International cooperation is essential to preserve peace and promote security, prosperity and justice throughout the world. Major issues like environmental protection, the war on drugs, gender equality, food security and curbing population growth cannot be resolved at local or regional level, but require a global approach.
Conseqently it is important that the Netherlands pursues an active foreign policy, which includes supporting international organisations through the provision of funding, manpower and ideas. This is known as multilateral cooperation. A strong argument in favour of multilateral aid is that this form of support is less driven by donor interests and coordination is smoother than when donors individually administer their own programmes.
Over a quarter of the Dutch development budget goes to programmes run by the United Nations, the European Union, the World Bank and various regional development banks. The Netherlands naturally tries to influence these multilateral organisations in such a way as to further its own objectives. So it is important that the country is well represented at international organisations. That is why the Kingdom of the Netherlands, in addition to embassies and consulates, also has its own permanent missions, delegations and representations at organisations like the NATO, the United Nations, the Council of Europe and the OECD.
The Netherlands also cooperates with internationals organisations at a more personal level. The Protocol Department of the Dutch Foreign Ministry helps serve the needs of the staff of international organisations and of representatives of other countries (and their families) who have been afforded diplomatic status while they stay in the Netherlands.