As of October 2017, the Netherlands has now firmly established a new government based on last year’s elections. Minister Liliane Ploumen, who made several significant accomplishments during her time as minister, has moved on to lead her own #shedecides initiative, and she joined the parliament.
The experienced diplomat, Sigrid Kaag (pictured above), has succeeded Ploumen and will lead international development as the Dutch Minister of Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation. As is often the case, a new composition of interests in the government comes with new ambitions and new policies.
To form their new policy framework, the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation has requested the civil society community – including Solidaridad – to submit input for this new framework. We are, of course, honoured to have the opportunity to provide input based on our extensive experience around the world and share our perspective on the coming challenges for international cooperation. Our goal is to always champion sustainable and inclusive economic cooperation in any policy-making discussions.
Solidaridad believes that shifts in international cooperation are becoming more equitable and reciprocal in light of the new power centres currently emerging on the world stage. The shift from aid to trade and investment will continue and knowledge and technology will, to a large extent, determine the innovative character of future collaborations.
Economic development and trade can only be successful in the long term if they are sustainable and inclusive. This requires climate-smart approaches and leaving no one behind – full participation of all as a producer, consumer and citizen.
Summary of recommendations to the minister include:
- Focus on increasing the scale and speed of transforming economies in a sustainable manner through systematic solutions. Sector covenants can provide a forum for testing and scaling up these new solutions. Mandatory frameworks have to create a level playing field and encourage the laggards to follow the first movers.
- Establish the four mechanisms needed to deliver speed and scale: improved access to equity and loans, improved access to knowledge and technology, improved access to fair markets, improved policy frameworks
- Reinforce the historic role of the Netherlands as a pioneer in sustainable solutions by supporting durable innovations and creative solutions for the post-certification era. Digital tools, for example, can stimulate continual improvements and attract investments for sustainability projects.
- Begin addressing one of the major issues of the future: the growth of megacities in Africa. Urban agriculture could offer new opportunities for combining the availability of healthy food with employment for the youth.
- Use knowledge and technology to unlock innovation and facilitate the transition to a circular and biobased economy.
The full consultation document from Solidaridad is available in English here.