The Netherlands spends more than half of its bilateral health ODA on reproductive health care
The Netherlands’ official development assistance (ODA) to global health stood at US$573 million in 2016, equivalent to 11% of total ODA. This is above the average share of ODA spent on health by other members of the Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development’s (OECD; 8%) Development Assistance Committee (DAC), making it the seventh-largest DAC donor to global health. The sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) budget line (which also includes all other ‘general’ global health spending, such as funding to the World Health Organization (WHO)), is projected to stand at €428 million (US$474 million) in 2019, and to slightly decrease over the coming years.
Half (50%, or US$287 million) of total Dutch health ODA in 2016 was channeled as multilateral ODA, slightly below the DAC average of 56%. Key commitments to health included a pledge to Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance (Gavi) (US$308 million) for 2016‐2020. The Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (Global Fund) is also a main recipient of Dutch multilateral ODA for health, with a US$195 million (in 2016 prices) pledge for 2017-2019.
Bilateral health ODA went from US$239 million in 2015 to US$287 million in 2016, accounting for 9% of total Dutch bilateral ODA. Reflecting the Dutch policy focus on SRHR, bilateral health funding strongly focuses on reproductive health care (59% of bilateral health ODA, or US$170 million in 2016).
The Netherlands strongly supports civil society organizations (CSOs) active in the field of SRHR. Funding for SRHR for 2016 to 2020 will most prominently continue under the ‘SRHR Partnership Fund’ (€215 million, or US$238 million; a total of €43 million, or US$48 million annually). This Fund is a partnership between the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and seven Dutch CSOs. In response to the planned cuts in US funding to CSOs that support access to or provide information about safe abortion, the former Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation, Lilianne Ploumen, launched the global initiative ‘She Decides’ in January. As of January 2018, a total of €390 million (US$431 million) has been raised by ‘She Decides’. The Netherlands has announced it will contribute €29 million (US$32 million) spending to ‘She Decides’ in 2017 and 2018.
From 2018 onwards, the Netherlands contributes US$68 million (2018-2023) to the Global Financing Facility in support of ‘Every Woman, Every Child’ (GFF). This is part of the additional budgets for SRHR. GFF finances government plans for improvement of the health care sector for mothers, children and adolescents.
The Netherlands, together with the United Kingdom and Belgium, released a joint statement at the Family Planning 2020 Summit in July 2017, in which all three countries commit that their core funding to the humanitarian system strengthens results on protecting and empowering women and girls, including SRHR.
The Health and AIDS Division is responsible for 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. 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.