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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Netherlands commits US$16 million to Loss and Damage Fund at COP28

December 2, 2023 | Netherlands, EUI, Germany, US, Japan, UK, Climate | Share this update

On December 2, 2023, during the opening days of COP28, outgoing Dutch Prime Minister Rutte announced a commitment of EUR15 million (US$16 million) to help establish the Loss and Damage Fund.

The EUI pledged US$125 million, Germany and the UAE each pledged US$100 million, the UK pledged GBP60 million (US$78 million), the US pledged US$18 million, and Japan pledged US$10 million. The total funds surpass the US$400 million needed to initiate the establishment and operation of the Loss and Damage Fund.

Dutch NGO ActionAid Netherlands responded by commenting that while the pledge is a fair initial contribution to the fund, it is far from a "fair share" for the Netherlands when based on the country’s emissions levels.

Twitter - Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs (in Dutch)Twitter - ActionAid Netherlands (in Dutch)

Team Europe pledges US$21.8 billion for clean energy at COP28

December 2, 2023 | Sweden, France, Spain, Netherlands, Germany, Italy, EUI, Climate | Share this update

On December 2, 2023, the EU institutions, the EIB, the EBRD, and the Member States that comprise Team Europe pledged EUR20 billion (US$21.8 billion) for clean energy partnerships with African partners.

The funding announcement listeed EUR3.4 billion (US$3.7 billion) in grants and covered the period from 2021-2027. The project, AEGEI, aims to produce over 50 Gigawatts of renewable energy by 2030.

12 EU Member States contributed to the funding. No language regarding specific partner countries was included in the announcement.

Press release - EU Commission

Netherlands contributes US$164 million to IFAD replenishment

December 1, 2023 | Netherlands, Agriculture, Climate, Nutritious Food Systems | Share this update

On December 1, 2023, the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced a commitment of EUR150 million (US$164 million) to IFAD’s 13th replenishment.

The funds are meant to help IFAD double its impact on smallholder productivity, income, and resilience.

Dutch Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation Liesje Schreinemacher stressed that the threat that climate change poses to global food production and emphasized that small-scale farmers need international investment to effectively adapt to the impacts of climate change.

Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Dutch Minister for Foreign Trade and Development temporarily replaced

November 30, 2023 | Netherlands | Share this update

On November 30, 2023, Dutch Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Liesje Schreinemacher announced that she will go on maternity leave as of December 4, 2023, and will be temporarily replaced by Geoffrey van Leeuwen.

Prior to the announcement, Geoffrey van Leeuwen had been working as an advisor on foreign affairs and defense at the Ministry of General Affairs. Van Leeuwen also previously worked at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs as the Dutch ambassador to Afghanistan, Consul General in Mumbai, and Director of the Middle East and North Africa.

News article - Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs (in Dutch)Twitter - Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation (in Dutch)

Right-wing PVV sweeps Dutch general election

November 22, 2023 | Netherlands, Climate | Share this update

On November 22, 2023, the nationalist, right-wing PVV, led by Geert Wilders, won 37 parliamentary seats in the Dutch general election, making it the largest party represented in the Dutch parliament.

Outgoing Prime Minister Mark Rutte’s party, the conservative-liberal VVD, suffered a staggering loss and shrank from 34 to 24 seats. While polls leading up to the election indicated that the PVV would grow in size, the 20 seats gained by the PVV was not anticipated by political experts.

Wilders has been in the Dutch parliament for 25 years. He is known for his anti-Islam and anti-immigration views. The PVV's election manifesto contained the notable ambitions to ban Islamic schools, Qurans, and mosques in the Netherlands. The PVV also stated the goal to redirect resources away from climate agreements and development cooperation to Dutch citizens.

In the weeks leading up to the election, Wilders expressed a more moderate tone and asserted, that if elected, he would prioritize issues such as investments in health care and cost of living.

A suspected reason for the party’s growth has been the dissatisfaction with the VVD, which has governed the Netherlands since 2010. Research by Ipsos suggested that 15% of VVD voters switched to the PVV. Wilders may have enticed previously disenfranchised voters, as 12% of voters had not participated in the previous election.

Wilders pledged to serve as a Prime Minister for all Dutch people in a speech following the exit polls. The PVV must now form a coalition with other parties and secure at least 76 seats in the 150-seat Dutch parliament.

