Netherlands

The Netherlands adopted its most recent National Action Plan (NAP) for the period 2021-2025. Analysis is forthcoming.

The fourth NAP is preceded by three others, for the periods 2016-2019, 2012-2015, and 2008-2011. The 2016-2019 NAP was developed collaboratively by various Dutch government agencies and over fifty civil society organizations, and underscores that the implementation of the Women, Peace, and Security (WPS) agenda is a partnership between government entities, civil society organizations, and knowledge institutions. The NAP states that the overall objective of the action plan is to “contribute to an enabling environment for women’s participation and empowerment in conflict and post-conflict environments, so they can meaningfully participate in conflict prevention, resolution, peacebuilding, protection, relief and recovery” (p. 23). In line with this goal, the NAP specifically aims to address enhanced protection; decrease of harmful gender norms; and equal leverage in conflict prevention, resolution peacebuilding, and relief and recovery through information sharing, programs, and advocacy. The NAP approaches the implementation of the Women, Peace, and Security (WPS) agenda mostly internationally, identifying eight focus countries in which to help implement WPS actions: Afghanistan, Colombia, the DRC, Iraq, Libya, South Sudan, Syria, and Yemen. While the NAP indicates that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs will allocate an annual budget for the implementation of the NAP, the document itself does not give further details on an estimated budget. 

The second and third NAPs both have standalone sections that provide an overview of the implementation of the previous action plans as well as “lessons learned” for the revised NAP. The third NAP, for instance, states that the Policy and Operations Evaluation Department (IOB) of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the body responsible body for evaluating the implementation of the NAP, found out that “the NAPs have not provided guidance … on how to translate the resolution’s objectives into actions that are responsive to contextual gender realities” (p. 21). As such, the third NAP aims to strengthen its gender-specific analysis as well as monitoring and evaluation mechanism. All three NAPs approach the implementation of the WPS agenda mostly internationally, with the second and third NAPs specifically identifying focus countries in which to help implement WPS actions. While the second NAP identifies six countries (Afghanistan, Burundi, Colombia, the DRC, South Sudan and Sudan) as its countries of focus, the third NAP expands this list to eight countries (Afghanistan, Colombia, DRC, Iraq, Libya, South Sudan, Syria, and Yemen). All three NAPs approach disarmament through the narrow framework of disarmament, demobilization, and reintegration (DDR) efforts, without mentioning arms control or non-proliferation measures. 

The Netherlands does not have a recent history of conflict, but plays an important role in international peacekeeping and humanitarian efforts. The Netherlands is a contributing donor to the Women’s Peace and Humanitarian Fund, a global partnership that works to empower women in conflict zones and humanitarian crises. The Netherlands is also a partner of the Call to Action on Protection from Gender-Based Violence in Emergencies, a multi-stakeholder initiative that aims to mitigate and provide accountability for gender-based violence in humanitarian emergencies. 

In 2016, the Dutch parliament passed a bill to halt arms exports to Saudi Arabia, over concerns about violations of humanitarian law in Yemen. In 2019, the Netherlands was among the top 15 arms exporters in the world. 

At the multilateral level, the Netherlands most recently served as a non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council for a one-year term in 2017, splitting the ordinarily two-year term with Italy due to a deadlocked election result.   

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