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Donor countries pledge over US$150 million for 'Grain from Ukraine Initiative'

On November 26, 2022, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky announced the 'Grain from Ukraine Initiative,' which seeks to facilitate the delivery of 125,000 tons of grain to nations facing food insecurity and famine.

Ukraine presented the program at the G20 meeting in November 2022. The initiative aims to send up to 60 shipments of grain to low-income countries in Africa and provide food for at least 5 million people by summer 2023. Zelensky officially launched the initiative on the 90th anniversary of the Holodomor, a famine inflicted on Ukrainians by Joseph Stalin’s Soviet Union.

The announcement was accompanied by pledges from donor countries, including:

  • Canada: CA$30 million (US$22 million) via the World Food Programme (WFP);
  • France: US$20 million via the WFP, including €6 million (US$6 million) for transporting grain to Yemen and Sudan, and €14 million (US$14 million) for transportation to Somalia;
  • The Netherlands: US$4 million via the WFP;
  • Sweden: SEK 100 million (US$10 million) via the WFP;
  • The US: US$20 million; and
  • The UK: US$6 million.

In total, the initiative raised more than US$150 million and received support from more than 20 countries. 

News article - Politico

Tweet - Mark Rutte

Press release - Government of Sweden (in Swedish)

News article - Atlantico (in French)

Netherlands launches 3rd 'Action Plan' for development policy

On November 25, 2022, Dutch Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation Liesje Schreinemacher submitted the third strategy for policy coherence for development cooperation.

The action plan outlined three priorities for Dutch cooperation with low- and middle-income countries for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals: 1) reducing the Dutch climate, land, and water footprint, 2) addressing illicit money and tax avoidance, and 3) reducing vaccine and health inequality.

Since 2016, the Netherlands has developed action plans for development policy coherence to optimize Dutch policies on global development cooperation. The government has committed to annually evaluating these action plans and reporting on their progress.

The development of a third action plan was announced in the recent development strategy, 'Doing What The Netherlands is Good at'. The plan recognized that the Netherlands faces challenges in reducing its carbon footprint and addressing the effects of tax havens and illegal money flows, and presented new goals for addressing them.

The government's plans for reducing its environmental impact will be elaborated on in the upcoming 2023 National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan.

While recognizing existing data limitations, the government also committed to informing the House of Representatives annually in a letter about interest, royalties, and dividends from low- and middle-income countries to the Netherlands, and from the Netherlands to low-tax jurisdictions.

In line with the new 'Dutch Global Health Strategy,' the action plan mentioned that the government will promote equal access to knowledge in the field of vaccine and drug production to reduce global health inequality. The government also committed to highlighting gender-specific results in the plan’s evaluation.

The new action plan will be evaluated by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs evaluation service (IOB) in early 2023. The plan’s goals, efforts, and indicators were submitted as an annex, and will be reported on during the third Wednesday in May of 2023, known as ‘Accountability Day’. 

Press release - Dutch government (in Dutch)

Action Plan annex - Dutch government (in Dutch)

Netherlands pledges USD$3 million to UNAIDS

On November 18, 2022 at the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) global centre in Geneva, the Netherlands announced additional resources for UNAIDS.

In addition to pledging an extra €3 million (US$3 million), the Netherlands committed to increasing funding for the organization by 15% and signed a multi-year agreement to secure UNAIDS funding for 2023-2025. The US, UNAIDS’ largest donor, announced a total increase of US$55 million to the organization in 2022.

In July 2022, UNAIDS released a report that found that the COVID-19 pandemic and the war in Ukraine have disrupted AIDS response initiatives. Dutch Vice Minister for Development Cooperation Kitty van der Heijden said funding for UNAIDS is paramount to shoring up efforts to fight AIDS worldwide.

