Since the founding of the United Nations in 1945 the Netherlands has consistently been committed to and very active in promoting the goals of the UN. The Netherlands plays an active rol within the organization, be it in the field of peace and security, economic and social development, justice, human rights and fundamental freedoms, or in supporting the UN to make it an effective organisation responsive to today's challenges. The Netherlands also strives for an effective, efficient and coherent European Union with coordinated policies within the UN system.
The Netherlands is one of the main financial contributors to the activities of the United Nations. For example in 2008, the Netherlands, a country of 16 million inhabitants, contributed almost 460 million dollars to the three main UN funds and programmes: the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA). These donations are just below the contributions of countries like the United States and Japan. The total Netherlands contribution to the UN is over 1 billion euro. When it comes to the regular UN budget, our country is ranked as the 12th largest contributor (1.855% of the total budget as of 2010). Click here for detailed information on Dutch contributions to the UN.
The above figures do not only reflect our commitment to development cooperation - the Netherlands is one of the few countries in the world that over the years has honoured the UN target of spending 0.7 percent of GDP on development - but also our confidence in the United Nations as an invaluable multilateral channel. The Dutch commitment to development cooperation and the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals also results in our dedication to enhance the quality and effectiveness of UN activities in that field, by stressing the importance of system wide coherence.
One of the main priorities of the Netherlands is the ambition to contribute to peace and security. The several instances of Dutch membership of the Security Council made us a direct partner in the debates to solve or diffuse several crises in the world and are proof of our belief in the crucial role of the United Nations in this area.
Dutch policy focuses on establishing stability in several priority regions: Afghanistan, the Middle East, the Horn of Africa, the Great Lakes and the Balkan. The Netherlands has participated in a number of UN peacekeeping operations and UN mandated missions since 1947. (Click here to see the slideshow "From Korea to Kabul"). Currently it is still part of UN, NATO and EU missions. (Click here to see in which missions the Netherlands is actively involved). The 'Dutch approach', with a focus on integration of military, development and governance supporting activities, has garnered international attention as an effective way of peace building. The Netherlands firmly believes peace and development are intertwined and underscores the importance of the central role of the UN in managing post-conflict and fragile states. In addition, the further development and implementation of the concept of Responsibility to Protect (R2P) is one of the main Dutch concerns.
Our active membership of the Peacebuilding Commission (PBC) shows our conviction that the development of post-conflict societies is a crucial factor in the prevention of a relapse into conflict. The Netherlands has chaired the Sierra Leone configuration of the PBC until early 2009 and believes the work of the commission provides a unique opportunity to make a difference on the ground.
Apart from contributing to international stability, the Netherlands attaches great importance to social and economic development, including the defense and promotion of human rights. It plays an active role within the Human Rights Council in Geneva and the Third Committee of the General Assembly in New York, and makes an effort to integrate human rights into all UN activities.
The current Dutch development priorities are: Food Security, Water and Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR). Throughout these priorities special attention is given to gender equality, good governance and the development of our private sector. The Funds & Programmes (UNDP, UNFPA, UN-Women, UNICEF, etc.) play a vital role in the development policies of the Netherlands. This is also reflected in the substantial Dutch financial contributions<ßlink naar contributions pagina>.
Finally, the Dutch commitment to attaining social and economic development also results in our dedication to enhance the quality and effectiveness of UN activities in that field, by stressing the importance of system wide coherence.
There is more to our close relationship with the United Nations: The Hague - seat of the Dutch government - is hosting the International Court of Justice, the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, the International Criminal Court and the Special Tribunal for Lebanon. The trial of former Liberian President Charles Taylor for the Special Court for Sierra Leone is also being conducted in The Hague. All of this has, informally, given this Dutch city the title of the United Nations "legal capital of the world". It certainly reflects the Netherlands longstanding involvement in the promotion of international law. The Hague is also seat of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), a body created by and related to the United Nations.
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