Dutch foreign minister allocates additional €190 million for crisis-affected regions

Dutch Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation Minister Sigrid Kaag has allocated an additional €190 million for emergency funding in regions affected by conflict. The funding will be used to support shelter for refugees and vulnerable populations, as well as educational programs in Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq, and the Horn of Africa. 

In 2017, the Netherlands spent €400 million on emergency aid. Part of this funding came from the Dutch Emergency Relief Fund, which will no longer be available after December 2017. As a result, there will only be €205 million available in 2018 from the regular emergency-assistance budget. According to Kaag, this shortfall would tarnish the Netherlands’ reputation as a trustworthy, predictable, and flexible partner, and that is why the additional funding has been added to the budget for humanitarian aid.

Website - Government of the Netherlands (in Dutch)


Dutch foreign minister revokes proposal to discontinue financial support to UNIDO

Dutch Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation Minister Sigrid Kaag has revoked a proposal to withdraw support for the Statute of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), which seeks to promote and accelerate industrial development in developing countries.

The Dutch government has previously been critical of UNIDO's efficiency, as well as its relevance to Dutch development policy, and a proposal had been brought forward to cease supporting the organization. Kaag, following deliberations with the Dutch Council of Ministers, decided to continue supporting UNIDO based on several factors, including the new Dutch Cabinet’s development priorities, and improvements in UNIDO's organizational efficiency. 

Website - Government of the Netherlands (in Dutch)


Dutch Foreign Trade Minister allocates €25 million to the World Bank

After World Bank CEO Kristalina Georgieva visited the Netherlands, Dutch Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation Minister Sigrid Kaag announced that there will be a €25-million allocation to the World Bank for, among other purposes, investment in infrastructure and employment opportunity programs in Jordan and Lebanon. The funding will come in the form of 'soft loans',  with a below-market rate of interest, to support Jordan and Lebanon in creating shelter for refugees, in order to reduce pressure on host communities. 

In the past, Dutch financial support in the form of soft loans has helped to reform the job market in Jordan, and helped to provide 71,000 Syrian refugees with work permits. This new allocation will make it possible to start a national employment opportunity program in Lebanon in 2018.

Website - Government of the Netherlands (in Dutch)


New Dutch cabinet stabilizes ODA level

In a letter to the Committee of Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation, Dutch Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation Sigrid Kaag answered questions about the Dutch ODA budget, which the new cabinet has stabilized at around 0.55% of GNI for the period 2018 to 2022. This percentage is up from the approximately 0.51% of GNI proposed in the 2018 budget, which came before the cabinet had been put in place

According to Kaag, the total amount of unallocated funds in the 2018 budget is expected to add up to €402 million. The Committee will be informed shortly about the intended allocation. 

Website - Government of the Netherlands (in Dutch)


Dutch development minister allocates €190 million to support refugees near conflict zones

Dutch Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation Sigrid Kaag has announced €190 million in emergency assistance for refugees in or near conflict-affected regions, with €50 million being allocated towards shelter. The remainder of the funding will be used to support education and employment opportunities.

According to the UN, 105 million people are currently dependent on international humanitarian assistance. Accordingly, Kaag stated that with the funding, "the Netherlands is taking its share of responsibility". 

Website - Federal Government (in Dutch)


OECD DAC holds meetings in Paris to discuss ODA

The Development Assistance Committee (DAC) of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) held key meetings this week at its headquarters in Paris, hosting delegations from the 30 richest donor countries to discuss the rules surrounding ODA. A number of controversial issues were debated, including 1) the amount of ODA that donors can spend on in-country refugee costs, 2) the cap on the amount of ODA that can be directed towards multilateral peacekeeping efforts in conflict-affected countries, and 3) how to measure ODA spent through blended finance mechanisms.

The UK in particular has been critical of existing ODA regulations, having previously suggested that it may pull out of OECD-DAC if rules surrounding spending on military and security costs remained unchanged.

News article - Devex

Dutch government reports on synergies with World Bank in support of 2030 agenda

Following the 2017 annual meeting of the World Bank Group, the Dutch government has written a letter to Parliament referring to the World Bank as an important partner for the Netherlands to fulfil the 2030 Agenda. The letter states that the World Bank’s broad approach aligns well with the Dutch development agenda, as does its interest in increasing the amount of private funding for development cooperation.

The Netherlands is one of the founders of the World Bank's Women Entrepreneurs Financing Initiative (We-Fi), a public-private loan program designed to unlock more than US$1 billion in financing for women entrepreneurs and women-owned businesses around the world.  

Website - Government of the Netherlands (in Dutch, PDF)


Dutch ministers and state secretaries are sworn into office

New Dutch ministers and state secretaries have been sworn into office, including Sigrid Kaag, the new Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation. The Ministry for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation is part of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which Halbe Zijlstra (VVD/Conservative Liberals) will head. Minister Kaag is a member of D66 (Liberal Democrats), and has previously worked for the UN, including UNSCOL, UNDP, IOM, and UNICEF. In the past, she has argued that migration enriches Dutch society, and she has been outspoken in support of providing access to education for refugee children, and for mitigating the structural causes of migration. At university, Kaag studied Arabic and later obtained a Masters in International Relations.

News report – Politico EU


Dutch NGOs criticize new coalition's budget

Since the publication of the Dutch Cabinet’s new coalition agreement, Dutch NGOS have argued that the budget is primarily directed towards mitigating migration and creating shelters for refugees in the Netherlands, rather than alleviating poverty. ONE World and Partos have voiced concern that the development cooperation policy may lose sight of structural and long-term causes of migration, while OXFAM Novib has stated that "strengthening border surveillance, or training the Libyan Coast Guard is not a responsibility of development cooperation". 

The coalition agreement states that one of its main development cooperation goals is to combat the root causes of migration, but it also states that additional expenditures will specifically focus on the causes and effects of migration, including education for children in regional refugee camps. 

News article - Partos (in Dutch)

News article - ONE World (in Dutch)


Dutch coalition agreement boosts ODA

Dutch parties VVD, CDA, D66, and CU have presented a coalition agreement that outlines their plans for the coming four years, including significant increases to Official Development Assistance (ODA). The new Cabinet corrects the budget frontloading of the last cabinet, which means that the budget for Official Development Assistance (ODA) will increase by €118 million in 2019, €304 million in 2020, and €331 million in 2021. As a result, the ODA budget will be 0.7% of the gross national income (GNI), minus €1.4 billion in cuts from the previous government. The development of the ODA budget will also be linked to the GNI development of the Netherlands. Additionally, the new Cabinet will add €1 billion in incidental additional resources to ODA in the coming four years.

The Netherlands’ thematic priorities for development will continue to be sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR), agriculture, water, and the rule of law. The government remains committed to fighting the root causes of migration with a targeted approach focused on specific regions. Policy on priority partner countries will be assessed to increase focus and effectiveness. As a first step in this reviewing process, Jordan, Lebanon, and Iraq will be added to the partner country list, and African and other partner country relationships will be reviewed.

Publication - coalition agreement (in Dutch)