Besides the ambassadors appointed to foreign states, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has an Ambassador at Large, who is at the disposal of the Ministry’s political leaders to undertake special assignments. The Ministry also has a number of special ambassadors, each dedicated to a particular theme. This is an overview of special appointments and their areas of responsibility.
The Netherlands is at the forefront of the international campaign against HIV/AIDS. The HIV/AIDS Ambassador addresses HIV/AIDS issues against the broader backdrop of two other policy priorities: sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR), including autonomy in sexual and reproductive decision-making, and the empowerment of women.
Ambassador for International Cultural Cooperation
The position of Ambassador for International Cultural Cooperation was created in 1980, in response to the Ministry’s increasing focus on international cultural policy. Today, culture is an integral part of Dutch foreign policy. Cultural diplomacy can take many forms. Culture has the power to open doors in foreign relations and can be a catalyst for discussion and social change, both at home and abroad.
Ambassador for the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)
The goal of the MDGs Ambassador is to put the Millennium Development Goals at the top of the national and international political agendas. In the Netherlands, the MDGs Ambassador seeks to broaden public commitment to the MDGs, for instance by encouraging civil society organisations and new partners such as the private sector to become involved in innovative forms of development cooperation. At international level, the Ambassador must regularly remind other countries, donors and developing countries of their pledges, through bilateral relations and by ensuring that the Netherlands plays a more active and effective role in the EU and the UN.
Ambassador for International Organisations
The Netherlands’ reputation as host country depends in large part on the way it welcomes international organisations. These organisations, their employees and the latter’s families are also a boon to the local economy. In 2005, the Cabinet decided to develop a coherent, government-wide policy to improve the Netherlands’ performance as a host country, which included the appointment of a special Ambassador for International Organisations (AMIO).
Human Rights Ambassador
The Netherlands has had a special ambassador dedicated to human rights since 1999. The position gives the Netherlands a visible, distinctive profile in the area of human rights. The Human Rights Ambassador also strives for greater coherence in Dutch human rights policy.
Special Representative for Neighbouring Countries
The head of the Europe Department (DEU) also acts as the Netherlands’ Special Representative for Neighbouring Countries. The Special Representative’s main goal is to strengthen relations with Germany and Belgium, starting with the North Rhine-Westphalia and Flanders border areas. He also seeks to ensure a strategic and consistent approach to policy regarding cross-border cooperation with Germany, Belgium and Luxembourg.