Dutch government increases development assistance for Niger

The Netherlands will increase its development spending in Niger with an additional €100 million over four years. The funding will focus primarily on programs that fight poverty, and provide education as well as job opportunities for young people. The increased support aligns with the broader development efforts of the Netherlands in the Sahel region, which emphasizes conflict prevention, security and stability.

The Dutch government also supports projects for safe and clean water, and initiatives that help young entrepreneurs kick start their businesses. 

News article - Government of the Netherlands (in Dutch)


Dutch foreign ministry and CSOs discuss strategic partnerships on development framework

Around 150 civil society partners and staff from the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation came together for the third 'Linking and Learning' event, which takes place within the Dutch development framework of 'Dialogue and Dissent'. This framework provides funding to 25 strategic partnerships among Dutch and local NGOs, with a primary focus on advocacy. The event aimed at discussing and reflecting on the strengths and weaknesses of the current framework. Outcomes will feed into the next policy framework that is currently being prepared in the Ministry.

Twitter account - TogetherWeSpeak 


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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Dutch historian calling for taxation at World Economic Forum goes viral

Dutch historian and author, Rutger Bregman, spoke critically of the failure of rich people to pay their fair share of taxes on a panel hosted by Time Magazine at the World Economic Forum in Davos. The video of his speech went viral, with more than 7 million views in Twitter alone. Bregman, author of the book 'Utopia for Realists', noted the failure of attendees to address the key issue in the battle for greater equality by not paying a proportional share of tax.

He remarked that 1,500 people had travelled to Davos by private jet to hear David Attenborough talk about climate change, and that no one was talking about raising taxes on the rich. He said that "this [taxation] is about saving capitalism".

News article - The Guardian

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Dutch public support for climate agreement weakens

Public support for Dutch goals in the country's Climate Agreement is decreasing, according to a recent poll. In June 2018, 73% of people thought that emissions should be reduced by half in 2030, a share that has now  shrunk to 59%. Half of the poll participants are worried about the consequences of the Climate Agreement, which is currently being drafted, for them personally. A third think it is a good agreement, while slightly more than half (54%) feel negatively about it. The poll was conducted by EenVandaag, a current affairs programme, from 25,000 members of their opinion panel.

News article - Een Vandaag (in Dutch)


European donors solidify financial and political commitments to SRH/FP

A trend analysis of European donor financing for sexual and reproductive health (SRH) and family planning (FP) reports strengthened financial and political commitments in the past year. SRH/FP funding was largely protected, even where cuts to official development assistance (ODA) were made. 10 of 12 European countries either increased or maintained funding to SRH/FP. They also featured it strongly as a component of humanitarian and long-term development policies. Denmark showed the most significant increase in percentage growth in funding for SRH/FP, and together the 12 European donor countries in the analysis increased funding by 17% over 2016. The UK, Norway, the Netherlands, and Sweden remain the largest donors.

Report – Countdown 2030 Europe

Dutch NGO Oxfam Novib report calls for higher taxes on wealth and corporations

Dutch NGO Oxfam Novib published a report highlighting the scale of global inequality, where the 26 richest people on earth have jointly more money than the poorest half of the world's population. Entitled "Public good or private wealth?", the report argues that the solution to inequality is 'simple': Governments must impose more taxes on assets, high incomes, and corporate profits, and revenue should be spent on health care and education. They note that only 4% of all taxes worldwide currently come from wealth.

The report highlights Thailand as an example of good practice. In 2002, Thailand introduced universal healthcare financed by an income tax. As a result,  infant mortality rates and school absenteeism went down.

News article - NOS (in Dutch)

Report - Oxfam Novib 

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Dutch development minister announces role of special youth ambassador

Dutch Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation Sigrid Kaag announced last week that she will be appointing a special youth ambassador. The position will focus on representing the voices of many young people in key priority regions for her government such as the Sahel, the Horn of Africa, the Middle East, and North Africa, by connecting with young people, policy makers, companies, knowledge institutions, and non-governmental organizations. The role strongly aligns with the development policy that Kaag outlined last year, aimed at tackling the root causes of poverty. 

The announcement of the new youth ambassador will take place during the conference of ambassadors this week. 

News article - Government of the Netherlands (in Dutch)

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Dutch MP criticizes Foreign Minister Kaag's trade policy

Wybren van Haga, Dutch Member of Parliament (MP) and chair of trade and development committee, has criticized Minisiter Sigrid Kaag's trade agenda as being "too soft". Van Haga has made a total of 18 proposals on behalf of his party, the People's Party for Democracy and Freedom (VVD), ranging from streamlining trade and export support activities to weakening the importance of  the Dutch Agreement on sustainable garment and textiles. 

The VVD memorandum comes at a time when the party is distancing itself from its own coalition government. The memorandum makes clear the party's position as being very supportive of trade and the private sector, and less so of development cooperation. 

Minister Kaag responded in a radio interview, and in an article by the Financial Dagblad, defending her policy and the cooperation between the two sides of her ministry. 

Parliamentary nota - Parliament of the Netherlands (in Dutch)


Conference of ambassadors of the Netherlands to take place in The Hague

In the week of January 28, 2019, Dutch diplomats from around the world will be in the Netherlands for the Annual Ambassadors Conference at which they will discuss political and social developments at home and abroad. Plans for that week also include meetings with politicians, the business community, NGOs, and other government organizations such as municipalities, knowledge institutions, and social organizations in the Netherlands.

The diplomats will debate the ways that the Foreign Affairs Ministry can support social issues in the Netherlands, including migration, corporate social responsibility, counter-terrorism, religion, and corruption prevention. In the agenda there will be other issues including engagement with Russia, foreign policy with China, EU post-Brexit, and MH17, the passenger flight from Amsterdam that was shot down over Ukraine in 2014.

The Netherlands has 118 ambassadors, 25 consuls-generals, and 9 permanent representatives at international organizations such as the EU, the UN, and NATO.

News article - Government of the Netherlands

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