Policy Updates

Each week, Donor Tracker's team of country-based experts bring you the most important policy and funding news across issue areas in the form of Policy Updates.

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Dutch national Corinne Dettmeijer-Vermeulen re-elected to CEDAW

June 7, 2024 | Netherlands, Gender Equality | Share this update

On June 7, 2024, Dutch national Corinne Dettmeijer-Vermeulen was re-elected to CEDAW for the 2025-2028 term.

Dettmeijer-Vermeulen served her first term as member of the CEDAW from 2021-2024. The Dutch government nominated her for re-election, which the 189 CEDAW State Parties supported in New York, US.

During her first term, Dettmeijer-Vermeulen held the roles of Vice-chair and later Chair of CEDAW Working Group on Communications. She also joined the Working Group on Working Methods and the Working Group on Gender Stereotyping.

CEDAW consists of 23 members, who are independent experts that monitor the implementation of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women. The convention has opposed the effects of discrimination, including violence, poverty, lack of legal protections, the denial of inheritance, property rights, and access to credit.

Ministry of Foreign AffairsWeb Page - OHCHRWeb Page - OHCHRWeb Page - Kingdom of the Netherlands

Netherlands underscores importance of SRHR, CSE, youth involvement at ICPD30

May 3, 2024 | Netherlands, Gender Equality, Family Planning, Global Health | Share this update

On May 3, 2024, representatives from the Netherlands attended the 30th ICPD in New York, where Dutch Director-General for International Cooperation Pascalle Grotenhuis and Dutch SRHR Youth Ambassador Sarah Bahgat called for further action on CSE and youth involvement to continue SRHR progress.

Grotenhuis delivered a statement on behalf of the Netherlands, Belgium, and Luxembourg and highlighted priorities set out by young people. The Netherlands also supported the ICPD Program of Action and co-hosted 300+ young people at the Global Youth Dialogue to reflect on its urgent call to ensure women and girls’ right to decide over their bodies and futures.

Bahgat delivered a statement at the General Debate of the Commission on Population and Development, highlighting the need to tackle information online, deliver CSE in humanitarian settings, and showcase the outcomes of the Global Youth Dialogue.

Unspecified - Dutch Director General for International CooperationConference statement - ICPD30 Joint StatementVideo by Kingdom of the Netherlands at the UNDutch MFA

Netherlands provides US$39 million in core funding to UNDP

April 24, 2024 | Netherlands, Gender Equality | Share this update

On April 24, 2024, the UNDP announced that the Netherlands contributed EUR36 million (US$39 million) in core funding to the UNDP for 2024.

The flexible funding supports implementing the UNDP’s strategic plan for 2022-2025 to tackle multidimensional poverty, promote good governance, foster the rule of law, and champion gender equality globally.

The UNDP also highlighted positive results coming from its partnership with the Netherlands. With Dutch support, the UNDP is strengthening Ukraine’s capacity and use of advanced technology to manage mine action operations.

News article - UNDP

Netherlands reaffirms support to Global Health Strategy and SRHR

April 4, 2024 | Netherlands, Gender Equality, Global Health, Climate | Share this update

On April 4, 2024, the Dutch House of Representatives debated the Dutch Global Health Strategy, 18 months post-publication. Despite recent development budget cuts, Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation Geoffrey van Leeuwen and Minister for Medical Care Pia Dijkstra affirmed broad support for the strategy.

The strategy aims to strengthen global health systems, tackle health impacts of climate change, and prepare against future pandemics. CSOs and members of Parliament expressed concerns in relation to the previously announced development budget cuts of EUR3.5 billion (US$3.8 billion) over 2023-2026, as detrimental to effective implementation of the strategy.

van Leeuwen and Dijkstra reiterated their commitment to the strategy, emphasizing the strategy’s broader goals, including safeguarding the Netherlands’ own health and economic stability.

