Cuts of 1 billion in ODA budget by new Dutch government
The new Dutch government, installed November 5 2012, has announced a cut of 1 billion in the Dutch ODA budget. This means an additional cut of 25% on top of the budget cut of 1 billion faced by Dutch development cooperation under the former government. With these cuts Dutch ODA will be 0,55% of the GDP in 2017, falling way below the international norm of 0,7% which the Netherlands has championed for many years. The cuts will be initiated from 2014 onwards and will not yet effect the budget of 2013.
The Dutch priorities will remain the same and sexual and reproductive health and rights are explicitly mentioned in the new government agreement, besides water management, food, security and rule of law. The budget remaining for these priorities is unclear.
Education and health will be curtailed further. These policies were already a non-priority under the former government. Whether it will be the multilateral, bilateral or civil budget channel which will be hit most, is not yet clear. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is faced with budget cuts as well internally, meaning staff reduction and closure of embassies.
To soften the cuts the new government of the socialist (PvdA) and liberal (VVD) party has announced a new to be developed fund for investments in economic activities in developing countries. The 750 million invested in this fund, will be used as loans which will have to paid back. Whether these loans will be used for investments in the poorest countries or also in upcoming economies is not yet decided, neither whether this fund is open for companies in the Netherlands or only for companies in developing countries.
More cuts to come?
The former government merged the climate budget already with the official ODA budget. This means that the Dutch payment for the international climate fund of the UN-Copenhagen agreement-will have to be paid from the ODA budget. If this will happen this means an additional cut of 1-1,2 billion by 2020. Debates on the later are still ongoing.
Dutch opposition parties and the Dutch development sector have started an opposition campaign against these ODA cuts. They also try to influence new policy developments such as the investment fund for companies. Whether this will have any impact is still to be seen since Dutch society in general is occupied with opposition against another fierce cut by the new government related to the Dutch health insurance.
Besides all this negative news there is some positive news to announce, the new government has appointed a Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation, an upgrade form the Secretary of State position under the former government.
- NEW: Annual report Ministry of Foreign Affairs 2011
- NEW: HGIS (Homogene Groep International Samenwerking) Annual Report 2011 (Dutch)
- Policy letter on sexual and reproductive health and rights, May 2012 Dutch English
- The HGIS Nota 2012 ( 2011)
- The budget from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (2011).
- List of all parliamentary questions asked in relation to the budgets presented and answers provided by Ministry of Foreign Affairs in preparation for parliamentary debate November 2011.
- Letter sent to Parliament on 19 April 2011 explaining the relation between SRHR and HIV/AIDS as well as reports on what the GFATM is doing about prevention of HIV.
- Letter to Parliament related to restoring the budgetary cut of € 35 million, dated 22 November 2011.