Emergency aid and humanitarian diplomacy

People in need must receive help quickly in order to survive and rebuild their lives as soon and solidly as possible. The Netherlands therefore provides funds for international emergency aid and uses diplomacy to ensure aid is as effective and efficient as possible.

Aid in emergencies

Millions of people all over the world urgently need food, protection, medicine and shelter, for instance because they are victims of famines or natural disasters like earthquakes or floods. Others are caught up in wars or fleeing from them. 

The Netherlands helps save lives, reduce human suffering and protect human dignity. It provides financial support for the work of UN humanitarian organisations, the International Red Cross and Dutch relief organisations. 

Dutch aid is predictable and not tied to specific issues or target groups. This enables organisations to take action quickly where the needs are greatest. As an EU member state, the Netherlands also contributes to the EU’s international emergency assistance programmes. Emergency aid can mean supplying goods, staff or specialist knowledge, or money that enables people to rebuild their own lives.

Humanitarian diplomacy

Dutch humanitarian policy uses diplomacy to promote:

  • Compliance with international humanitarian law, so that relief organisations can reach people in need and do their work safely.
  • An emergency aid system that works as well as possible to ensure that:
    • organisations can coordinate their work;
    • local and national relief organisations have a stronger role;  
    • ICT and data technology is used as effectively as possible.
  • A consistent focus on mental health and psychosocial support in emergency aid.
  • Ensuring that aid reaches vulnerable groups like women and girls as effectively as possible. Designing aid packages to meet the needs of vulnerable groups.