Press release - UNAIDS

COP27 draft decision indicates progress, conflict on climate action priorities

COP27, the UN Conference of the Parties (COP), completed its last thematic day on November 17, 2022, focusing on ‘solutions.’ As the conference entered the penultimate day of negotiations, the release of a draft agreement emphasized both progress to date and the enormity of the task ahead. 

Key Statements & Discussions 

Keeping with the day’s theme of actionable commitments to decarbonization and reducing global warming, Australia’s bid to host COP31 was met with mixed reception from world leaders. While many applauded the new government’s renewed commitment to climate change, they also suggested that the government would need to stop investing in fossil fuels before a bid would be approved. 

As COP27 negotiations neared their scheduled end, a group of representatives from Canada, the EU, and the UK emphasized the need for concrete conference outcomes to the Egyptian Presidency. Delegates stressed that COP27 negotiations would need to produce coherent, actionable outcomes to be perceived as successful, and highlighted a variety of flaws and conflicts remaining in the current draft. 

The draft decision in question was 20 pages long as of Thursday, containing many placeholders as negotiations on key issues continued. Tracking from Carbon Brief indicated that the length of the document, as well as the number of remaining issues, would lead to negotiations continuing beyond COP27’s scheduled end on November 18, 2022. While the G20’s support for the 1.5 degree Celsius target somewhat preempted negotiations on the topic at COP, there has been no resolution on major points such as funding for loss and damage and reforming climate finance architecture. 

Key financial commitments 

Pledges on ‘Solutions’ day primarily focused on sustainable transportation. The UK COP26 Presidency announced several new initiatives aimed at increasing the production and use of zero-emissions vehicles (ZEV), including a ‘Global Commitment,’ backed by the US, Germany, Japan, the Netherlands, South Korea, Sweden, and the UK, which will provide finance for ZEV transitions in low- and middle-income countries. Specific details on funding flows and amounts were not provided. 

Several other pledges from earlier in COP27 were also highlighted, including: 

  • €1 billion (US$1 billion) from the EU, France, Germany, the Netherlands, and Denmark to support initiatives led by the African Union (AU) focusing on climate risk data, early warning systems, mobilizing finance, and disaster risk finance on November 16, 2022; 
  • €60 million (US$62 million) from the EU to support loss and damages on November 16, 2022; 
  • €40 million (US$41 million) from Germany to support the African Development Bank’s (AfDB) Climate Action Window on November 16, 2022; 
  • US$20 million for the World Food Program (WFP) through the World Bank from Germany and the UK on November 16, 2022; and 
  • NOK 100 million (US$10 million) from Norway to support the  UN’s International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), on November 9, 2022. 

Agenda 

COP27 is scheduled to conclude on Friday, November 18, 2022, but negotiations may extend into the following week.  

News article – The Guardian 

News article – Reuters 

News article – The Guardian 

Press release – GOV.UK 

Transcript – European Commission 

News article – African Development Bank Group 

News article – Reliefweb 

News article – Reliefweb 

UK, Netherlands strengthen bilateral partnership on sustainable development, climate action

On November 17, 2022, the Foreign Ministers of the UK and Netherlands issued a joint statement setting out areas for strengthened bilateral cooperation between the two countries, which included a focus on strengthened cooperation on international development.

A 'Joint Action Plan' is forthcoming, and the Ministers will meet annually to review progress on delivery. The areas of strengthened bilateral cooperation included multilateral cooperation, security cooperation, energy security, climate action, migration, sustainable development, and humanitarian affairs.

On sustainable development, the two countries agreed to work more closely on shared thematic and country priorities on international development, with a particular focus on women, peace and security, gender equality, equal human rights for LGBTQ+ people, and preventing sexual violence in conflict.

On climate action, the two countries committed to championing the need for more climate adaptation finance and promoting ocean conservation, in addition to issues such as reversing biodiversity loss, deforestation, and land degradation.

Press release – UK and Netherlands

Oxfam report details Netherlands' mixed signaling on 'loss and damage' funding

On November 15, 2022, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte mentioned in a speech that the Netherlands was willing to discuss climate damage compensation at COP27, the UN Conference of the Parties (COP). However, analysis from Oxfam and other sources suggests this may not be the case.