Emphasis during the debate centered on sexual health and SRHR and access to basic health care to uphold human rights and gender equality, urging sustained strategic partnerships. Focusing on access to medicines, Dijkstra agreed to re-examine the Socially Responsible Licensing toolkit to include how private companies can enhance accessibility and affordability of medicines for people in low-income countries.

Members of Parliament inquired about strategy implementation and monitoring. van Leeuwen committed to providing progress reports to the House of Representatives by year-end, along with policy coherence updates on the Dutch Global Health Strategy and ecological footprint reduction commitments by May 15, 2024.

Dutch Global Health AllianceAidsFondsVideo - Debate on the Dutch Global Health Strategy (in Dutch)Wemos (in Dutch)

Netherlands hosts first global conference on accountability for conflict-related sexual violence

March 26, 2024 | Netherlands, Gender Equality | Share this update

From March 26-March 28, 2024, the Netherlands and the UN held the first International Conference of Prosecutors on Accountability for Conflict-Related Sexual Violence in the Peace Palace in The Hague.

Dutch Minister of Foreign Affairs Hanke Bruins Slot emphasized that this topic is a priority for Dutch feminist foreign policy. Bruins Slot opened the conference with UN Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict Pramila Patten. In her speech, Bruins Slot noted how sexual violence is used as a weapon of war in many conflicts, like in the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Central African Republic, Israel, Ukraine, Haiti, Nigeria, Sudan, Syria, and Iraq. Yet, ensuring accountability for such crimes remains difficult, underscoring the need for partnerships with other countries and organizations like the ICC.

Public prosecutors from more than 50 countries attended the conference to support efforts to research and prosecute conflict-related sexual violence. The conference marked the start of a 'community of practice' to further expand the collaboration.

News article - Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs (in Dutch)Speech - Dutch Minister of Foreign Affairs Hanke Bruins Slot

Dutch NGO critiques Dutch global health strategy’s gender blind spot

February 29, 2024 | Netherlands, Global Health, Gender Equality | Share this update

On February 29, 2024, the Dutch NGO Cordaid published an analysis of the Dutch global health strategy, titled Gender Matters: Strengthening Pandemic Preparedness and Response Policymaking, and concluded that while the strategy includes language on vulnerabilities and gender inequalities, it lacks a plan to assess and address them.

The policy brief underscored the connection between gender and pandemic preparedness and response, as gender influences health risks, healthcare-seeking behavior, and personal treatment by health systems.

The brief found that although the strategy recognizes the importance of gender intersectional approaches, it falls short in providing actionable steps for gender-transformative policies.

The brief presented key recommendations across the areas of: access to healthcare, sexual and GBV, frontline healthcare workers, leadership and governance, economic impacts, and research.

The recommendations stressed the need for comprehensive measures across Dutch ministries to ensure equitable access to healthcare and support services globally and domestically. Additionally, the authors emphasized promoting gender equality in leadership, addressing economic disparities, and conducting gender-specific research to inform effective pandemic response strategies.

CordaidReport - Cordaid Policy Brief

Netherlands becomes UNHRC member

February 27, 2024 | Netherlands, Gender Equality | Share this update

On February 27, 2024, the Netherlands was inaugurated as a member of the UNHRC for the 2024-2026 term.

Dutch Minister of Foreign Affairs Hanke Bruins Slot delivered a speech outlining the Netherlands’ priorities. Bruins Slot emphasized the global threats to human rights, citing events including activist Alexei Navalny’s 2024 death in Russia, the humanitarian crisis in Gaza, grave human rights violations in Ukraine, the plight of Yazidis under ISIS, state-led repression against the Uyghurs in China, and conflict-related sexual violence.

Bruins Slot outlined the Netherlands’ six thematic priorities as a member of the Council:

  • Protecting human rights defenders and civic space;
  • Calling for accountability;
  • Promoting the rights of women and girls;
  • Ensuring freedom of religion and belief;
  • Safeguarding the rights of LGBTQI+ individuals; and
  • Upholding freedom of expression.

