Highlighted results

1,077,261 young people received accurate SRHR information

2,750,000 additional women and girls with access to modern contraception since 2012

618,397 people from vulnerable groups reached by HIV/AIDS health services

Changes to laws and international guidelines

Additional sources

Policy letter

Read the policy letter on SRHR

Letter to parliament on policy in relation to health systems

Read the letter to parliament on Dutch policy in relation to health systems (in Dutch)

Theory of Change

Download PDF on SRHR Theory of Change


The Netherlands is committed to respect for, protection of and the provision of universal access to sexual and reproductive health and rights, including issues related to HIV/AIDS, on a basis of respect for human rights and collaboration with partners. We aim to be a connector, donor, watchdog, knowledge broker and diplomatic negotiator.

To provide freedom of choice for women and young people, we invest in information, health products, good healthcare and the rights of all individuals. This helps enhance the wellbeing of women and girls and thus contributes to more sustainable development. After all, investing in women and young people gives them a better chance of receiving an education, thus improving their job prospects.

In 2019 freedom of choice came under increasing pressure in many parts of the world. A number of countries and organisations attempted to undermine international agreements on matters like safe abortion, sex education and LGBTI rights. At the UN General Assembly in September 2019 Dutch development and foreign trade minister Sigrid Kaag, speaking on behalf of 58 countries, underlined the need for sexual and reproductive health and rights to remain a fundamental part of basic healthcare provision for all. This principle was included in the Political Declaration on Universal Health Coverage and is of great importance for the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals.

Results 2019

The freedom and rights that women and young people enjoy in the Netherlands cannot be taken for granted in other countries. The Netherlands therefore campaigns for global access to information, resources and services so that women and young people can access the products and services they need in order to shape their own futures. We defend groups in society for whom this is often more difficult, such as unmarried girls and women, men who have sex with men, sex workers and people in fragile regions. In doing so, we do not hesitate to tackle sensitive subjects like safe abortion and access to contraception for young people. In partnership with civil society organisations, we try to foster debate on the legal and cultural barriers that prevent people from exercising their rights. The Netherlands receives international recognition for its inclusive and people-oriented approach and its political courage.

In 2019, Dutch efforts continued to help to defend people’s rights in terms of SRHR and HIV/AIDS. Substantial financial support enabled good results to be achieved in developing products and services, and in promoting their affordability, accessibility and distribution.

Result areas

Young people, information and choices Access to health products Quality of health care Rights and respect

Featured project sexual and reproductive health and rights including HIV / AIDS (SRHR)

Interview with development minister Sigrid Kaag on her statement at the UN Summit in September 2019, NPO Radio 1

Every year the UN member states meet at the General Assembly. A High-Level Meeting on Universal Health Coverage took place during the 2019 General Assembly. In the Political Declaration adopted at the meeting the Netherlands succeeded in drawing attention to the important of the sexual and reproductive health and rights of women and girls. Development minister Sigrid Kaag made a statement on behalf of 58 countries emphasising that SRHR is a crucial part of healthcare all over the world. The statement stressed that guaranteeing the quality and universal accessibility of this care, irrespective of age, gender identity, sexual orientation, disability or income, is a precondition for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. Joining forces to convey this message was a powerful response to the international pressure on women and girls’ freedom of choice.

Young people, information and choices

Learning about sexual and reproductive health in Indonesia. Credits: Carel de Groot

Better information and greater choice for young people

This result area aims to give more young people, between the ages of 10 and 24, access to accurate information on sexual and reproductive health and rights. Many young people do not currently have access to such information, which leads to unsafe choices or a complete lack of choice, as in the case of forced marriage. More access to accurate information should enable young people to make choices about their sexuality, their body and their life. In 2018-2019 we provided comprehensive sexuality education for 1,077,261 young people.

Open result area

Learning about sexual and reproductive health in Indonesia. Credits: Carel de Groot

Focus on young people

The Netherlands has long focused on the sexual and reproductive health and rights of young people, aiming to give them more access to accurate information on sexuality and to resources so that they can make their own choices, deciding whether and when they want to have children, how many and with whom, and whether, when and whom they marry.