In a recent op-ed, Oxfam’s climate expert Bertram Zagema highlighted that although high-income countries agreed to provide low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) with USD$100 billion in the Paris Climate Agreement of 2015, Oxfam estimates high-income countries mobilize only a third of that amount.

Zagema continued to mention that several countries that announced new financial commitments for loss and damage compensation, such as Belgium, Germany, Ireland, Austria, Canada, and New Zealand, merely repackaged previous financial commitments.

Other countries, including the Netherlands, did not announce new climate funds. Moreover, on November 15, 2022, Dutch members of parliament rejected a motion to compensate LMICs for climate damages and loss. 

Article - Oxfam (in Dutch)

Motion result - Dutch government (in Dutch)

Motion - Dutch government (in Dutch)

Canada launches US$22 million climate partnership at COP27

On November 14, 2022, at COP27, the UN Conference of the Parties (COP), Canada’s International Development Research Centre (IDRC) announced 'Step Change,' a climate partnership valued at nearly CA$29 million (US$22 million).

The new five-year initiative is in partnership with the Netherlands and will accelerate equitable locally-led adaptation to climate change in low- and middle-income countries. 

'Step Change' will support the integration of gender and social inclusion in climate policies and practices, strengthen capacity for locally-led adaptation, and improve equitable access to adaptation finance. The initiative will also apply best practices for transferring climate evidence into climate action.

The initiative builds on a previous Canada-Netherlands partnership by increasing support for the Climate and Development Knowledge Network, a global network of climate knowledge brokers. 

Press release - International Development Research Centre

Donor countries, philanthropies pledge US$135 million for Global Fertilizer Challenge

At a COP27 panel on November 12, 2022, Ambassador Marcel Beukeboom announced that the Netherlands, the US, European Commission, Norway, and Germany will provide a total of US$135 million in support of US President Joe Biden’s Global Fertilizer Challenge to combat global fertilizer shortages and food insecurity.

The pledge exceeded Biden’s goal of raising US$100 million for the initiative.

Biden set the challenge goal on June 17, 2022 to address global fertilizer shortages in low- and middle-income countries, caused in part by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The EU and countries’ joint pledge totaled US$109 million. An additional US$5 million was committed by the Foundation for Food & Agricultural Research (FFAR), and another US$22 million was offered by a group of philanthropic funders and investors, which will more broadly address fertilizer’s role in climate, food security, and energy crises.

Press release - ReliefWeb

Tweet – Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Biden announces flurry of US commitments at COP27; no mention of loss and damage

On November 11, 2022, US President Joe Biden attended COP27, the UN Conference of the Parties (COP), in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, as the conference entered its thematic ‘Decarbonization’ Day. 

Key Statements & Discussions 

While Biden’s announcement of updates to the Global Methane pledge fell in line with the day’s theme of ‘Decarbonization,’ international commitment to the topic seems uncertain. For instance, Sweden’s expected announcement of a 10% increase in its carbon emissions casts doubt on the buy-in from other donor countries. Similarly, a 'Global Carbon Budget’ presented by researchers during the event forecasted that global warming will surpass the 1.5 degree Celsius goal by 2030. While the finding may not be shocking, the framing of emissions within a time-dependent ‘carbon budget’ presents an innovative step toward more accurate, holistic, and transparent tracking of emissions impacts on climate change. 

However, the day produced some actionable steps, with world leaders unveiling ‘The Breakthrough Agenda,’ a 12-year plan which included agreements for participants to scale up production of green energy sources, such as hydrogen, coordinate the phase-out of combustion-engine automobiles, and provide funding to build up markets for green and sustainable products. 

Biden’s address came at a pivotal moment in the summit, as discussions surrounding loss and damages appeared to be gaining momentum among a small, but increasingly vocal, group of high-income countries. However, in a White House fact sheet detailing US commitments and initiatives to be announced during the conference, loss and damage finance was not mentioned. 

While Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Ireland, Scotland, and New Zealand all announced pledges for loss and damage at or prior to COP27, both the EU and the US have resisted endorsing the initiative amid fears that funding would be framed as reparations. Monica Medina, the US Assistant Secretary of State for oceans and international environmental and scientific affairs, suggested that leaders’ energy would be better spent finding ways to shore up existing finance mechanisms. 

Though the US announced a flurry of modest pledges to reduce emissions and finance adaptation measures, the absence of groundbreaking commitments to adaptation at COP27 poses a challenge to the necessary and rapid expansion of climate development finance more broadly. 

Key Financial Commitments 

During Biden’s brief visit at COP27, and throughout the conference, the US announced commitments in several sectors. Building on the US pledge at COP26, President Biden announced the US would double its multi-year donation to the Adaptation Fund to US$100 million. 

Biden also pledged more than US$150 million to support the President’s Emergency Plan for Adaptation and Resilience (PREPARE), including funding for early warning systems, the Africa Disaster Risk Financing Program, the Africa Adaptation Initiative, innovations in climate finance architecture and food security initiatives in Africa, though specific partner states were not mentioned. 

New funding pledges from the US also included US$20 million for storm monitoring systems in Pacific Island states and US$5 million to the Migration Multi-Partner Trust Fund for climate-impacted migrants. USAID pledged US$6 million in funding for a new ‘Climate Gender Equity Fund’ in collaboration with Amazon, a US$23 million dollar commitment to a nine-year program to build climate leadership capacity of Egyptian women, and announced US$2 million for the launch of the ‘Indigenous Peoples Finance Access Facility,’ which will run for three years. 

Other pledges included: 

  • Irish Minister for Overseas Development Aid and the Diaspora, Colm Brophy T.D. announced funding of €5 million (US$5 million) for adaptation efforts through the ‘Special Climate Change Fund,’ ‘Least Developed Countries Fund,’ and African Development Bank (AfDB) on November 11, 2022; 
  • The Asian Development Bank (ADB) called for financing of over US$200 million from 2021-2025 for water sanitation resilience, and received pledges of US$30 million from the Netherlands and US$10 million from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, alongside the Bank’s own commitment of US$120 million in grants from 2023-2025; and
  • The EU, the UN Capital Development Fund (UNCDF), and the French Development Agency (AFD) launched the ‘Advancing Climate Adaptation in the Southern Mediterranean’ program (ACA-MED), a regional adaptation initiative worth €17 million (US$17 million) with a planned timeline of three years. 

Tomorrow’s Agenda 

Heading into the weekend, the COP27 agenda moves on to ‘Adaptation and Agriculture’ Day, with key sessions on food security, adaptation technologies, and private sector tools for decreasing risk in the agricultural sector. 

Donor Tracker daily coverage of COP27 will resume on Monday, November 14, 2022, which holds the dual themes of ‘Gender‘ and ‘Water.’ Stay tuned also for the Donor Tracker’s ‘COP27 Midway Commentary,’ which will be housed on our Insights page

News article – Business Green 

News article – Race to Zero 

News article – Euractiv 

Press release – White House 

News article – Euractiv 

News article – ZAWYA 

News article – Reliefweb 

News article – Reliefweb 

News article – UN Capital Development Fund 

Netherlands allocates additional US$118 million to winterization in Ukraine

On November 11, 2022, Dutch Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation Liesje Schreinemacher announced that the Netherlands agreed to increase the previously promised amount for winterization in Ukraine from €70 million (US$76 million) to €180 million (US$194 million).

The Dutch Council of Ministers approved the increase of funds on November 4, 2022, following the cabinet’s decision to commit additional funds to the winterization of Ukraine. Minister Schreinemacher wrote that the increased funds will prioritize restoring electrical infrastructure and repairing houses.

