Development cooperation via international institutions to be more focused

The government wants to be more selective when providing development assistance via international organisations such as the United Nations and the World Bank. Following a proposal by Ben Knapen (Minister for European Affairs and International Cooperation), the Cabinet has agreed to submit a letter to the House of Representatives specifying the organisations that can continue to rely on close cooperation with the Netherlands and those to which contributions are to be reduced.

The government is keen to stress the importance of international organisations for the Netherlands, not only because they carry out Dutch development policy but also because they form the basis of the international legal order. The Netherlands’ contributions strengthen Dutch influence on decision-making in these organisations and on global governance. Owing partly to reductions in the budget for development cooperation, the government has made a critical assessment of the value added by these organisations, scoring their effectiveness and relevance to Dutch foreign policy according to a points system. Their scores will affect the size of the contribution they receive.

On the basis of their scores, the World Bank, the UN Development Programme (UNDP) and the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) will remain central to Dutch international development efforts. The assessment also showed that some organisations provide more value for money when implementing Dutch development policy. Examples include the African and Asian development banks (AfDB and AsDB), the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) and the World Food Programme (WFP).

On the other hand, the Netherlands will sharply reduce its contributions to organisations that are not efficient enough or whose relevance to Dutch policy is limited. Examples include the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) and the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB). Some organisations are less effective than they could be, but play an important normative role in the creation of international standards. To strengthen global governance, the Netherlands will continue to assist them in their normative role. Such organisations include the International Labour Organization (ILO), the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

To prevent the fragmentation of aid, the Netherlands is also reducing the number of projects and programmes for which it provides assistance to multilateral organisations.