NETHERLANDS - APPROACH AND FUNDING FLOWS
The new Dutch government, in office since November 2012, is a coalition of the Conservative-Liberal People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD) and the Social-Democratic Labor Party (PvdA). The government considers development as an integral part of Dutch foreign policy, and plans to align development more strongly with foreign trade. To this end, the government established the post of a Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation. According to the coalition agreement, Dutch development policy focuses on the world’s poorest people.
Bilateral cooperation continues to concentrate on four sectors that the government considers relevant for poverty reduction, to which the Netherlands can add value through expertise and which are of interest to Dutch businesses, civil society organizations (CSOs), and research institutions. These sectors - also referred to as “spearheads” - are (1) security and the rule of law, (2) water management, (3) food security, and (4) sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR). Gender equality, environment and good governance remain the Netherlands’ cross-cutting priorities. While cooperation with the private sector will be intensified, partner countries have been reduced from 33 to 15. The 2011 DAC peer review sees the risk of Dutch development cooperation becoming too closely linked to Dutch economic interests so that these may overrule development objectives. This assessment is shared by civil society, pointing out the danger in giving more importance to national economic intereststhan to improving living conditions for the poor.
According to preliminary OECD Development Assistance Committee (OECD DAC) figures, the Netherlands was the 4th largest European government donor in 2012, with US$5.5 billion (€4.3 billion) provided in net ODA (in current prices). In real terms, net ODA decreased by 6.6% compared to 2011, and the ODA share declined from 0.82% of GNI in 2009 to 0.71% in 2012. The Netherlands reports debt relief, administrative costs, development awareness costs and costs for refugees as ODA, which together accounted for almost 14% of Dutch net ODA in 2011. This is above the average of member countries of the OECD DAC which is at 11%.
The indicative budget for 2013 shows a further reduction of net ODA to 0.68% of GNI, which would leave Dutch ODA below the 0.7% target for the first time since 1975. The new government plans to reduce the annual ODA budget further by €750 million (US$ 970 million) between 2014 and 2016, and by €1 billion (US$1.3 billion) in 2017. However, cuts are even more severe as international climate financing, which used to be additional to development spending, will now be included in the development budget. In addition, €250 million (US$324 million) will be allocated towards spending for international security, jointly managed by the Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Defense. According to government estimates, education, civil society and health were the areas most affected by budget cuts, while spending in the four priority sectors increased in 2011 and 2012. However, the government recently announced that cuts will also be implemented in all priority sectors except sexual and reproductive health and rights.
More information on: Bilateral and multilateral funding
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