The minister noted that the additional contribution will come from general funds and will be spent through the World Bank’s Ukraine Recovery Trust Fund (US$97 million) and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (US$78 million). She also wrote that the Dutch Minister for Climate and Energy was developing a program to provide Ukraine with €18 million (US$19 million) worth of in-kind energy accessories and components from the Netherlands to repair electricity infrastructure.

Letter – Dutch government (in Dutch)

Netherlands pledges US$11 million to World Bank Pandemic Preparedness Fund at G20

On November 11, 2022, Dutch Minister of Finance Sigrid Kaag pledged €10 million (US$11 million) to the new World Bank's Financial Intermediary Fund for Pandemic Prevention, Preparedness and Response (FIF) established at the G20 conference in Bali, Indonesia. 

The G20 health ministers agreed to establish a new fund that helps countries finance their pandemic preparedness. Secretary General of the Indonesian Ministry of Health Kunta Wibawa Dasa Bugraha stated that the fund would support the six main outcomes of the G20 health agenda, such as improving genetic surveillance, encouraging the mobilization of health resources for medical countermeasures, and expanding research and manufacturing networks for vaccines, therapies, and diagnostics (VTD).

The Netherlands committed to the new fund alongside 17 other donor countries, including Australia, Canada, France, Germany, China, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Korea, New Zealand, Norway, South Africa, Singapore, the UK, Spain, the US, UAE, as well as the European Commission and philanthropies the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation, and the Wellcome Trust. According to Kunta, the donors have expressed a willingness to raise a total of US$1.4 billion for the new fund.

News article - G20

Tweet - Sigrid Kaag (in Dutch)

Netherlands pledges US$2 million to UN Global Crisis Response Group

On November 10, 2022, the Netherlands signed an agreement in Geneva to contribute US$2 million to the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) to continue supporting the work of the UN Global Crisis Response Group (GCRG) on Food, Energy, and Finance.

The GCRG was established in March 2022 by UN Secretary António Guterres to coordinate the global response to the widespread impacts of the war in Ukraine. A UNCTAD news article explained that the GCRG tackles the global cost-of-living crisis “by helping decision-makers mobilize solutions and develop strategies to support countries in addressing the interlinked food, energy, and finance crises.”

UNCTAD Secretary-General Rebeca Grynspan noted that the funds will support the GCRG’s coordination, management, monitoring, and high-level political mobilization work. Dutch Ambassador Paul Bekkers stated that “the GCRG is a great diplomatic success and beacon of hope.”

News article – UNCTAD

COP27 ‘Finance Day’ highlights need for innovative, sustainable climate finance

On November 9, 2022, discussions at COP27, the UN Conference of the Parties’ (COP), ‘Finance Day’ centered on issues of attracting and structuring sustainable investment in development projects – a key consideration as world leaders struggle to meet the US$100 billion annual climate finance goal. 

Key Statements & Discussions 

Ahead of COP27, four reports issued by the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change’s (UNFCCC) Standing Committee on Finance (SCF) set the tone for the sessions. In particular, the reports focused on shortcomings in efforts to secure investment to reach the annual US$100 billion climate goal. One report highlighted the failure of investors to adequately incorporate future climate risks, focusing instead on mitigation. In a similar vein, one of the reports found that collaboration is hampered by differing definitions of ‘climate finance’ between actors and contexts, and called for the development of shared climate finance conventions that also incorporate a gender equality lens. 

Responding to these and other findings on climate finance, the Independent High-Level Expert Group on Climate Finance, commissioned by the COP26 and COP27 presidencies, issued a report on November 8, 2022, highlighting policy priorities for world leaders, namely: 

  • Restoring faith in high-income countries’ commitment to fighting climate change by developing novel climate financing, such as issuing green bonds and developing low-carbon indices for private investors, to mobilize US$1 trillion annually to assist adaptation in low- and middle- income countries; 
  • Conservation of biodiversity, energy transition, and restoration of damages caused to the environment, i.e., loss and damage; and 
  • Attracting private-sector investment for large-scale climate finance, in tandem with a restructuring of debts and assistance types. 

