After weeks of negotiations between coalition government parties VVD (Liberals) and CDA (Christian democrats) and supportive party PVV (Party of Freedom), stakeholders were unable to come to an agreement about budget cuts. Soon after the Prime Minister handed in his notice to the queen and elections will be held on 12 September 2012.
Civil society in the Netherlands had waited anxiously for the outcomes of the negotiations as rumors said that Official Development Assistance would be largely hit by budget cuts. In response, Dutch development cooperation organizations developed an advocacy and communication campaign called “You get what you give!” to emphasize the positive results of investing in development cooperation. Many examples of investing in sexual and reproductive health and rights were used to underline the message.
It was a realistic option that the Netherlands would drop way below the 0.7% of GDP to be spent on ODA. However, now the government has fallen and elections will be held, this decision is now put to a hold. Five political parties developed the so-called “Kunduz agreement” with necessary measures to come to budget cuts, until the elections take place. The Kunduz agreement explicitly states that the Netherlands will keep its promise to spend 0.7% of its GDP to ODA.
In the meantime, resigned State Secretary for European Affairs and Development Cooperation published his policy note on Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR). SRHR is one of the Netherlands’ four priority themes for development cooperation. His policy note emphasizes the importance of investing in knowledge of young people about SRHR to make free and informed decisions about their sexuality; access to modern contraception and medicines; improving maternal health including through the provision of safe abortion, and respect for SRHR of marginalized groups.