At the Ministry of Foreign Affairs these topics are approached from a geopolitical, security, trade and development perspective, and as a Special Envoy, Dirk-Jan Koch pushes the frontiers of the interlinkages between trade and aid, which are a key priority for the Dutch government.

Before re-joining the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Koch served as Search for Common Ground’s Regional Director for West and Central Africa, based in the DRC, where he supervised a diverse array of programs ranging from the amnesty program in the oil-rich Niger Delta program to the demilitarization of the tin-mines in the DRC. He started his career as a diplomat and policy advisor at Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs and was based in the Hague and in Kinshasa, the DRC. At the Dutch Embassy in Kinshasa, DRC, he focused among others on natural resources, amongst which the conflict-free tin initiative.

Mr. Koch is the author of several well-regarded books, articles, and working papers focusing on natural resources, international development and diplomacy. He holds a PhD in Social Sciences (cum laude) from Radboud University in the Netherlands, a Masters’ from the London School of Economics (merit) and a Bachelor’s from the University of Utrecht, Netherlands (cum laude). He has been a part-time professor at the Catholic University of Kinshasa. Mr. Koch is a much invited public speaker and gave public lectures at amongst others the Brookings Institute in Washington and the OECD Development Centre.

At Mining Indaba, Mr. Koch will zoom in on the significant water challenges faced by the mining industry. The Netherlands has a specific niche expertise in water, and this expertise, its innovation and approach can be useful to tackle the water challenges faced by the mining industry. By working together to translate this expertise, we can co-create solutions for water challenges in mining. During his keynote speech, Mr. Koch will present various case studies in which the Dutch integrated water management programme has been successful on the African continent.

In the run up to the event, get to know Dirk-Jan Koch, by following him on Twitter: @DirkJanKoch.


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