Bruins Slot concluded her speech by committing to strengthen the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights through sustainable, predictable, and adequate funding. She also expressed the Netherlands’ readiness to collaborate in promoting and protecting human rights.

Speech - Dutch Minister of Foreign Affairs Hanke Bruins SlotWeb Page - UN Human Rights Council

Audit questions Netherlands' WASH achievements

January 18, 2024 | Netherlands, WASH & Sanitation, Gender Equality | Share this update

On January 18, 2024, the Netherlands Court of Audit published a report evaluating the Dutch MFA’s progress towards its WASH goals, which found that unclear priorities, measurement, and accountability have resulted in limited progress.

After the launch of the UN SDGs in 2015, the Dutch Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation committed to providing 30 million people access to clean drinking water and 50 million people to sanitation facilities between 2016 and 2030.

One of the key findings of the report is that the Ministry of Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation has insufficiently implemented the recommendations made by a previous report done in 2008. Additionally, the researchers noted that the Ministry has not evaluated the policy period between 2004-2015. As a result, this new report finds that mistakes were repeated, limiting the Netherlands’ overall progress towards its WASH goals.

Another key finding is that implementers of Dutch WASH funds do not always consistently measure project reach. The researchers also found that implementers may report positive results that do not actually contribute to the desired outcomes, including sustainably installed toilets and taps. As such, the report found that Dutch achievements in this area were overreported, with recipients of WASH funding at risk of only temporarily gaining access to WASH facilities.

The report’s findings that the Ministry has insufficiently heeded the findings of previous evaluations and audits echo the conclusions of another recent audit of the Ministry’s SRHR efforts, published in December 2023.

News article - Netherlands Court of Audit (in Dutch)Report - Netherlands Court of Audit (in Dutch)Report - MFA Evaluation Service (IOB)

Dutch UN Permanent Representative to facilitate negotiations on CSW68

December 21, 2023 | Netherlands, Gender Equality | Share this update

On December 21, 2023, the Dutch government announced that the Permanent Representative of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to the UN Yoka Brandt will be facilitating the negotiations of the agreed conclusions of the CSW68 on behalf of the Netherlands.

CSW68 is slated to take place from March 11-22, 2024. Representatives of UN Member States, UN entities, and ECOSOC-accredited NGOs from across the world will come together at the UN headquarters in New York to discuss the promotion of gender equality.

The CSW68 themes were listed as:

  • Priority theme: Accelerating the achievement of gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls by addressing poverty, strengthening institutions, and financing with a gender perspective; and
  • Review theme: Social protection systems, access to public services and sustainable infrastructure for gender equality, and the empowerment of women and girls (conclusions of CSW63).
Twitter - Permanent Representation of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to the UNNews article - UN Women, CSW

Netherlands condemns Russian ruling on global LGBTQ+ movement

December 20, 2023 | Netherlands, Gender Equality | Share this update

On December 20, 2023, the Netherlands and 26 other countries published a statement through the ERC to condemn the Russian Supreme Court, which designated the ‘international public LGBT movement’ as extremist in late November 2023.

Russian authorities had already banned any discussion and sharing of information about LGBTQ+ persons, and outlawed gender-confirming procedures. The recent decision by Russia’s Supreme Court will effectively criminalize any activity perceived as supporting LGBTQ+ people while infringing on the freedom of peaceful assembly, freedom of expression and the right to a fair trial. The ERC has urged the Court to reconsider this decision.

The ERC was established in 2016 by Uruguay and the Netherlands to protect and promote the rights of LGBTQ+ people. It promotes inclusive development in all 43 member countries and non-member countries by engaging with CSOs, multilateral agencies, and activists from across the world.

Twitter - Dutch Ministry of Foreign AffairsWeb Page - Equal Rights Coalition

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US$ amounts are cited directly from sources; in the absence of an official conversion, they are calculated using the previous week's average of the US Federal Reserve's daily exchange rates.

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