Last updated : May 2017. US$ amounts in this profile are shown in 2015 prices.
Strategic priorities
  • The Netherlands focuses its ODA on four thematic priorities: 1) security and the rule of law, 2) water, 3) food security, and 4) sexual and reproductive health and rights (including HIV/AIDS). Other focus areas include climate protection, humanitarian aid, private sector development, women’s rights, and gender equality.
  • Geographically, Dutch development assistance is concentrated on sub-Saharan Africa and low-income countries.
Key opportunities
  • On March 15, 2017, the Netherlands held general elections. The ongoing coalition talks provide an opportunity to advocate for increased funding for development, and shape the strategic direction of Dutch development policy.
  • All political parties have called for an increased development budget in their election manifestos, except for the winning conservative VVD party and the far-right PVV, which came in second place in the election. However, the VVD stated that it will not govern with the populist PVV. The VVD will need at least three other parties to form a majority, which presents opportunities to generate more resources for development programs, particularly for Dutch thematic priorities.

Key Questions

the big six

Yemen is a priority country for the Netherlands, and one with which it has a long-term development relationship; since 2015, Dutch bilateral cooperation has focused heavily on humanitarian assistance within the country.

Netherlands

Outlook

How will the Netherlands' ODA develop? — What will the Netherlands' ODA focus on? —What are key opportunities for shaping the Netherlands' development policy? read more

How will the Netherlands’ ODA develop?

  • The Netherlands has implemented massive ODA budget cuts since 2012. The government agreed to cut ODA by €1 billion (US$1.1 million) below the 0.7% of GNI target from 2017 onwards. However, the March 2017 elections might change this trajectory, as the majority of parties have called for increases in ODA in their election manifestos. 
  • The Netherlands uses its development budget to cover the costs of hosting refugees in the donor country, which puts pressure on the funding available for development programs. Costs for hosting refugees in the Netherlands will continue to constrain the funding that is available for ‘regular’ development programs in the coming years, as parts of the funding to cover these costs in 2016 and 2017 have been frontloaded and will be financed from future ODA budgets until 2020.

What will the Netherlands’ ODA focus on?

  • Dutch ODA currently focuses on four thematic priorities: 1) security and the rule of law, 2) water, 3) food security, and 4) sexual reproductive health and rights (including HIV/AIDS). These priorities are expected to largely remain in place after the March 2017 elections, though there might be changes in focus within them. 
  • Strengthening private sector development, public-private partnerships, and, more generally, linking development cooperation with Dutch foreign trade interests are also likely to remain a focus for the Netherlands

What are key opportunities for shaping the Netherlands’ development policy?

  • On March 15, 2017, the Netherlands held general elections. The current post-election and coalition-building talks provide an opportunity to advocate for increased development budgets as well as to shape Dutch development policy and its thematic priorities for the coming years.  
  • All political parties have called for an increased or stabilized development budget in their election manifestos, except for the two parties with the most votes: the conservative VVD and far-right PVV. However, the VVD has stated that it will not govern with the PVV, and will need at least three other parties to form a majority. The new coalition government will thus present opportunities to generate more resources for development programs, particularly for thematic priority areas.