To enjoy freedom of choice, young people not only need to know about sexuality, they also need access to contraception and healthcare services. At the same time, it is important that all involved have access to accurate information. It is sometimes very difficult for young people to make decisions that do not meet with the approval of their parents and key groups in their community. These include choices concerning contraception or arranged marriages for girls. Parents, teachers, religious leaders, health workers and other adults in the community therefore also need access to information.

It is not always easy to initiate discussion of these issues. However, our local partners know precisely how to conduct such discussions. They enter into dialogue with religious leaders on the prohibition of child marriage and with health workers on youth-friendly health centres. They also train teachers to make school safer for girls.

Youth participation

Young people themselves are often best placed to explain to adults what they need, but their needs are not always taken seriously. The Netherlands is therefore investing in meaningful participation by young people in decision-making, ensuring their views are considered in policy. This is the only way we can be sure that policy is in line with the reality experienced by young people in the programmes on which we focus. Our programmes got 1.5 million young people involved in SRHR activities, and 30,788 young people took part in policy- and decision-making bodies.



Reaching young people with accurate information on sexuality, HIV/AIDS, STIs, pregnancy and contraceptives


Progress, not on track

1,080,000 young people

Our partners have provided one million young people with sex education that goes further than simply the biological aspects of reproduction. It also covers subjects like resilience, different sexual preferences like heterosexuality, homosexuality and bisexuality, and sexual pleasure. Informing young people both at school and in other settings equips them better to make free, responsible choices, taking into account their own and other people’s wishes and boundaries.

Young people in particular find it difficult to obtain information on sexual and reproductive health and rights. As a result, HIV is one of the main causes of death among adolescent girls. Young people need knowledge in order to prevent pregnancy, sexual exploitation and HIV infection, and to make healthier choices regarding treatment and sexuality.

Recent figures show that girls and young women in many countries have a greater chance of becoming infected with HIV due to gender inequality, sexual violence, inadequate education and poor access to healthcare.


Youth-friendly health services


Progress, not on track

4079 healthcare providers

Many of the barriers that young people encounter in healthcare systems are specific to them, related to their stage of life, local communities and their specific needs, experiences and capabilities. Youth-friendly services attract young people, cater for their needs and lastingly integrate them so they can receive further healthcare.

In the reporting period, more than 4,000 health centres and school and other clinics received training on providing youth-friendly services, enabling young people to visit them without fear.

Young people need access to health services in order to make informed choices regarding their sexual and reproductive health. That is why healthcare providers must be familiar with HIV and SRHR, offer youth-friendly services and pass on knowledge.

Progress in result area Young people, information and choices

Despite the results achieved, many young people still have no access to information, comprehensive sexuality education and sexual and reproductive health services and resources such as safe abortion and contraception. Progress in these result areas is lagging behind because of the conservative backlash against SRHR around the world, political fragility and the growing instability and insecurity in countries and regions where we work.

However, given the forecast growth in the proportion of young people in the world’s population, the availability and accessibility of information and services for young people are becoming more and more important. In order to make well-considered choices about their sexual and reproductive health, young people need access to information. The Netherlands will therefore continue to work with relevant actors, such as government authorities, the private sector, civil society organisations and social movements to provide effective sex education for young people both at and outside school.

Meet Justine van de Beek – the Youth Ambassador for SRHR!

Meet Justine van de Beek – the Youth Ambassador for SRHR!

In 2019 CHOICE for Youth and Sexuality and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs once more agreed a five-year partnership to support the post of Youth Ambassador for SRHR.

The Youth Ambassador for 2019/2020 is Justine van de Beek. She is keen to get young people involved in policy on sexual and reproductive health and rights. These are not rights that all young people automatically enjoy, as issues like contraception, abortion and child marriage are still taboo subjects in many countries. The Netherlands must therefore make these issues more visible. ‘A small change is still a step in the right direction’, says Justine.

Down to Zero: combating commercial sexual exploitation of children

Worldwide, there are two million victims of commercial sexual exploitation of children (CSEC). Terre des Hommes, Plan International Netherlands, Defence for Children ECPAT, Free a Girl and ICCO Cooperation are working together in the Down to Zero programme with the aim of abolishing CSEC in 10 countries in Asia and Latin America.