Experts predict that the PVV will face coalition-building difficulties. Frans Timmermans, leader of the second-largest party GroenLinks, expressed that his party would never join a coalition with the PVV and stands in opposition to the PVV's discriminatory stances.

The leader of the VVD, Dilan Yeşilgöz, expressed that her party will not join a coalition with Wilders, though it would be open to being a ‘tolerating partner’. If Wilders is unable to secure a majority coalition, the VVD would advise a minority coalition. A minority government would force the PVV's coalition to secure the VVD's approval for each proposal.

Building a coalition may take a significant amount of time. The previous coalition building period, led by outgoing Prime Minister Mark Rutte, lasted a record-setting 299 days.

The current outgoing cabinet will govern until a coalition is formed.

News article - NOS (in Dutch)News article - NOS (in Dutch)News article - BBCReport - PVV (in Dutch)Web Page - House of Representatives (in Dutch)

Netherlands reserves US$2.2 billion in support Ukraine from 2024 budget

November 17, 2023 | Netherlands | Share this update

On November 17, 2023, the Dutch Ministers of Defense, Foreign Affairs, and Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation announced that the Dutch government has reserved EUR2 billion (US$2.2 billion) for military and humanitarian support for Ukraine in 2024, including EUR102 million (US$111 million) for critical infrastructure, humanitarian assistance, and demining.

The Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs noted that this pledge follows the Netherlands’ commitment made at the July 2023 NATO Summit to continue its long-term support for Ukraine. In 2022, the Netherlands similarly reserved EUR2.5 billion (US$2.7 billion), of which EUR1.7 billion (US$1.8 billion) was slated for intensified military support.

While most of the 2024 funds are reserved for military support, EUR102 million (US$111 million) is reserved for the first four months of 2024 for humanitarian support, recovery, and reconstruction. After these four months, the government will update its financial support based on expressed needs.

The Netherlands also reserved EUR89 million (US$97 million) for accountability, including housing a special Ukraine tribunal in the future, and EUR3 million (US$3 million) for bolstering Ukrainian cybersecurity.

News article - Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs (in Dutch)

Analysis shows major differences Dutch parties’ development cooperation plans

November 8, 2023 | Netherlands | Share this update

On November 8, 2023, the Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis published its calculations for the expected budgetary and economic effects of eight political parties’ election manifestos, showing widely different consequences for Dutch development cooperation prior to the general election on November 22, 2023.

Dutch development association Partos summarized that Netherlands’ current biggest party, conservative-liberal VVD, as well as conservative liberal party JA21, would reduce the Netherlands’ development budget between 2025 and 2028 by EUR5.5 billion (US$6 billion). This would limit Dutch development cooperation to humanitarian assistance, legally binding contributions, and the reception of asylum seekers in other regions.

In contrast, the joint faction of the PvdA, GroenLinks, and the progressive D66, are expected to add EUR3.7 billion (US$4 billion) to the development cooperation budget. Notable is that both parties would limit the amount of extra ODA that can be used to cover first-year asylum seeker reception costs in the Netherlands, though it will not remand ODA already committed to in-donor refugee costs in the Spring Budget of 2023.

The other parties’ plans, including the Christian Union, the CDA, and the pan-European political party Volt, would lead to any additional investments or already pledged investments in ODA to be largely dedicated to first-year in-donor refugee costs in the Netherlands.

Partos expressed concern that the Netherlands’ approach to development cooperation is unlikely to change or improve significantly, even if a new government coalition is formed.

News article - Partos (in Dutch)

Netherlands provides US$15 million for global outbreak readiness

November 6, 2023 | Netherlands, Global Health | Share this update

On November 6, 2023, the Dutch Ministry of Health, Sports, and Welfare announced an additional EUR14 million (US$15 million) contribution to CEPI to advance global vaccine research, development, and manufacturing to better prepare for future epidemics and pandemics.

The announcement was made at the second World Local Production Forum by the WHO, co-hosted by the Netherlands and Indonesia in The Hague. The pledge was originally made in October 2022 at the G20 Summit in Indonesia.

The funds are in adddition to the Netherlands’ initial EUR50 million (US$54 million) contribution in 2020 to advance CEPI’s COVID-19 vaccine portfolio. The contribution is expected to enable Dutch and international researchers to facilitate a 100-day pandemic response to a future pandemic.

