Netherlands

Introduction

A new policy paper published in 2018, “Investing in global prospects: For the world, for the Netherlands”, shifts the focus of the Netherlands’ development co-operation to the unstable regions of the Sahel, the Horn of Africa, and the Middle East and North Africa, with a view to tackling the root causes of poverty, migration, terrorism and climate change. In 2013, the Netherlands integrated their aid, trade and investment agendas. The 2017 DAC Peer Review noted that this brought a stronger development voice to Dutch trade policy and a stronger trade dimension to the development co-operation programme. The review also noted changes in the Dutch business model, with more budgets managed from headquarters, more investment in multi-stakeholder partnerships under the “Dutch Diamond” approach and less focus on country ownership.

Official development assistance

In 2018, the Netherlands was the seventh largest DAC donor in terms of the volume of its official development assistance (ODA) and the proportion of gross national income (GNI) that it allocates to ODA. Until recently, the Netherlands had a long history of achieving the United Nations’ target of allocating 0.7% GNI to ODA and the new 2018 policy document commits the Netherlands to increasing its ODA budget to compensate for recent cuts. Budget projections, however, fall short of meeting the 0.7% ODA/GNI target.

In 2018, the Netherlands provided USD 5.6 billion in total ODA (preliminary data, current prices), using the new “grant-equivalent” methodology (see the methodological notes for further details) adopted by DAC members on their reporting of 2018 data as a more accurate way to count the donor effort in development loans. This represented 0.61% of GNI. Under the “cash-flow basis” methodology used in the past, 2018 net ODA was USD 5.6 billion, which represented an increase of 5.8% in real terms from 2017.

In 2017, in-donor refugee costs were USD 835 million, an increase of 86.7% in real terms over 2016, and represented 16.8% of the Netherlands’ total net ODA.

The Netherlands’ share of untied bilateral ODA (excluding administrative costs and in-donor refugee costs) was 94.9% in 2017 (down from 98.8% in 2016), while the DAC country average was 82.1%. The grant element of total ODA was 100% in 2017.

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In 2017, 72% of gross ODA was provided bilaterally, of which 19% was channelled through multilateral organisations (multi-bi/non-core contributions). The Netherlands allocated 28% of total ODA as core contributions to multilateral organisations. Learn more about multilateral development finance.

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In 2017, country programmable aid was 23% of the Netherlands’ bilateral ODA, compared to a DAC country average of 48% (see the methodological notes for further details on country programmable aid). Project-type interventions accounted for 69% of this aid.

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In 2017, the Netherlands channelled 42% of gross bilateral ODA through the public sector (up from 32.7% in 2016). The share of bilateral ODA channelled through private sector institutions was 4.3%. In 2017, the Netherlands channelled USD 182 million through universities or other teaching and research institutions, equal to 5% of its gross bilateral ODA. See the methodological notes for further details on channels of delivery.

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In 2017, USD 899 million of gross bilateral ODA was channelled to and through civil society organisations (CSOs). Between 2016 and 2017, ODA channelled to and through CSOs decreased as a share of bilateral aid (from 26% to 25%). Learn more about ODA allocations to and through CSOs and the Civil Society Days.

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In 2017, bilateral ODA was primarily focused on sub-Saharan Africa and the Middle East. USD 664 million was allocated to sub-Saharan Africa, USD 215 million to the Middle East, and USD 114 million to South and Central Asia. Allocations to Europe have decreased from 2016-17 levels and amounted to USD 27 million in 2017.

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In 2017, 12.9% of gross bilateral ODA went to the Netherlands’ top 10 recipients. Its top 10 recipients are in sub-Saharan Africa or fragile states (Afghanistan, Yemen, the Syrian Arab Republic), in line with government policy, noting that 77% of bilateral aid is not allocable by country. Support to fragile contexts reached USD 668 million in 2017, or 18.3% of gross bilateral ODA. Learn more about support to fragile contexts.

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In 2017, 15% of the Netherlands’ gross bilateral ODA (USD 547 million) was allocated to the least developed countries (LDCs), noting that 77.2% of gross bilateral ODA was unallocated by income group. The DAC country average in 2017 was 23.5%.

At 0.13% of GNI in 2017, total ODA to the LDCs (including imputed multilateral flows) is below the UN target of 0.15-0.20% of GNI.

