Issue Deep Dive
Last updated: December 19, 2022
ODA in Context
The Netherlands uses the Paris Agreement as a basis for climate policy and continues to increase ODA spending. Though funding (at least US$1.9 billion by 2025) and attention to climate policy is increasing, civil society has critiqued that the government's focus on mobilizing private climate finance cannot be considered development cooperation. Additionally, they have criticized the Netherlands’ unwillingness to commit to compensating LMICs for climate damage and loss at COP27. On November 15, 2022, the Dutch government also rejected a national motion to increase funds for climate damage compensation for LMICs.
In 2020, the Netherlands committed US$1.7 billion of its bilateral allocable ODA to projects which targeted action against climate change as a principal or significant objective, making it the sixth-largest DAC donor to the issue in absolute terms.
Netherlands’ ODA targeting climate has steadily increased since 2016, reaching an all-time high of US$1.7 billion in 2020, when 41% of bilateral allocable ODA was tagged with the Rio markers, nearly double the DAC average of 23%. The Netherlands was the fourth-largest donor to climate-related projects in 2020 in relative terms.
The Netherlands’ policy focus is on climate adaptation and somewhat on agriculture. 14% of bilateral allocable ODA went to projects addressing climate change as a principal goal in 2020.
The Netherlands’ climate-related ODA focuses primarily on adaptation (85%). Interventions aimed at climate change mitigation account for 61% of the Netherlands’ commitments to climate. As is apparent from the relative size of these percentages, some projects target both adaptation and mitigation. In 2020, 46% of climate funding was channeled toward projects tagged with both markers.
In 2020, 27% or US$1.1 billion of the Netherlands’ bilateral allocable ODA was committed to projects with a significant climate change component, well above the DAC average of 14%. 14% or US$605 million of funding in 2020 targeted climate change as a principal goal, well above the 9% DAC average. This marks a significant increase from only 9% of funding dedicated to climate as a principal goal in 2019.
Still, a large proportion (59%) of Dutch bilateral allocable ODA did not target climate change or was not screened against the Rio markers in 2020, well below the DAC average of 77%.
Multilateral Spending and Commitments
Dutch climate finance supports multilaterals working to transition to clean energy and protect biodiversity. The Netherlands also contributes climate financing through multilaterals, though not all this funding is ODA-eligible. This includes contributions to the following multilaterals:
At the 2021 UNFCCC COP26, the Netherlands also committed to discontinuing financing fossil fuel projects abroad.
Funding & Policy Outlook
Climate protection is a priority for the Netherlands. The development strategy ‘Doing What the Netherlands is Good At’ lays out a plan to increase the share of ODA targeting climate change and its consequences. The Netherlands aims to mobilize US$2 billion for public and private climate financing by 2025. The Netherlands is committed to spending 50% of its public climate finance on adaptation.
The 2019 ‘National Climate Agreement’ gives a detailed domestic policy framework for the Dutch government’s plans to meet the Paris Agreement’s 2030 goals, namely to reduce the Netherlands’ greenhouse gas emissions by 49% compared to 1990 levels.
The Netherlands published its International Climate Strategy in October 2022. This strategy focuses on mitigation, adaptation, and financing, and consists of the following elements: strengthening multilateral and bilateral climate diplomacy, increasing climate finance, phasing out aid to international fossil fuel extraction, 'greener’ trade missions and economic services provided by embassies, and a focus on public infrastructure in developing countries. Climate financing will reach €1.8 billion (US$2.1 billion) by 2025. In 2023, the Netherlands will co-host the UN Water Conference.
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