Long Read
16 March 2017

Populism has no chance in the Netherlands

Yesterday was the keenly awaited general election in the Netherlands, when the country went to the polls to vote for a new government. We now enter an exciting and important time in which a new direction will be set for the Netherlands, both at home and abroad. Never before have so many people been on the run: extreme drought in Africa partly due to climate change, while the disparity between rich and poor, haves and have nots, continues to grow across the world. Now, more than ever, it is vital that political parties in the Netherlands and beyond unite and work together to address these issues in a sustainable way.

The previous Rutte I & II cabinets made major cutbacks on the national budget for international cooperation. We believe that this trend must be reversed. Simavi calls for a strong policy and new investments in the field of foreign affairs and development cooperation with a central role for the Sustainable Development Goals. It is unacceptable that 1.8 billion people around the world still lack access to safe drinking water, that 2.4 billion people do not have toilets, and more than 300,000 women die every year from the consequences of pregnancy or childbirth. The Netherlands has expertise in these areas and is a leader in addressing these challenges. Let’s make sure we keep it that way.

At Simavi we have worked – and will continue to work – hard to raise awareness and attention on several fronts for topics affecting vulnerable people.  Along with many others, we have made our voice heard against UN President Trump’s reinstatement of the Global Gag Rule, we joined in the Women’s March and supported the petition ‘Schrijf aan Sybrand’. These actions create change. We will continue to monitor the developments surrounding the formation of the new cabinet and we wish everyone involved wisdom and success in their mission.

Ariette Brouwer

Managing Director, Simavi

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