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In 2017, 32% of bilateral ODA commitments (USD 1.1 billion) was allocated to social infrastructure and services, with a focus on government and civil society (USD 435 million), water and sanitation (USD 260 million), and health and population policies (USD 225 million). This is in line with the Netherlands’ policy focus on four thematic areas: 1) security and the rule of law; 2) water management; 3) food security; and 4) sexual and reproductive health and rights (including HIV/AIDS). Humanitarian aid amounted to USD 230 million. In 2017, the Netherlands committed USD 11 million of ODA to support developing countries to raise domestic revenue, amounting to 0.5% of bilateral allocable aid. The Netherlands also committed USD 655 million (30.3% of bilateral allocable aid) to promote aid for trade and improve developing countries’ trade performance and integration into the world economy in 2017.

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USD 1.37 billion of gross bilateral allocable ODA supported gender equality. In 2017, 63.5% of the Netherlands’ bilateral sector-allocable aid had gender equality and women’s empowerment as a principal or significant objective (up from 60.6% in 2016), compared with the DAC country average of 36%. Learn more about ODA focused on gender equality and the DAC Network on Gender Equality.

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USD 734 million of bilateral ODA commitments supported the environment. In 2017, 33.9% of its gross bilateral allocable aid supported the environment and 33.3% (USD 721 million) focused on climate change, compared with the respective DAC country averages of 33% and 25%. Allocations supporting the environment increased from 23.5% in 2016, while those focused on climate change increased from 23.2% in 2016. The proportion of bilateral allocable ODA focusing specifically on adaptation also increased, from 22.8% in 2016 to 31.8% in 2017, and the proportion focusing specifically on mitigation rose from 8.4% to 12.2%. Learn more about climate-related development finance.

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Other financial flows and amounts mobilised from the private sector

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In 2017, the Dutch development finance institution – the Entrepreneurial Development Bank (FMO) – mobilised USD 562.4 million from the private sector through syndicated loan, shares in collective investment vehicles (CIVs), direct investment in companies and project finance special purpose vehicles (SPVs), credit lines, guarantees, as well as simple co-financing arrangements with the private sector.

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Note: For the purpose of this figure, the Entrepreneurial Development Bank (FMO) is considered official in line with the OECD-DAC definition of official transactions. However, in the Netherlands’ National Accounts System, the FMO is registered as a private, independent bank. The data presented in this figure were not collected through the regular CRS, but on an ad hoc basis.

Of the country-allocable private finance mobilised in 2012-17, 86% targeted middle-income countries and 13% the LDCs.

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Note: For the purpose of this figure, the Entrepreneurial Development Bank (FMO) is considered official in line with the OECD-DAC definition of official transactions. However, in the Netherlands’ National Accounts System, the FMO is registered as a private, independent bank. The data presented in this figure were not collected through the regular CRS, but on an ad hoc basis.

Private finance mobilised by the FMO during 2012-17 mainly related to activities in the banking and financial services (37%); industry, mining and construction (24%); agriculture, forestry and fishing (19%); and energy (17%) sectors. Learn more about the amounts mobilised from private sector for development.

Institutional set-up

The Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA), in particular the Directorate-General for International Cooperation (DGIS), is responsible for development co-operation policy and for its co-ordination, implementation and funding. The ministry collaborates with other government departments and with the Dutch development bank, the FMO.

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Evaluation system

The Policy and Operations Evaluation Department (IOB) is an independent unit responsible for evaluation activities for the MFA. The IOB conducts policy reviews, impact evaluations, process and other evaluations and studies. In addition to evaluations led by the IOB, departments and embassies commission decentralised evaluations. The IOB is placed under the authority of the Deputy Secretary-General of the MFA. Policy reviews are submitted to the parliament along with a policy reaction from the Minister of Foreign Affairs and/or the Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation. Read more about the Netherlands’ evaluation system.

The IOB is currently evaluating the Dutch policy on International Corporate Social Responsibility and the use of strategic partnerships as an instrument. Read the Netherlands’ evaluation plan.

Visit the DAC Evaluation Resource Centre website for evaluations of Dutch development co-operation.

Performance against the commitments for effective development co-operation

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Explore the Monitoring Dashboard of the Global Partnership for Effective Development Co-operation.

Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Development Cooperation: https://www.government.nl/topics/development-cooperation

Member of the OECD Development Assistance Committee (DAC) since 1960.

Netherlands