Echoing these reports, the COP27 Egyptian Presidency launched the ‘Sharm el-Sheikh Adaptation Agenda,’ which sets out 30 adaptation goals to be met by 2030 in the first holistic international plan for adaptation coordination. The agenda included three concrete financial outcomes: 

  • US$4 billion for reforestation and preservation of mangroves, which are vital to protecting coastal ecosystems and storing carbon; 
  • Mobilizing US$10 billion annually to support green energy sources for food preparation for 2.4 billion people; and 
  • Securing between US$140 billion and US$300 billion by encouraging private firms to prioritize climate risk adaptation in their investment strategies. 

Key Financial Commitments 

Several commitments were also announced throughout the course of the day: 

  • Namibia announced that it received a grant of US$544 million from the Netherlands’ Invest International initiative and the European Investment Bank (EIB) to support projects related to green hydrogen production and other renewable energy projects; 
  • The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and Global Environment Facility (GEF) provided US$5.5 million in loans to support Egyptian solar projects, building on a previous loan of US$4.2 million in 2020;  
  • The Africa Adaptation Acceleration Program (AAAP) announced that it received pledges on November 8, 2022, from UK and the Netherlands of £200 million (US$230 million) and €110 million (US$110 million), respectively. Germany also pledged to increase its support for the AAAP to US$6 billion by 2025. 

Tomorrow’s Agenda 

On Thursday, November 10, 2022, COP27 meetings will follow the theme of ‘Science Day,’ which seeks to leverage expert opinions to usher forward science- and evidence-based strategies for international cooperation. Key sessions will include: 

  • Presentation of the findings of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) ‘Sixth Assessment Report,’ which outlines the projected impacts of climate change on specific ecosystems and regions while evaluating potential strategies for adaptation; and 
  • Discussion of the consequences of climate change for global health, including challenges and opportunities for global cooperation on efforts to prevent and manage emerging health threats. 

News article – UNFCCC 

Report – London School of Economics and Political Science 

News article – Race to Zero 

News article – ZAWYA 

News article – ZAWYA 

News article – AfDB 

News article – AllAfrica 

Netherlands announces new Feminist Foreign Policy priorities

On November 8, 2022, Dutch Minister of Foreign Affairs Wopke Hoekstra and Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation Liesje Schreinemacher submitted a letter to inform the House of Representatives of the government’s commitment to a feminist foreign policy.

Based on a 2021 evaluation and recent consultations around the new feminist foreign policy, the ministers announced the Netherlands’ seven future focus areas:

  • Prioritizing universal equity and equality in bilateral and multilateral contexts, with a specific focus on the rights of women, the LGBTQIA+ community, and minorities;
  • Making gender analyses a standard part of strategy and policy-making;
  • Standardizing gender analyses of expenses/decision-making regarding potential program and subsidy expenditures;
  • Examining root causes of power structures and inequality as part of policy considerations and decision-making;
  • Meaningfully involving and consulting local women’s organizations and experts in policy and decision-making processes;
  • Evaluating policy for its impact on women and LGBTQIA+ persons and adjusting if necessary; and
  • Increasing gender analysis training, knowledge development, and organizational diversity and gender parity at all job levels within the ministry and delegations.

The letter stated that the Dutch feminist foreign policy will be worked out in a practical handbook in 2023, informed by more consultations. Finally, the ministers wrote that the Netherlands aims to contribute to broadening knowledge and promoting discussion around feminist foreign policy by hosting the second international conference on feminist foreign policy in the fall of 2023, following the first conference that took place in September 2022 in Berlin.

Press release – Dutch government (in Dutch)

 

Netherlands to exit Energy Charter Treaty

On November 2, 2022, Dutch Minister for Climate and Energy Policy Rob Jetten submitted a letter to the House of Representatives announcing the Netherlands’ decision to withdraw from the almost 30-year-old Energy Charter Treaty (ECT).

