Donors raise almost US$7 billion in development assistance for Syria

International donors have pledged close to US$7 billion for the victims of the Syrian war at a donor conference in Brussels. The money will be spent on food, medical products, and education. More than half the funding is earmarked for the support of Syrian refugees in neighboring countries.

According to the United Nations (UN), although the money raised exceeds expectations, US$7.8 billion in total is needed to meet the needs of Syria and its neighboring countries. 90% of the money is provided by only 10 countries and Germany is the second largest donor, providing €1.4 billion (US$1.6 billion) over the next three years.

News article – Deutsche Welle

Press release – Federal Foreign Ministry

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Dutch minister calls for increased support of women in the fight against climate change

On the occasion of International Women's Day, Dutch Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation Sigrid Kaag and Costa Rican Minister for Environment and Energy Carlos Manuel Rodríguez co-wrote an article calling for increased support of women in the fight against climate change, highlighting a coalition of countries and institutions that are making women a priority.

Kaag and Rodríguez serve as co-chairs of the National Development Contributions Partnership (NDC Partnership), which works with national governments, international institutions, civil society, researchers, and the private sector to fast-track climate and development action. According to the article, gender-responsive NCDs allow countries  to "develop climate-related policies, programs, and budgets with the power to address existing gender inequalities from the outset".

News article - Medium

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Dutch parliament debates the future of development cooperation and MFF

In a dynamic and well-attended meeting, Dutch members of parliament (MPs) and Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation Sigrid Kaag discussed the role that the EU should play in the future with regards to development cooperation. Topics of discussion included the Multiannual Financial Framework, the EU's long-term budget, and the Sustainable Development Goals. Attendees also debate policy on education, shrinking civic spaces, climate change, and migration. 

The full debate can be watched here.

Debate page - Dutch Parliament (in Dutch)

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The Netherlands provides emergency assistance to Yemen

Sigrid Kaag, Dutch minister for foreign trade and development cooperation, participated in an international conference in Geneva where she announced that her Cabinet will devote €13 million (US$15 million) in life-saving humanitarian support for Yemen. The funding is to be spent through United Nations (UN) and Dutch organizations on food, medical care, water, and sanitation, among other basic needs.

Kaag is also taking the lead in mobilizing support for mental health and psychosocial support in crisis situations. She is organizing an international conference on the topic in Amsterdam in October. The Netherlands supports the political process with the goal of peace and reconstruction of the country under the leadership of the UN, which has declared Yemen the largest humanitarian crisis in the world.

News article - Government of the Netherlands (in Dutch)

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The Netherlands seeks a seat on the Human Rights Council of the UN

Sigrid Kaag, Dutch minister for foreign trade and development cooperation, announced that her country will seek the candidacy to the world’s highest forum for human rights, the United Nations (UN) Human Rights Council. The Netherlands, which sat on the Human Rights Council from 2015 to 2017, and currently has observer status, is applying for membership for the 2020 to 2022 term. The new members for this term will be elected by the UN General Assembly in New York in October 2019. 

Minister Kaag made the announcement in a speech in her last trip to Geneva in February, where she also met with Michelle Bachelet, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.

News article - Government of the Netherlands

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Dutch foreign minister briefs parliament on MFF

Dutch Minister of Foreign Affairs Stef Blok wrote to the Dutch Parliament to provide a summary of the European Council's discussion around negotiations on the EU's Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF). According to Blok, the Council's Romanian Presidency will continue to work on streamlining negotiations in preparation for the European Council meeting in June. In preparation, the Presidency will hold various thematic discussions on subjects including climate change and conditionality. This structured, thematic approach was supported by an overwhelming majority of Member States, including the Netherlands. 

In his letter to parliament, Blok also covered the European Commission's discussion paper, 'Towards a sustainable Europe in 2030', where the Council underlined the importance of rapidly implementing coherent action at national, regional, and global levels to achieve the 2030 Agenda. The Council is expected to adopt Council conclusions on the discussion paper.

Letter to Dutch Parliament - Government of the Netherlands (in Dutch)

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Japan invites the Netherlands to 2019 G20 meetings

Dutch Minister of Foreign Affairs Stef Blok informed Dutch Parliament that Japan has invited the Netherlands to participate in the 2019 G20 as a guest country, including the G20 summit of government leaders held from June 28-29, 2019 in Osaka, all ministerial meetings, and preparatory (official) meetings.

Although the Netherlands is not a member of the G20 group, this is the third year in a row that the Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte has been invited to attend the annual summit.

Letter to Parliament - Government of the Netherlands (in Dutch)

Global Japan Netherlands

Report: six ways to refocus development assistance to better address poverty and achieve SDGs

Development Initiatives, a UK-based research organization, has published a report identifying six worrying trends in the direction of official development assistance (ODA), offering ways to ensure funding better addresses poverty and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Examples include the lower rate of growth in ODA to the poorest countries and ODA to key social sectors lagging behind mining, banking, and other areas less critical to achieving United Nations targets. 

Report - Development Initiatives


Merkel champions multilateralism at Munich Security Conference

German Chancellor Angela Merkel emphasized the importance of multilateralism during a speech at the annual Munich Security Conference, which brings together more than 35 heads of government, foreign and defense ministers, representatives of international organizations, and thought leaders to discuss international security policy. Merkel also noted that Germany has increased its defense and development spending in recent years, saying that "Germany must make changes" to develop a common European defense culture, and further engage in the dialogue with France.

Other themes on conference agenda were transatlantic cooperation and possible consequences of a renewed era of competition between the world's great powers.

Newspaper article – Spiegel Online (in German)

Germany Global

Dutch students invited to meet with prime minister following protests on climate inaction

On February 7, thousands of Dutch students took the streets in the Hague to put pressure on their government to do more on climate change.  The students were supported by a letter signed by 350 scientists. In response to the protest, Prime Minister Mark Rutte invited the representatives of Youth For The Climate, the organization behind the march, for a meeting in-person with his cabinet. However, he forewarned that they "cannot really ask for more".

The protest followed different debates in Parliament in January about the implementation of the climate measures in the Climate Agreement, which was signed in December in the Conference of Parties in Poland. It contains measures which are intended to help the Netherlands achieve its goal of halving its CO2 emissions in 2030 compared to 1990. However, the leader of the ruling People's Party, Klaas Dijkhoff, has said that he does not want "ordinary people" to carry the bill and that he is not "going to do it".

News article - NOS (in Dutch)

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