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Major cuts in development cooperation morally and strategically incomprehensible

News Cordaid
Netherlands -

The new Dutch government wants to cut 2.4 billion euros annually from its budget for development cooperation. This is stated in the outline agreement the coalition parties PVV, VVD, NSC and BBB presented yesterday. These are the largest cuts in development cooperation in Dutch history. Cordaid finds this an incomprehensible measure, both morally and strategically.

The Dutch seat of government and the skyline of The Hague. Image: Zairon, CC BY-SA 4.0

It is morally incomprehensible because global inequality has increased since the war in Ukraine, the COVID-19 crisis and because of climate change. Due to these cuts, we risk not achieving the sustainable development goals the Netherlands has committed itself to.

We need more, not less

The Netherlands must invest much more in international cooperation to close the global inequality gap.

Strategically it is wrong because the Netherlands is highly dependent on the rest of the world for its prosperity and stability. It is therefore unwise, and even unworldly, to cut funding for activities that contribute to peace, security and development in regions such as the Sahel, the Horn of Africa and the Middle East.

Much is at stake

There is a lot at stake in geopolitics. Development cooperation is a crucial and indispensable instrument towards an effective foreign policy. With these cuts, the Netherlands is losing a lot of influence on the world stage.

Together with trade association Partos, we hope – and expect – that the new cabinet will reconsider the cuts and continue to invest substantially in peace and security, human rights, health care, trade, climate and sustainable development.