Minister Jetten wrote that the current proposal to modernize the ECT was an improvement, but fell short of Dutch and European goals based on the Paris Climate Agreement.

The ECT went into force in 1994 with the aim of strengthening the East-European energy sector, partly by attracting and protecting investment in energy projects. In November 2022, the 53 treaty parties will vote on a modernization proposal to better align the ECT with the goals of the Paris Climate Agreement.

Some EU member states, including the Netherlands, found the proposed changes to be lacking. Minister Jetten argued that the modernized treaty only maintained existing commitments to sustainability while continuing investment in fossil fuels and failing to modernize the treaty's dispute settlement mechanism. 

As a result, the Netherlands and several other EU member states, including Poland, France, and Spain decided to exit the treaty. Since the modernized treaty would be an improvement, the Netherlands does not want to block the remaining parties who want to adopt it. As a result, the Netherlands will start the denunciation process after the November 22, 2022 conference and abstain if a vote is taken. Due to the treaty’s so-called 'sunset clause,' the Netherlands will remain bound to respect the provisions of the current treaty for the next 20 years.

Letter – Dutch government (in Dutch)

Article – RTL Nieuws (in Dutch)

Dutch MPs evaluate draft ODA budget, focus on localization strategies

On November 2, 2022, Dutch Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation Liesje Schreinemacher responded to questions from members of parliament (MPs) after the first term of budget discussions on November 1, 2022.

MPs' questions covered a broad range of topics, including government response to malpractice and abuse by funded development cooperation organizations, plans to leverage the Dutch private sector to offer solutions for water and food insecurity at international bodies such as the UN Water Conference in 2023, and Dutch strategies for fostering food security and gender equality in the upcoming ‘Africa Strategy.'

In particular, several questions focused on strategies to ensure sufficient access to funding and involvement for local NGOs and companies. Minister Schreinemacher responded that the Dutch cabinet will continue to contribute to existing funds for local entrepreneurs and civil society in the Dutch focus countries and increase structural support where possible, and directed attention to the budget's commitments to providing additional financial support to local entrepreneurs through the ‘Dutch Good Growth Fund’, ‘One Acre Fund,’ ‘Medical Credit Fund’, and ‘MASSIF’.

Minister Schreinemacher also reiterated that the Netherlands has been actively contributing to several civil society funds, including ‘Power of Voices’, ‘Civic Space Fund,’ ‘VOICE’ and ‘Leading from the South,’ and wrote that the cabinet is exploring other opportunities to provide direct support to ‘Southern NGOs'. To minimize organizations’ barriers to accessing funds, Minister Schreinemacher committed to keeping the reporting obligations within the Civic Space Fund as low as possible.

Letter – Dutch government (in Dutch)

Netherlands to provide additional US$20 million military, development support for Iraq in 2023

On October 28, 2022, the Dutch Ministers for Foreign Affairs, Defense, and Trade and Development Cooperation announced that the Netherlands will extend additional security and development support worth €20 million (US$20 million) to Iraq until December 31, 2023.

The Dutch cabinet agreed on the strategic importance of Iraq to the Netherlands, and shifted its focus from defeating ISIS via 'Operation Inherent Resolve' (OIR) to the prevention of new, weaponized escalation and strengthening the Iraqi security sector.

The ministers stated that development cooperation with Iraq will focus on migration cooperation, asylum in the region, integration of internationally displaced people, and the development of the private sector. For instance, via the Sustainable Development Goals Partnership, the Netherlands offered subsidies for Dutch-Iraqi public-private partnerships for private-sector development and food security.

The Netherlands increased its funds for Iraq by €20 million (US$20 million), for a total of €40 million (US$39 million) from 2019 to 2023. The Netherlands pledged the majority of funds through large-scale, multi-year partnerships with the UNHCR, UNICEF, ILO, World Bank, and the International Finance Corporation. The partnerships prioritized increased justice, access to education, vocational training, and strengthening the position of youth, women, and girls.

