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Dutch development minister spearheads Amsterdam Conference Declaration on mental health and psychological support in humanitarian settings

Dutch development minister Sigrid Kaag inaugurated the first conference on mental health and psychosocial support (MHPSS) in Amsterdam on October 8- 9, 2019. The Netherlands plus 23 other countries and 10 international charities agreed upon and signed the Amsterdam Conference Declaration on MHPSS, articulating 37 minimum requirements for emergency assistance to address the mental health and psychosocial support needs of people affected by emergency situations and protracted crises.

Press release - Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Development Cooperation

Amsterdam Conference Declaration - Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Development Cooperation

Netherlands Global health

Global Fund releases table showing total pledges by country

At its sixth replenishment conference in Lyon, France, the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria raised a record-breaking US$14 billion in commitments from public and private donors, the largest amount of funding ever raised for a multilateral health organization. The Global Fund has since released a table showing the amounts pledged by each attendant.

Pledges at Global Fund Sixth Replenishment Conference - The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria

Netherlands' Global Fund contributions decrease by €10 million

The Netherlands pledged €156 million (US$177 million) at the replenishment conference of the Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria on October 9- 10, 2019 in France. The same amount was pledged by the Dutch government at last year's conference, but an additional €10 million (US$11 million) were added through parliamentary measures, bringing the total 2015- 2018 contribution €166 million (US$189 million). 

The Netherlands, which was a prominent member state in the establishment of the Global Fund, is now one of the few outlying countries reducing their contributions. The Global Fund still managed to achieve its US$14 billion target with an unprecedented increased in support of other large donors. 

News article - Nu.nl (in Dutch)

Netherlands Global health

Dutch cabinet loses majority as expelled MP stays as independent

Dutch parliamentarian Wybren van Haga, who was expelled from the VVD party last week, announced that he will keep his seat in parliament as an independent, effectively nullifying the ruling coalition's majority. The government will need support from the opposition to get any plans passed through parliament. The Rutte III coalition already needs opposition support in the Senate where it also lacks majority.Opposition party Groen Links, already announced last week that they will support the current cabinet in all aspects relating to the budget, as to ensure stability of the government and avoid 'political games'. 

To replace Mr. van Haga, the VVD appointed Mr. Arne Wavering as their new development cooperation and international trade spokesperson. He was previously the VVD spokesperson for agriculture and fisheries.

News article - Bloomberg

Netherlands

Minister Kaag speaks about women's rights at the Johannes Rutgers Dialogue event

Dutch minister for foreign trade and development cooperation of the Netherlands, Sigrid Kaag, was the keynote speaker at an event organized by Rutgers Foundation in the Hague on October 3, 2019.

"Women are not a 'sector' but 50% of the population," declared Ms. Kaag, who later emphasized the need for bolder action on improving abortion access. 

The event, which takes place once a year, had as its 2019 theme 'the war on sex'. Prominent parliamentarians such as Anne Kuik and the previous development minister Lilian Ploumen were in attendance. 

Press release - Rutgers Foundation (in Dutch)

Netherlands Global health

Dutch development minister talks mental health and development on CNN

Dutch minister for foreign affairs and development cooperation, Sigrid Kaag, spoke as a guest on CNN about the potential impact of a hard Brexit on Dutch trade and about the upcoming conference on psychological health in crisis situations which is to take place in Amsterdam on October 7-8, 2019.

Minister Kaag is an advocate for the inclusion of mental health and psychosocial support (MHPSS) as an integral part of the humanitarian response in crisis and emergency situations.

Twitter - Sigrid Kaag 

Netherlands Global health

Dutch government puts US$23 million towards food resiliency in Somalia, Sudan, and South Sudan

The Netherlands made a new contribution of US$28 million to the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), to improve the resilience of food systems in Somalia, Sudan, and South Sudan. This new initiative aims at increasing resilience-based development work in countries affected by protracted crises.

The funding agreement was signed during the UN General Assembly in New York, by the minister for foreign trade and development cooperation of the Netherlands, Sigrid Kaag, and FAO Director-General Qu Dongyu.

Press release - FAO

Netherlands Agriculture Nutrition

With one-seat majority at risk, Dutch government may lose its coalition

The party of the prime minister of the Netherlands, VVD, decided last week to remove MP Wybren van Haga, the spokesperson of the parliamentary committee on foreign trade and development cooperation from the party, alleging fraudulent use of his personal housing properties. 

Van Haga must either give his seat back to VVD, or stay on as an independent member. If he chooses the latter, the Prime Minister's party will lose its one seat majority and will need support from smaller parties to pass legislation and budgets moving forward.

News article - NL Times

Netherlands

Controversial bill criminalizing dutch presence in terrorist controlled areas passes in parliament

In an attempt to reduce the risk of Dutch citizens traveling to terrorist-controlled areas to join militias or armed groups, the Dutch parliament passed a new law criminalizing the presence of Dutch citizens in those areas. 

The bill instigated fierce criticism among media outlets and civil society organizations, given that it also applies to journalists covering war zones or impartial humanitarian organizations delivering life-saving support. As a result, political parties Groen Links and D66 presented a motion in parliament to grant exceptions to journalists and humanitarian organizations. 

Press release - Government of the Netherlands (in Dutch)

News article -NRC newspaper (in Dutch)

Global Netherlands

Dutch minister emphasizes importance of SRHR in universal health coverage

Minister of foreign trade and development cooperation of the Netherlands, Sigrid Kaag, delivered a speech on behalf of 58 countries that participated at the UN General Assembly High-level Meeting on Universal Health Coverage (UHC) in New York in September.

The joint statement primarily emphasized the importance of sexual and reproductive health and rights as a cornerstone of UHC. Kaag also highlighted the historic nature of the political declaration on UHC that came out of the meeting; 58 signatories committed to its full implementation in their own countries and abroad.

Press release - Government of the Netherlands 

Netherlands Global health