The budget that the government allocated last year for She Decides – to preserve family planning services – has benefited women in a number of countries, including Ethiopia, Yemen, Mali, Bangladesh and Mozambique. She Decides has also supported several programmes covering multiple countries, such as the West African region as a whole. The Netherlands is spending a total of €29 million on She Decides in 2017 and 2018.
At the invitation of French president Emmanuel Macron, the five countries of the Sahel region that provide troops to the G5 Sahel military force met in Paris yesterday. Together with a group of other countries and institutions that are closely involved in the Sahel, they discussed ways of supporting this force. The Netherlands, which has been committed to promoting security and development in the region for some time, was represented by foreign minister Halbe Zijlstra.
The government is to provide a second package of emergency aid for refugees fleeing Myanmar. The decision by development minister Lilianne Ploumen comes in response to an appeal from the International Red Cross, the only international organisation able to reach the northern part of Rakhine State. The Red Cross has warned that no funding is currently available for a substantial part of the humanitarian aid immediately needed in the region. ‘The plight of many people there is utterly desperate,’ the minister commented.
The special teams deployed worldwide by the Netherlands to advise countries on how to protect themselves against flooding will be continuing their activities in the years ahead. Foreign trade and development cooperation minister Lilianne Ploumen and infrastructure and environment minister Melanie Schultz van Hagen have pledged to fund the Dutch Risk Reduction (DRR) teams for another three years.
At the invitation of the Myanmar Government, we visited Northern Rakhine today. We went to a number of villages in Maungdaw and Rathedaung districts and met a mixture of local communities.
This initiative by the Government of Myanmar allowed us to show support for the many people of all communities in northern Rakhine who have suffered and still feel great insecurity.