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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New Dutch government emphasizes foreign policy priorities

July 3, 2024 | Netherlands, Agriculture, Climate | Share this update

On July 3, 2024, following the swearing-in of the new Dutch cabinet, Dutch Prime Minister Dick Schoof announced the government declaration in the House of Representatives, highlighting key policy areas and approaches for the cabinet.

Schoof reaffirmed the commitment to the EU and NATO as the cornerstone of the Netherlands’ security and prosperity. He pledged continued support for Ukraine against the Russian invasion and committed to enshrining the NATO standard of 2% of GDP defense spending into law.

Schoof emphasized reducing dependence on external sources and enhancing national resilience through strategic autonomy in energy, food security, and raw materials. He committed to honoring all existing international treaties and minimizing additional national measures, especially in nature and climate policies, to maintain competitiveness.

Schoof also mentioned proactive engagement with the EU to address national concerns and seek exceptions where agreements disproportionately impact the Netherlands, particularly in migration and agriculture.

Government document - Government Declaration, cabinet Schoof (in Dutch)News article - Dutch government (in Dutch)

Netherlands announce new cabinet, three new ministries

June 13, 2024 | Netherlands, Agriculture, Climate, Global Health, Gender Equality, Education | Share this update

On June 13, 2024, the Netherlands announced the distribution of its cabinet posts, including the creation of three new ministries: Asylum and Migration, Housing and Spatial Planning, and Climate and Green Growth.

The Dutch government also renamed the Ministry of Agriculture, Nature, and Food Quality to the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries, Food Security, and Nature. The Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation will become the Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Assistance. These changes are meant to mirror the new government’s priorities.

The PVV was allocated five ministers, the VVD and NSC four, and the BBB two. Designated Prime Minister Dick Schoof does not represent any party.

Ministerial appointments with relevance to development included:

  • Minister of Climate and Green Growth: Sophie Hermans ( VVD);
  • Minister of Finance: Eelco Heinen ( VVD);
  • Minister of Economic Affairs: Dirk Beljaarts ( PVV);
  • Minister of Agriculture: Femke Wiersma ( BBB);
  • Minister of Education: Eppo Bruins ( NSC, CU);
  • Minister of Asylum and Migration: Marjolein Faber ( PVV);
  • Minister of Health: Fleur Agema ( PVV);
  • Minister of Foreign Affairs: Caspar Veldkamp ( NSC); and
  • Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Assistance: Reinette Klever ( PVV).

The PVV’s Ministers for Foreign Trade and Development Assistance Reinette Klever and Asylum and Migration Marjolein Faber sparked controversy due to past statements regarding omvolking, or the ‘replacement theory’. Faber and Klever distanced themselves from past use of the term but reiterated concerns about demographic change.

Candidate ministers and secretaries will present themselves in public hearings to the House of Representatives. The new cabinet is expected to be sworn in on July 2, 2024.

News article - NOS (in Dutch)News article - NOS (in Dutch)News article - Parool (in Dutch)News article - House of Representatives (in Dutch)

Netherlands and Caribbean announce joint climate agenda

May 28, 2024 | Netherlands, Climate | Share this update

On May 28, 2024, the Netherlands and Dutch Caribbean countries, including Aruba, Curaçao, Sint Maarten, Bonaire, Saba, and Sint Eustatius, created a joint climate agenda to address climate change which focuses on enhancing cooperation, financing, and knowledge sharing.

Key areas include expanding solar and wind energy, reducing fossil fuel use, and improving water management systems. Each island will develop specific climate plans, supported by Dutch funding.

The second Caribbean Climate and Energy Conference will be hosted by Curaçao and the Netherlands in October 2024 to further progress and cooperation in the region.

News article - Dutch Government (in Dutch)

New Dutch governmental coalition unveils historic US$6.4 billion cut to development cooperation

May 16, 2024 | Netherlands, Agriculture, WASH & Sanitation, Climate | Share this update

On May 16, 2024, the four Dutch coalition negotiating parties– PVV, VVD, NSC, and BBB - agreed to an outline agreement titled Hope, Courage, and Pride, stating that the new Dutch government will cut two-thirds of the current development budget over 2025-2027, or EUR5.9 billion (US$6.4 billion) over the period.

The outline focuses on ten key areas, primarily concerning improving Dutch citizens' livelihoods and social well-being and restricting asylum seekers and migration. The outline states that the Netherlands will contribute to food security and water management in other countries to improve stability, as well as support the regional hosting of asylum seekers to prevent further migration to the Netherlands.

The cuts are slated to start with EUR350 million (US$380 million) in 2025, increasing to EUR550 million (US$598 million) in 2026, and reaching EUR2.5 billion (US$2.7 billion) annually from 2027.

Opposition GroenLinks MP Danielle Hirsch contrasted the cuts with the statement's assertion that the Netherlands is one of the wealthiest countries in the world. Eleven development organizations in the Netherlands released a statement expressing their disapproval and concerns about these unprecedented cuts. Partos asserted that these cuts will damage the Netherlands’ international standing and interests. It calls on the coalition to avoid these cuts and continue investing in international cooperation.

Informants van Zwol and Dijkgraaf completed their task with the outline agreement. and recommended appointing van Zwol as the next formator. Van Zwol expects to appoint ministers and state secretaries within four to five weeks to form the new cabinet and flesh out the outline agreement.

Government document - Dutch coalition outline agreement (in Dutch)Government document - Budgetary annex to the coalition outline agreement (in Dutch)Report - Informants' Dijkgraaf and van Zwol's report (in Dutch)Danielle Hirsch (GroenLinks) (in Dutch)News article - ND (in Dutch)Partos (in Dutch)

Netherlands describes climate strategy goals as impossible following ODA reallocations

May 8, 2024 | Netherlands, Climate | Share this update

On May 8, 2024, the Dutch government reported on the implementation and progress of its International Climate Strategy, launched in October 2022, and concluded that, due to ODA reallocations, it will be impossible to achieve the original goal of reducing climate vulnerability for four million people and providing safe, climate-resilient water and sanitation access for seven million people by 2030.

