Dutch government to host international conference on mental health and psychosocial support in crisis situations

Sigrid Kaag, minister for foreign trade and development cooperation of the Netherlands will hold an international conference on mental health and psychosocial support in crisis and emergency situations in Amsterdam on October 7-8, 2019.

In preparation for the conference, the ministry has published an introductory video and an infographic outlining this topic and articulating the reasons why it has become a priority. Kaag also authored an op-ed on the subject, calling access to mental health support in crisis situations "a basic necessity and fundamental right".

Press release - Government of the Netherlands

Op-ed - Sigrid Kaag for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Netherlands Global health

Dutch government releases information on education work in developing countries

The Dutch Ministry for Foreign Affairs published an update about its work on education in developing countries. The press release highlighted progress in three particular areas: 

  1. The promotion of primary and vocational education: through Dutch support to the Global Partnership for Education (GPE), which helped provide 72 million children with primary education in 2002-2015, and the Orange Knowledge Programme which works in 53 developing countries providing study grants and training in technical and occupational fields;
  2. Improvements in the business climate: through the use of information technology resources and investments in young people, especially women, who want to start their own business, and in businesses with growth potential; and
  3. Strengthening and modernizing agriculture: by supporting organizations that train and advise farmers and provide them with more and better-quality seeds.

Press release - Government of the Netherlands

Netherlands Education

Minister Kaag talks development with Melinda Gates and Dutch influencer Anna Gooshin

Dutch minister for foreign trade and development cooperation Sigrid Kaag met with Melinda Gates, co-chair of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF), and Dutch influencer Anna Nooshin on July 16, 2019, in The Hague. 

The three discussed shared goals around the eradication of HIV/AIDS, the promotion of women's rights, including sexual and reproductive health and rights and how to best work together to accomplish the Sustainable Development Goals. 

Anna Nooshin shared her views and experiences from her recent trip to South Africa where she met a young woman living with HIV who relies on treatment provided by the Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, a funding instrument that is supported by the Dutch government and BMGF. 

Twitter - Minister Kaag 


Dutch development minister briefs parliament about EU's external financing instruments

Dutch minister for foreign affairs and development cooperation, Sigrid Kaag, provided an overview in parliament about the EU's external financing instruments, on July 16, 2019.

The update focused on the role of the Netherlands within EU development cooperation, the evaluation of the effectiveness of EU development cooperation, gender-specific data of EU cooperation, and the position of dutch organizations internationally.

Press release - Parliament of the Netherlands (in Dutch)

EU Netherlands

Sigrid Kaag receives report on better integration of the SDGs and human rights

The Advisory Council on International Affairs (AIV) published its advice to the Dutch minister of foreign trade and development cooperation, Sigrid Kaag, on the relationship between the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and human rights. On the basis of the conclusions of the report, the AIV made nine policy recommendations for Ms. Kaag.

For each recommendation, a number of tools were provided to operationalize foreign policy on these points. These recommendations included the need for better integration of development, human rights, and environmental policy, using the Agenda 2030 of the SDGs to strengthen the multilateral human rights system, or prioritizing the work against shrinking civic spaces (including publicly emphasizing the importance of independent civil society organizations and human rights defenders).

Full report - Advisory Council on International Affairs (in Dutch) 


Dutch government and CSO partners hold seminar on shrinking civic spaces

On June 27, 2019, the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation held a seminar on the impact of non-state actors on civic space, co-organized with INCLUDE, a knowledge platform on inclusive development policies. The seminar was co-led by To Tjoelker, head of the Civil Society Department of the ministry. In 2017, the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA), in conjunction with INCLUDE and others, started a research program called ‘New roles of CSOs for inclusive development’, to scrutinize the assumptions underlying the MFA’s policies to support civil society organizations.

In the seminar, attended by over 100 participants, the organizers discussed findings that actions of state repression can extend well beyond traditional government entities, to include businesses and media, among others. Participants also discussed how donors can better support civil society in increasingly oppressive environments. 

Press Release - INCLUDE


Dutch development assistance to increase in MENA region, West Africa/Sahel, Horn of Africa

The Dutch Ministry for Foreign Affairs and Development Cooperation of the Netherlands sent a letter to Parliament providing details on the shift in geographical focus of Dutch development cooperation. As previously announced in the Development Cooperation Policy published in May 2018, development cooperation will increasingly focus on projects in West Africa/Sahel, the Horn of Africa, the Middle East and North Africa. The memorandum states that the thematic program budget in these regions will increase by a third at minimum over the course of the current government term, and staff capacity and expertise building will be also prioritized in these regions. 

The renewed Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) Partnership Fund will focus in large part on the upscaling of programs in Ethiopia and Mali, and on the establishment of new programs in Niger, Burkina Faso and Uganda.

Dutch contributions to multilateral funds such as United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), Global Alliance of Vaccines and Immunisation (Gavi) and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria are not geographically earmarked; the funds will be disbursed according to the organizations' criteria and country lists, and therefore the changes in focus countries do not affect them. 

Press release - Parliament of the Netherlands (in Dutch)


Results website touts 2017-2018 Dutch development cooperation outcomes

On a website dedicated in detail to its core development results, the government of the Netherlands noted key numbers pertaining their cooperation efforts.

According to the site, the Dutch government offers funding support to a total of 5,968 organisations in more than 60 countries. Since the start of Dialogue and Dissent in 2016, a program focused on lobbying and advocacy, at least 9,000 initiatives have taken place worldwide to better inform and mobilize citizens, influence agenda setting, and train people to engage in dialogues with authorities and businesses. The report notes that in the 2017-2018 period, the project has had significant influence on the passage of 933 policies that strengthen inclusive and sustainable development.

The results site also contains reflections on progress in other relevant areas, on topics such as shrinking civic spaces and the status of human rights defenders across the globe.

Official results site - Government of the Netherlands


Dutch development ministry publishes policy for upcoming civil society organizations support program

The Dutch Ministry for Foreign Affairs and Development Cooperation published the policy framework outlining priorities and funding mechanisms to support civil society organisations (CSOs) in future. The overarching goal of the policy framework is the strengthening of a civil society that, based on a human rights approach, expresses the voices and needs of citizens, and the establishment an inclusive and sustainable society overall. 

policy articulates the key lessons learned from past programs (such as Dialogue and Dissent), including recommendations that new projects include more focus on collaboration with local governments and that gender be more strongly integrated into all programs. 

Under the framework, two key programs will be established: "Power of Voices" and the "SDG5" with three and four sub-funds, respectively.

The Ministry aims to have the current policy framework ready by the end of the summer but details on project aims and budgets are already available. 

Press release- Parliament of the Netherlands (only in Dutch)


Dutch government shares ‘spring budget’ for the 2019 Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation Ministry

The Dutch government published a new version of the 2019 governmental budget, the so called 'Spring Budget', or 'Spring Memorandum'. This new version also includes revision to the budget pertaining to the Ministry for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation for this year. 

The Spring Budget will be discussed in the Dutch Parliament before the summer recess, and a new version will be published in autumn.

Budget - Government of the Netherlands (in Dutch)