Netherlands - Global health
At a glance
The Netherlands is the 10th-largest donor to health and contributes 10% of total ODA to the sector
The Netherlands’ total official development assistance (ODA) to health in 2020 was US$532 million, making it the tenth-largest Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) Development Assistance Committee (DAC) donor to health. Health ODA made up 10% of total Dutch ODA in 2020 (DAC average: 10%) making it the eleventh-largest donor in relative terms. Of the US$532 million in ODA to health in 2020, 37% was made up of core contributions to multilaterals, 21% was earmarked funding to multilaterals (reported as bilateral funding), and the remainder (41%) was provided bilaterally.
Bilateral health ODA increased by 7%, from US$311 million in 2019 to US$333 million in 2020. The increase was primarily driven by increased funding for ‘health policy and administrative management,’ ‘basic nutrition,’ and ‘COVID-19 control.’ Although sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) saw some funding cuts in 2020, bilateral health funding focused strongly on SRHR, in line with the Netherlands’ policy priorities. In 2020, almost half of all bilateral health funding went to ‘reproductive health care’ (44%). This was followed by ‘basic nutrition’ (13%) and ‘family planning’ (12%).
The Dutch government is a global leader in SRHR and prioritizes this issue in its health-related assistance. The Netherlands supports civil society organizations (CSOs) and multilaterals active in SRHR; funding for SRHR CSOs in 2021-2025 will be channeled through the ‘SRHR Partnership Fund’. The SRHR Partnership Fund is one of four funds in the Netherlands that each receive part of €1.3 billion (US$1.5 billion) in total. The Netherlands also plans to contribute US$68 million between 2018 - 2023 to the Global Financing Facility (GFF) in support of Every Woman Every Child, a financing mechanism that acts as a catalyst to mobilize financing for government plans to invest in health care for women, children, and adolescents. The Netherlands topped up its SRHR contribution by an additional €10 million (US$11 million) in May 2021; this specific funding was intended for family planning projects, which the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and GFF will implement.
Former Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation Tom de Bruijn submitted a letter to Parliament on December 6, 2021, describing the Dutch government’s approach to the global COVID-19 response. Its approach has included making pledges to organizations within the Access to COVID-19 Tools Accelerator (ACT-A), including the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), the COVID-19 Vaccines Global Access (COVAX), GFF, the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (Global Fund), the World Health Organization (WHO), and the Foundation for Innovative New Diagnostics (FIND) (see Core Instruments table). However, funding in 2022 for global health multilaterals has been postponed until the end of the year once the ‘Global Health Strategy’ is finalized and published.
In December 2021, after nine months of coalition talks, the governing Dutch parties finalized their coalition agreement, which included a €300 million (US$342 million) ODA structural increase for 2022-2024, and a per year €500 million (US$570 million) increase from 2025 onward. The additional funds are partly dedicated to contribution increases for the COVAX pillar of the ACT-A and a recommitment to the ongoing development of the Dutch ‘Global Health Strategy,’ with the goal of eliminating tuberculosis (TB) and HIV by 2030.
The Health and AIDS Division leads global health development policy
Within the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA), the Directorate-General for International Cooperation (DGIS) is responsible for designing and coordinating the implementation of Dutch development policy. This person has traditionally held the title, ‘Ambassador on SRHR and HIV/AIDS,’ which was changed to ‘Ambassador on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality’ under the former cabinet. Within DGIS, the ‘Social Development Department’ (DSO) develops policies and strategies related to health, education, gender, civil society, and research. Within the DSO, the ‘Health and AIDS Division’ (GA) is responsible for SRHR policy, including health systems and HIV/AIDS