Press release – Dutch government (in Dutch)

Netherlands outlines increased climate budget, focus on biodiversity

On October 28, 2022,  Dutch Minister for Trade and Development Cooperation Liesje Schreinemacher outlined the priorities for the Netherlands' climate finance budget, which will increase to at least €900 million annually (US$883 million) by 2025.

The Minister wrote that Dutch public climate finance will support more than 400 climate-related activities and contributions to multilateral institutions. The funding will focus on the topics of water, food security, infrastructure, humanitarian relief, civil society, and private sector development that prioritizes sustainability.

The increased climate finance follows the Paris Agreement and is divided into four themes:

  • Investing in green energy production in African partner countries, with a focus on populations living without sufficient access to electricity;
  • Reducing deforestation in tropical rainforest regions;
  • Strengthening the resilience of the most vulnerable populations; and
  • Contributing to multilateral climate funds.

Along these lines, Schreinemacher outlined contributions to the Dutch Entrepreneurial Development Bank (FMO) Access to Energy Fund, Central African Forest Initiative, Green Climate Fund, Global Environment Facility, and the 'Least Developed' Countries Fund. The government’s increased funds for water security were partly reserved for an Asian Development Bank climate adaptation program.

Schreinemacher added that climate finance is meant to address the drivers of biodiversity loss, but also to strengthen biodiversity through nature-based solutions where nature is integrated into activities related to food security, climate adaptation, and water treatment to promote inclusive, sustainable growth.

Press release – Dutch government (in Dutch)

Press release – Dutch government (in Dutch)

Press release – Dutch government (in Dutch)

Dutch NGOs criticize foreign minister's apathy toward agency evaluations

In an October 28, 2022, op-ed published by Partos, the Dutch membership body for organizations working in international development, NGOs critiqued Dutch Minister for Trade and Development Cooperation Liesje Schreinemacher for disregarding the recommendations of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs evaluation service (IOB) on the ministry's new development strategy.

Commissioned by Partos, a research report by The Broker highlighted that despite the IOB's critique of Dutch businesses’ impact on and limited interest in development, Minister Schreinemacher increased the amount of funding going towards Dutch businesses for development purposes. The budget for combined trade and development activities increased by US$145 million for 2023 and will continue to rise until 2027. NGOs emphasized the risk of such a move and called for caution in the midst of economic uncertainty.

Additionally, the research found that the Minister did not incorporate the IOB’s recommendations to improve the impact of business on development. For instance, the Minister did not commit to improving collaboration between the departments responsible for trade and development cooperation within the new strategy.

Minister Schreinemacher's response to IOB’s critique was dismissive, suggesting that the criticisms offered were of negligible importance. 

Op-ed – Partos (in Dutch)

Report – The Broker (in Dutch)

ActionAid calls for feminist international corporate accountability framework

In an October 2022 report entitled 'Pathway to A Feminist International Corporate Accountability Framework,' ActionAid Netherlands and other CSOs called for a feminist binding treaty on business and human rights.

The report was based on four case studies from Uganda, Zimbabwe, Guatemala, and Kenya. Each case study highlighted various business-related human rights abuses and violations that women experience, such as significant barriers to justice, discrimination in the labor market, gender-based violence, uneven domestic workloads, and unpaid care duties. ActionAid emphasized the disproportionate impact of corporate human rights violations on women living in low-income countries.

The report stressed the need for a 'Feminist UN Treaty on Business and Human Rights,' which would require states to ensure women are central to the treaty process, prevent corporations from harming people and the planet, and provide effective justice through legal accountability and access to support services. Altogether, the organizations urged states to devise corporate governance that supports social justice agendas in other sectors, such as climate change and gender equality.

News article – ActionAid

Report – ActionAid