The victims are often young women and girls. The environment they come from does not always protect them, as women and girls are seen as subservient. Nor is existing legislation always adequate. Now that more and more people have access to the internet, the problem is becoming even greater online. An estimated 750,000 men all over the world go online daily in search of sex with minors.

With Dutch support, 2,176 victims of CSEC were given specialist help (such as accommodation, health services and legal assistance), 13,616 children were trained to recognise CSEC and report cases, and 12,015 children were trained to raise the issue of CSEC among their peers

EngenderHealth in Ethiopia: CSEC for young people

With Dutch support, EngenderHealth Ethiopia, working in collaboration with Amref Health Africa, Triggerise and Philips Healthcare Africa, provides comprehensive sexuality education for young people in Ethiopia. At school, outside school and in their communities, young people get the opportunity to talk about sensitive subjects like being in love, sexuality and relationships. Various subjects are discussed, such as changes to their body, pregnancy, use of contraception, HIV and sexual abuse.

EngenderHealth Ethiopia provided comprehensive sexuality education for 17,592 young people.

Youth participation

Nothing about us without us, on the importance of youth participation

SheDecides 25x25 Youth Ambassador Floortje van der Plas

Floortje van der Plas – one of the 25 SheDecides youth ambassadors – talks about sexual pleasure

More Than Brides Alliance

With Dutch support, Save the Children NL, Oxfam Novib, Simavi and the Population Council are working together to combat child marriage and its negative impact on young women and girls in India, Pakistan, Malawi, Niger and Mali

Her Choice

A programme run by the postage stamp charity Stichting Kinderpostzegels, the Hunger Project, International Child Development Initiatives and the University of Amsterdam to reduce child marriage in 10 countries in Asia and Africa

Yes I Do Alliance

In the Yes I Do Alliance, Plan International Netherlands works with Amref Flying Doctors, Choice for Youth and Sexuality, KIT Royal Tropical Institute and Rutgers on issues like female genital mutilation, child marriage and teenage pregnancy

Access to health products

Health worker Solange Lamousa discusses family planning options with Sibini and Abibou Sawodogo in Sablogo Village, Burkina Faso. Credit: Ollivier Girard, UNFPA

Better access to affordable, high-quality health products

The Netherlands seeks to make more contraceptives, medicines, diagnostic devices, vaccines and other prophylactics available to women, young people and specific risk groups. At the same time, it is important to ensure that these products actually cater for their needs. For example, antiretroviral drugs must be suitable for children as well as adults, and women must be able to opt for birth control that is appropriate to their stage of life.

Open result area

Health worker Solange Lamousa discusses family planning options with Sibini and Abibou Sawodogo in Sablogo Village, Burkina Faso. Credit: Ollivier Girard, UNFPA


The availability of contraceptives gives women and girls more options in terms of education, work, sexuality and family size. Contraceptive use is an important precondition for gender equality. Since 2012, the number of contraceptive users in the 69 poorest countries has increased by 53 million. Last year alone, use of contraceptives prevented 119 million unplanned pregnancies, 21 million unsafe abortions and 134,00 maternal deaths.

HIV treatment

HIV/AIDS still has a major impact on individuals and on socioeconomic developments. To prevent new infections and give people with HIV access to medication, the Netherlands invests in international programmes (such as Bridging the Gaps and the Partnership to Inspire, Transform and Connect the HIV response (PITCH)), organisations (such as the International HIV/AIDS Alliance and the Dutch Aids Fund) and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (GFATM). There is a special Dutch focus on specific risk groups such as sex workers, intravenous drug users, transgender people, prisoners and men who have sex with men.


The Netherlands helps in various ways to make medicines more readily available. Through Product Development Partnerships (PDPs), we invest in research into and development of cheaper effective medicines, vaccines and diagnostic tools for diseases that are prevalent mainly in poor parts of the world. The Netherlands also supports the Access to Medicines Index, a publicly accessible online index which charts the extent of pharmaceutical companies’ efforts to make drugs affordable and accessible to poor population groups. Furthermore, we contribute to the Vaccine Alliance Gavi to protect children in low-income countries by vaccinating them against dangerous diseases.



