Published on: 16/09/2015
The King's speech marks the opening of the Dutch parliamentary year. This year he drew attention to the important position of the Netherlands in the international water sector. The budgets that were presented alongside the speech also reflect this, notably with a 6% increase for the budget for WASH. Here are some of the main points - with my brief analysis of them.
Given the Dutch King's background in the water sector, it is not a surprise that he spoke in his speech with passion about expected new water works in the Netherlands. In that, he also highlighted how the track record around water management in the Netherlands, helps positioning the country better in the international water sector. The plans and budget of the Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation also reflect a renewed positioning of water in the Netherlands development cooperation activities. Some key facts in that are:
Of course, these budgets must be seen in relation to the ambition. The key - and exciting - ambition of the Minister is to provide 50 million people with sanitation and 30 million with water supply by 2030, as the Netherlands contribution to the achievement of the SDGs. She has made that commitment earlier this year at an event in Washington. The plan for 2016 is the first time, the commitment has been made in writing to Parliament. We now need to do the numbers and assess whether the budgets are sufficient; expect more on that soon! The plans also reconfirm the commitment of the Ministry to sustainability of WASH services, highlighting for example the sustainability clauses as a key tool for that.
The commitments to contribute to the SDG targets and ensuring sustainable services are great and will definitely contribute to positioning the Netherlands in the international water sector. Over the coming months, Parliament will scrutinize these plans and budgets - and so will we as Dutch civil society organisations - to assess whether the budgets live up to the ambition, as expressed in the King's speech.
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