The Netherlands strongly focuses on sexual and reproductive health and rights
The Netherlands’ official development assistance (ODA) to global health (both bilateral and multilateral) stood at US$589 million in 2016 (the latest year for which full data is available), equivalent to 11% of its total ODA. This makes the Netherlands seventh-largest DAC donor to global health in absolute terms and is above the average share (8%) of ODA spent on health by other members of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s (OECD) Development Assistance Committee (DAC). The Netherlands increased its funding for global health by 15% between 2015 and 2016, largely driven by higher bilateral funding for sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR). Between 2015 and 2016, funding for reproductive healthcare went up by 40%, reaching US$175 million (equivalent to 30% of total health ODA). The Dutch government is a global leader on SRHR issues: in 2017, it launched the global initiative ‘She Decides’ to support organizations that focus on SRHR and family planning.
Half (US$294 million) of total Dutch health ODA in 2016 was channeled as multilateral ODA, slightly below the DAC average of 56%. The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (Global Fund), International Development Association (IDA), Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance (Gavi), and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) are key recipients. Additionally, 14% of total health ODA was channeled as earmarked contributions to multilaterals. This is reported as bilateral funding. This brings the total of Dutch health ODA channeled through multilaterals to 64% (DAC average: 65%).
The Netherlands strongly supports civil society organizations (CSOs) active in the field of SRHR.
Bilateral health ODA went from US$295 million in 2016 to US$267 million in 2017. This accounts for 7% of total bilateral ODA. Reflecting the Dutch policy focus on SRHR, bilateral health funding strongly focuses on reproductive health care (58% of bilateral health ODA in 2017). Reproductive health care is followed by population policy and administrative management (17%), and family planning (10%). The Netherlands strongly supports civil society organizations (CSOs) active in the field of SRHR. Funding for SRHR for 2016 to 2020 is channeled through the ‘SRHR Partnership Fund’ (€215 million, or US$242 million; a total of €43 million, or US$48 million annually). The Fund is a partnership between the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and seven Dutch CSO on SRHR, with a special focus on young people. A new call for proposals is expected to be issued in September 2019.
Priority countries for bilateral cooperation on health:
The Netherlands streamlines its efforts on SRHR across other sectors. In July 2017, it released a joint statement with the UK and Belgium at the Family Planning 2020 Summit, in which all three countries committed that their core funding to the humanitarian system will strengthen results on protecting and empowering women and girls, including SRHR. In October 2018, the Netherlands announced its first pledge to the Global Financing Facility in support of Every Woman Every Child (GFF), a financing mechanism that acts as a catalyst to mobilize financing for government plans to invest in health care for women, children, and adolescents. It will contribute US$68 million between 2018 and 2023.
The Health and AIDS Division leads development policy on health
Within the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Directorate-General for International Cooperation (DGIS) is responsible for designing and coordinating the implementation of Dutch development policy. This person traditionally also had the title of Ambassador on SRHR and HIV/AIDS, which under the current cabinet was changed to Ambassador on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality. Within DGIS, the ‘Social Development Department’ (DSO) develops policies and strategies related to health, education, gender, civil society, and research. Within DSO, the health and AIDS division (DSO/GA) is responsible for the policy on SRHR, including health systems and HIV/AIDS.