We are concerned about the results of the Dutch Parliamentary elections on November 22, 2023. The Netherlands is in danger of turning its back on the rest of the world and hiding itself behind its own dikes. Meanwhile, within our national borders, people are being excluded and their place in society is being questioned.
Disposable fashion items continue to flood into the country, the nitrogen crisis has brought construction to a standstill and energy poverty is on the rise, but Dutch politicians are contemplating their navels. These are problems that we can never solve on our own. The clothes we wear, the food on our plates, and the electricity that comes out of our wall sockets – they are all produced in global trade and production chains. With far-reaching consequences, both in our own country and far, very far beyond our borders. It would be naive to think that we can solve all these problems through domestic policies alone. And vice versa: we would be evading our responsibilities if we continued to believe that the Netherlands only plays a humble role on the global stage. Latest figures show that the Netherlands is the fourth largest exporter and the seventh largest importer of products worldwide. With the elections on the way, it is time to look beyond our own small country. Because it is also important to vote with a worldwide impact.
See the Dutch web page for more information (in Dutch).
The Netherlands is well on its way with the energy transition at home, but our country continues to encourage Dutch investments in fossil projects elsewhere. This is obviously not in line with the climate goals and, moreover, these kinds of projects cause major problems in the countries where they take place. What can a new cabinet do to reduce the Dutch footprint abroad? Ellen Mangnus discussed this with several experts: today part 2.
The parliamentary elections in the Netherlands are over, and the dust has somewhat settled. No matter what government emerges from the process, one thing is clear: in the Netherlands the main focus is on the Netherlands. Foreign affairs were hardly mentioned during the elections and the same applies to the process of forming a new coalition. More alarmingly, some of the winners in the elections want to cut themselves off even further from the world around us.
In the weeks following the elections, Both ENDS is looking at how Dutch foreign policy can be influenced in the coming years to reduce our footprint abroad and to work in the interests of people and planet. We will be doing that in four double interviews, each with an in-house expert and someone from outside the organisation.
A number of our colleagues at Both ENDS made a lot of noise at various locations around the country today, as part of the national Klimaatalarm (Climate Alarm) campaign. Annelieke Douma gave a short speech in Haarlem on the major role played by the Netherlands in climate change and environmental degradation beyond our borders. She made a number of suggestions that would immediately make Dutch foreign policy a lot more climate-friendly. Below is the text of her speech.
During the formation of a new Dutch government after the general elections in March, a group of concerned citizens is holding a wake in front of the Prime Minister's residence to remind the political leaders of the climate crisis. On Friday May 28, they will pay attention to the international aspect, initiated by Cordaid, Oxfam Novib, Care, ActionAid, WECF, Hivos and Tearfund. Both ENDS is happy to support the initiative.
In 2015, the United Nations instigated the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). These seventeen interrelated goals are intended to result, by 2030, in a better, fairer and more sustainable world in which no one is left behind. As a member of the UN, the Netherlands is committed to promote the SDGs and every year Statistics Netherlands (CBS) and the central government publish reports on the progress made. The initiators of 'SDG Spotlight Nederland' however believe that there is a need for an annual report on the Netherlands' performance on specific SDGs from a different perspective. Fiona Dragstra and Stefan Schuller of Both ENDS contributed to the report on 2020 and tell us here why they think it is so important.