Hivos reacts to Dutch coalition agreement

May 16, 2024

Six months after the Dutch elections, the right-wing parties (PVV, VVD, NSC and BBB) forming a coalition presented their coalition agreement. This agreement includes deep cuts to the development cooperation budget. Hivos and eight other organizations have issued the following press release.

May 16, 2024

Cutting back on development cooperation is capital destruction

By cutting back on the budget for development cooperation, the Netherlands is shooting itself in the foot. This is what nine civil society organizations, including Hivos, argue. A better world is of great importance to the Netherlands, and in times of crisis we must continue to invest in stability, peace and security.

Out of solidarity with the rest of the world, and in line with Dutch values, the nine organizations call on the parties in government not to continue the proposed cuts in the development budget.

The Netherlands has always been able to provide urgent international assistance and show solidarity with people in the most vulnerable positions around the world. Even in 2010, during the first Rutte government, with its supporting partner PVV, the budget for development cooperation was maintained. The new coalition already wants to cut 350 million from the budget in 2025, rising to cuts of 550 million in 2026 and structurally 2.5 billion a year from 2027.

It is not yet clear where the planned billions in cuts will take place, but it is clear that they will affect the impact and commitment of the Netherlands abroad. The coalition of PVV, VVD, NSC and BBB is dismantling a vital network that has been built up over decades. Little will remain of the investments that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Development Cooperation has already committed to emergency aid and structural support for “security and the rule of law in developing countries, women’s and girls’ rights and food security, agriculture and water management” because of this Outline Agreement.

Spending on sustainable economic development, agriculture, education, climate, security and democracy should not be seen as a cost. They are investments in people that will continue to benefit the generations to come. Every euro of support that goes to a child yields tenfold. With an effective approach and together with civil society organizations, the Netherlands realizes a gigantic return in the world with its development budget.

“The Netherlands plays a crucial role in the field of human rights, specifically for women and girls, for LGBTIQ+ persons and for the promotion of sexual and reproductive health and rights. Cuts would be disastrous because few other countries dare to speak out and invest as strongly as the Netherlands.”

Anne Jellema, CEO of Hivos

Karin van Boxtel of Both ENDS: “These cuts will generate losses for a long time to come. Development cooperation money works for everyone, including the Dutch. By severely cutting back, the Netherlands would not only let down the most vulnerable in the world, but also entrepreneurs and citizens who want to contribute to a better world.”

Sophie Kwizera of ActionAid Netherlands: “Thanks in part to promoting democracy, development and human rights, the Netherlands has built an influential global network. The trust that the Netherlands enjoys is precious. Don’t squander it with short-term considerations!”


Reaction of ActionAid, Both ENDS, CARE Netherlands, Clean Clothes Campaign, Hivos, The Hunger Project, Partos, SOMO, and Transnational Institute to the Coalition Agreement.