Dutch Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation Liesje Schreinemacher and Minister for Climate and Energy Rob Jetten wrote that the Netherlands is intensifying programs promoting climate resilience, focused on WASH and urban climate resilience despite the setbacks. The ministers noted that the Netherlands increased its focus on mobilizing climate finance, particularly for LICs, through mechanisms like the DFCD.

The Netherlands has invested EUR110 million (US$120 million) in the NL2120 knowledge and innovation program to promote global nature-based solutions, financed through the National Growth Fund. The Netherlands also contributes to the international goal to mobilize US$100 billion annually for climate action in LICs. In 2023 the Netherlands also increased its contribution to the DFCD, with plans for a follow-up fund in 2025, and contributed EUR15 million (US$16 million) for the startup costs of the loss and damage fund established at COP28. Schreinemacher and Jetten noted that the Netherlands is focusing on mobilizing private climate investments and promoting public-private partnerships.

The ministers also highlighted that the Netherlands is boosting its international collaboration through programs and partnerships like the Global Water Security and Sanitation Program with the World Bank, the Water Resilience Trust Fund with the ADB, and initiatives with UNICEF and FAO.

Letter - Letter to the House of Representatives (in Dutch)

Netherlands pledges US$74 million to unlock US$550 million World Bank lending

April 19, 2024 | Netherlands, Climate, Global Health | Share this update

On April 19, 2024, the Netherlands pledged EUR68 million (US$74 million) towards World Bank hybrid capital, which is expected to expand the bank’s lending capacity by over US$550 million over the next ten years for global public goods investment.

Dutch Ministers of Finance and Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation Liesje Schreinemacher and Steven van Weyenberg announced the contribution to support low- and middle-income countries in financing the energy transition, biodiversity protection, and strengthening health systems to prevent future pandemics.

This commitment joins those of 10 other countries to boost the World Bank’s lending capacity, totaling US$11 billion and potentially providing up to US$70 billion in essential funds.

Dutch Ministry of Finance representative Florian KeulersPress release - World Bank

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 announces cabinet changes

January 10, 2024 | Netherlands, Global Health, Climate, Education | Share this update

On January 10, 2024, outgoing Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte announced changes in the Dutch cabinet.

Rutte announced that Minister for Health, Sports, and Welfare Ernst Kuipers handed in his resignation to the King of the Netherlands. Minister for Long-term Care and Sports Conny Helder will temporarily take over this role until a successor is found.

Additionally, Secretary General for Education, Culture and Science Steven van Weyenberg has been appointed the new Minister of Finance. His former role will be filled by Fleur Gräper-van Koolwijk.

Finally, Rutte announced that Minister for Climate and Energy Rob Jetten will take on the additional role of Vice Prime Minister, previously held by Sigrid Kaag.

Twitter - Dutch Prime Minister (in Dutch)

EU pledges US$76 million to initiative supporting deforestation-free value chains

December 9, 2023 | France, Germany, EUI, Netherlands, Climate | Share this update

On December 9, 2023, during COP28, EU Commissioner for the Environment, Oceans, and Fisheries Virginijus Sinkevičius, as well as representatives from Germany, the Netherlands, and France, launched the Team Europe Initiative on Deforestation-free Value Chains and pledged an initial EUR70 million (US$76 million) to the initiative.

The initiative aims to tackle global deforestation and reinforce the pledges set forth in the Glasgow Leader's Declaration on Forests and Land Use from COP26, with the goal of stopping and reversing forest loss and land degradation by 2030. It is also aligned with the EU's Global Gateway strategy, which aims to transition partner countries to sustainable, deforestation-free, and legal value chains.

The initiative was developed to support inclusive partnerships between the EU and partner countries, facilitate sustainable trade, and address deforestation. Through the initiative, the EU is slated to offer technical and capacity-building assistance to partner countries on key issues, including traceability, geo-localization, and land-use mapping. The initiative is also planned to serve as a centralized platform to bolster coordination between public and private stakeholders in both the EU and partner countries.

A Team Europe Hub will be established under the Sustainable Agriculture for Forest Ecosystems program to host information and coordinate further actions.

Press release - European Commission

Netherlands launches COP28 coalition to phase out fossil fuel subsidies

December 9, 2023 | Netherlands, France, Spain, Canada, Climate | Share this update

On December 9, 2023, during COP28, the Dutch government launched an international coalition to phase out fossil fuel subsidies, comprising 13 countries: Antigua and Barbuda, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Costa Rica, Denmark, Finland, France, Ireland, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, and Spain.

Research by the Dutch government found that half of all Dutch fossil fuel subsidies are tied to international agreements. This international coalition was created with the intention of phasing out fossil fuel subsidies while preventing greenhouse gas emissions shifting to other parts of the world.

The coalition noted three main pillars:

  • Transparency: all member countries publishing an overview of their fossil fuel subsidies by COP29 in 2024;
  • International agreements: identifying and addressing international barriers to phasing out fossil fuel subsidies; and
  • National action: encouraging international dialogue to share knowledge, develop national strategies, and join action to minimize carbon leakage.

In the coalition’s joint statement, various international organizations including the IMF, OECD, WTO, and World Bank were asked to develop a comprehensive methodological framework to identify the scope of international fossil fuel subsidies and to develop guidance for national phase-out strategies.

News article - Dutch governmentCoalition to Phase Out Fossil Fuels

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