Minister Kaag at UN meeting in New York: Education is the best strategy

Speaking to the United Nations in New York, foreign trade and development minister Sigrid Kaag has announced that the Netherlands is investing in better education in developing countries. ‘Education is one of my policy priorities,’ said the minister. ‘It offers women and young people opportunities for better work and decent incomes.’ 

For this reason, the Netherlands is supporting access to education in developing countries, with a focus on vulnerable groups such as refugees and internally displaced persons. It is earmarking €20 million a year for this purpose in the period until 2022. At a meeting on Tuesday where French President Emmanuel Macron, British Prime Minister Theresa May and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau also spoke, Ms Kaag announced that these funds will go to the Global Partnership for Education. Another €15 million will be given to Education Cannot Wait, which works to enhance access to good education for children and young people in crisis-affected areas. 

Healthcare for women

The Netherlands will also be investing €58.5 million in the Global Financing Facility (GFF), which helps countries provide proper healthcare for women. This financial support will give countries more opportunities to move ahead economically. ‘Girls must be allowed to decide for themselves whether to have children, and if so when and how many,’ Ms Kaag added. 

Psychosocial care

In disaster and conflict situations a great deal of attention naturally goes to acute humanitarian distress. The Netherlands is very active in this field. In her meetings at the UN the minister is also drawing attention to the psychological problems that the victims and survivors of wars and disasters experience. Anxiety and depression create additional obstacles for day-to-day survival, and impede post-war reconstruction. Moreover, after a disaster or conflict people often lose touch with their social network, which would otherwise serve as a safety net in dealing with mental difficulties. 

Mental health and psychosocial support are an integral part of proper care provision, Ms Kaag said. ‘We’re joining forces with the World Health Organization (WHO), the International Red Cross and other partners to enhance awareness of and support for psychosocial care for the victims.’