Press release - CEPI

Netherlands pledges US$76 million for humanitarian assistance, asylum reception, climate

November 2, 2023 | Netherlands, Education, Climate, Global Health | Share this update

On November 2, 2023, Dutch Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation Liesje Schreinemacher sent a letter to the House of Representatives announcing the allocation of the recently approved extra EUR70 million (US$76 million) for the 2023 development budget.

EUR30 million (US$33 million) will go towards humanitarian assistance by the WFP, the Dutch Red Cross, and the Dutch Relief Alliance, including the recently announced EUR15 million (US$16 million) towards water, food, and healthcare in Gaza. The other half of the humanitarian funds will go towards other undetermined humanitarian needs around the world.

EUR20 million (US$$22 million) is allocated to the reception of asylum seekers in Pakistan, and “the Horn of Africa and the MENA region,” especially the education of children. EUR12 million (US$13 million) will go towards the UNHCR and EUR8 million (US$9 million) will go towards UNICEF.

Finally, EUR20 million (US$22 million) will go towards climate adaptation, with EUR10 million (US$11 million) towards the FMO’s Access to Energy Fund and the remaining funds going towards the Africa Adaptation Acceleration Program.

The extra EUR70 million (US$76 million) for ODA was a result of the Dutch House of Representatives approval on October 26, 2023, to bring forward part of the 2028 development budget buffer to reduce the previously proposed development budget cuts for 2023, known as a ‘cash move’. The additional funds will be processed in the Second Supplementary Budget 2023, which will be sent no later than December 1, 2023.

Letter - Dutch government letter (in Dutch)

Netherlands’ Feminist Foreign Policy Conference highlights need for quality financing

November 1, 2023 | Netherlands, Gender Equality | Share this update

Between November 1-2, 2023, the Netherlands hosted the international Shaping Feminist Foreign Policy Conference, bringing together feminist activists and foreign policy experts from more than 40 countries.

The conference was hosted at the World Forum in The Hague and aimed to continue to give shape to FFP on the global stage.

Key topics on FFPs from the conference included:

  • Prioritize inclusivity: FFPs must involve and co-create policy with the communities they will impact, prioritizing safeguarding rights, peace, and gender equality. Inclusive FFPs should evaluate and address structures of power, including colonialist, racist, and patriarchal approaches to policy both domestically and abroad;
  • Integrate approaches: For FFPs to be truly feminist, countries must use a whole-of-government approach, rather than focusing exclusively on the development envelope. Other ministries, such as defense, diplomacy, trade, immigration, and environment must also incorporate the tenants of FFPs actively in their work; and
  • Support financing: For FFPs to work, women's rights organizations performing critical work in their communities need both increased and improved financing. According to the Association for Women's Rights in Development, just 0.13% of ODA goes to women's rights organizations and movements. It is crucial for donors and FFP advocates to ensure flexible, sustainable financing for gender equity.

Despite the conference's stated goal to advance FFPs, no new funding for feminist movements or women's rights organizations was announced.

Activists protested throughout the conference in light of recent geopolitical tensions, including the escalating Israel-Hamas conflict and the resulting humanitarian crisis in Gaza. A planned protest on the first day of the conference urged the Dutch government to call for a ceasefire in Gaza during Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation Liesje Schreinemacher’s keynote speech. The call was in response to the Netherlands' abstention from voting on a UN resolution for a ceasefire on October 27, 2023.

Shortly before the speech, Executive Director of Women Now For Development and conference ambassador Maria Al-Abdeh voiced her assertion that abstaining from the vote only supported a traditional patriarchal and violent approach to war as well as the arms trade. Her commentaries throughout the conference were met with widespread support from participants.

The next day, Dutch Minister for Foreign Affairs Hanke Bruins Slot referred to Schreinemacher’s speech and thanked the people who raised their voices and spoke out. She noted that FFP is about dialogue and finding shared goals. Bruins Slot continued to highlight the Dutch government’s recent pledges of EUR25 million (US$27 million) for humanitarian assistance for citizens in Gaza. Her speech was met with outrage from some participants, considering the Netherlands' abstention from the UN resolution for ceasefire.

More in-depth information on approaches to FFP have been created by women's rights organizations, including Leading from the South, Centre for Feminist Foreign Policy, Feminist Foreign Policy Collaborative, and Association for Women's Rights in Development, amongst others.

The next Shaping Feminist Foreign Policy Conference will be hosted by Mexico in 2024.

Speech - Dutch Minister of Foreign AffairsWeb Page - Netherlands Shaping Feminist Foreign Policy Conference






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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