The government of the Netherlands implements a policy that combines development cooperation with trade and investments. The policy “Investing in Global Prospects” is in place since 2018, wherein gender equality and sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) are priorities. While new elections were planned for March 2021, the Dutch government resigned in January 2021, and remained in caretaker state for 2021. The formation of a new coalition government turned out to be very complicated, and a number of outgoing (vice-)Ministers stepped down throughout 2021 for various reasons and were replaced, including the Minister of Foreign Affairs and the Minister for International Trade and Development Cooperation. As of December 2022, formation negotiations have finally come to a conclusion, and a new cabinet was installed on January 10th, 2022. Most importantly, the Minister of Foreign Affairs will be former Minister of Finance Wopke Hoekstra of the Christian-Democrats; and the Minister for International Trade and Development Cooperation will be Liesje Schreinemacher, former MEP for the liberals (VVD).
Policies & funding
Dutch Overseas Development Assistance (ODA)
Dutch Official Development Assistance (ODA) decreased in the period 2015-2017. The coalition government starting in October 2017 aimed to reverse the decreasing ODA trend and has set the goal to restore the internationally 0.7% ODA percentage by 2030. ODA went up in absolute terms afterwards and amounted to € 4.70 billion in 2020. However, net ODA in % of the GNI decreased to 0.59 in 2019 and remained the same in 2020. Percentage wise, net ODA is estimated to decrease to 0.53% in 2021 and 2022, and to 0.55% in 2023 and 2024 (HGIS nota 2022). This implies that the gradual return to the 0.7% target is far away on the horizon.
In the new coalition agreement presented in December 2021, an increase of ODA is announced of € 300 million in 2022, 2023 and 2024, and is projected to increase to a structural € 500 million from 2025. This increase will be largely spent for the first year shelter of refugees in the Netherlands, with costs estimated at 220 million annually. Other sectors mentioned are COVAX, climate mitigation and adaptation, and shelter for refugees in the region.
Funding for Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights
Total official expenditure by the Dutch government for SRHR and HIV/AIDS amounted to € 432 million in 2017, € 445 million in 2018, € 437 million in 2019 and budgeted at € 423 million for 2020. The budget for 2021 stands at € 525 million and the budget for 2022 is set at €529 million. However, these increases of budget are due to contributions to COVID. These contributions are included under the heading of social development of the budget proposal, the same heading as for SRHR. Therefore, as the budget for social development increases, this does not automatically entail an increase for SRHR.
The Netherlands, within the framework of Family Planning 2020, committed to enable access to contraceptives for 6 million women and girls for the period 2016-2020. The number of women and girls reached up to 2019 was 2.75 million.
In 2016, the Dutch government started implementing Strategic Partnership Agreements, coordinated by 7 alliances of NGOs, and 5 INGOs for the period of 2016-2020, for a total amount of €215 million. For the period 2020-2025 the Minister launched a new subsidy framework, including the SRHR Partnership fund for a total of €315 million.
The Netherlands is a strong supporter of SRHR, as shown in their statements at the annual Commission on Population and Development, Human Rights Council, World Health Assembly and High-Level Political Forum. In 2021, during the Generation Equality Forum, the Netherlands led the action coalition of Feminist movements and leadership, gave progressive statements and pledged €510 million for the upcoming 5 years for women’s rights and feminist organizations and movements as part of the SDG5-Fund. Additionally, the Netherlands also supported the action coalition on bodily autonomy and SRGR where the country committed to realizing universal access to SRHR, quality services, information and education. The Netherlands is also involved in SheDecides and supported the movement at multiple occasions in international fora. Additionally, the country is vocal at the EU level and is part of the specific Team Europe Initiative on SRHR in Sub-Saharan Africa.
- Country factsheet with tracking data 2020-21
- Policy document 'Investing in global prospects' of Minister Sigrid Kaag (Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation)
- Joint Statement at WHA73 on COVID-19 and SRHR
- Joint Statement for UNGA HLM on Beijing+25
- Statements at GEF
Updated January 2022
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