Climate change and developing countries

Climate change can undermine development results that have been achieved. To prevent this, the Netherlands helps developing countries take measures to combat climate change (mitigation) and helps them deal with its effects (adaptation).

Access to sustainable energy

To successfully fight climate change, we need to stop using fossil fuels as soon as possible and switch to renewable sources of energy. Energy also needs to be affordable, in order to help fight poverty in developing countries. Around the world, 675 million people still have no access to electricity. 2.3 billion people use biomass and other dirty fuels for cooking, which pollutes the air in their homes. 

The Dutch government aims to help increase the number of people who have access to sustainable energy by 100 million between 2015 and 2030. Sustainable energy includes solar and wind power, but also clean cooking fuels. Sustainable energy also offers opportunities for development, by creating more jobs and improving health. A steady supply of electricity also means children can do their schoolwork in the evenings. 

Programmes and investments that the Netherlands supports

The Netherlands supports programmes like Energising Development (EnDev), which helps households, institutions and small and medium-sized businesses in developing countries gain access to renewable energy. We also encourage investment in the World Bank’s renewable energy projects, in private initiatives like the Access to Energy Fund (AEF), run by the Dutch development bank FMO, and in the public-private initiative Climate Investor One (CIO). Since 2021 the Netherlands has supported the NL Energy Compact, in which the Dutch government works with private and social organisations in the Netherlands to improve access to energy for people in developing countries.

Adapting to the effects of climate change

Climate change, low crop yields, conflicts and population growth are increasing the likelihood of famine. More and more countries are also facing water-related problems caused by climate change, from extreme drought to flooding. 

The Netherlands helps countries become more resilient. We fund a range of activities to give people more and better food and clean drinking water, and to improve water management. We also help make countries less vulnerable, for instance by improving early warning systems and emergency preparedness in East Africa. This makes countries better prepared for water-related disasters.  

The Netherlands focuses particularly on the most vulnerable people, ecosystems and communities, taking account of local needs, knowledge and experience.

Financing, knowledge and expertise

The Netherlands supports developing countries in various ways:

Combating deforestation and loss of biodiversity

The Netherlands helps fight deforestation in and around the world’s three main rainforests, and works to restore forests and their biodiversity. We do this by promoting sustainable, inclusive production methods that avoid deforestation, with a special emphasis on agriculture. 

Examples of programmes the Netherlands supports include the Central African Forest Initiative, the Green Livelihoods Alliance and the Tropical Forest Alliance. Our aim is to help protect the climate, biodiversity and local communities. Communities often depend on forests for their livelihoods.