More women and girls with access to modern contraceptives


Progress, not on track

In 2012, it was agreed globally under the Family Planning 2020 initiative (FP2020) that within eight years 120 million additional women and girls should use contraceptives. The numbers given here are the Dutch contribution to the total number of additional users and the Dutch target.

FP2020 keeps track of the number of extra users and of spending by donors, private organisations and countries. These figures show that, in 2017, 5.2% of the additional contraceptive users in the 69 FP2020 countries were financially supported by the Netherlands. Global spending in 2019 was $3.8 billion.

Reasons for falling behind schedule in terms of the number of users range from the accessibility of locations where contraceptives are provided, ineffective domestic distribution channels and national policy. Sociocultural beliefs and a lack of acceptance in the community also have an impact.

It is now clear as well that the targets are based on incomplete data concerning the number of users in 2012. The number turns out to be lower than initially estimated, making the targets too ambitious.

There are large differences between countries. Although some will not make the 2020 target, the number of people using contraceptives in Uganda doubled between 2012 and 2019.


Number of people with HIV receiving antiretroviral treatment


Progress, not on track

This indicator shows the number of people receiving antiretroviral treatment thanks to Dutch funding for the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (GFATM).

In 2018 GFATM provided antiretroviral therapy to 18.9 million people. The Dutch share in this is 1.6% (302,400).

GFATM has set a target of 81% of people with HIV receiving antiretroviral treatment by 2020. The proportion rose from 22% to 62% between 2010 and 2018.


Number of children fully vaccinated


On track

The Netherlands is one of the donors to the Vaccine Alliance Gavi. The Dutch contribution has financed some of the vaccinations provided by this organisation and the associated training of nurses, purchasing, transport and storage.

Gavi and its partners, which include health ministries, continued to focus on increasing the number of children included last year in national vaccination programmes in various countries. This involves all newborn children receiving in any event their measles and pentavalent (five immunisations in one, including whooping cough, tetanus and hepatitis B) vaccines in timely fashion. Gavi’s support is conditional on countries themselves funding part of the costs of vaccination. In 2018 64% of countries complied with this condition. A further 16 countries took over the funding of vaccination programmes entirely, and are therefore no longer dependent on Gavi.

MSI and UNFPA partnership in Uganda

The partnership between UNFPA Supplies and Marie Stopes International aims to ensure that everyone, irrespective of sex, gender identity or geographical location, has access to contraception. This applies equally to young people, people who live in poverty and people in rural areas that are difficult to reach. With the support of UNFPA Supplies, Marie Stopes International provides some 60% of all contraceptives in Uganda, reaching more than 600,000 women every year.

Contraception for women and girls in rural areas of Burkina Faso

Contraception for women and girls in rural areas of Burkina Faso

Beschrijving (max 1000 tekens inclusief spaties) With Dutch support UNFPA supplied 530,000 people in Burkina Faso with birth control information and services. A majority of them (62%) were aged between 10 and 24. Many people live in remote or rural areas, and they were reached by mobile clinics or distribution via cotton producers’ associations. A new longer-lasting contraceptive (Sayana Press) was also introduced which, after detailed guidance, women and adolescent girls can administer themselves if they have no access to a healthcare provider.

UNFPA and the authorities in Burkina Faso jointly organised a Contraception Week during which free information, services and contraceptives were provided.

Credit: Ollivier Girard for UNFPA

UNFPA Supplies

UNFPA programme that makes free contraceptives available in 46 countries


Family Planning 2020 records data on the increasing use of contraceptives


Background information and data from UNAIDS


Access to Medicine Index and more information on the Access to Medicine Foundation

Netherlands Enterprise Agency (RVO.nl)

Netherlands Enterprise Agency (RVO.nl) site with more information on PDPs


Information on the Vaccine Alliance

Follow SRHR in Ethiopia

A vlog on SRHR programmes in Ethiopia

Quality of health care

Photo credits: Petterik Wiggers

Better public and private health care, in particular for family planning, pregnancy and childbirth, including safe abortions

Good sexual and reproductive health and rights, including for people with HIV/AIDS, can only exist where there is a properly functioning basic healthcare system. The Netherlands helps strengthen health systems, with a particular focus on family planning, the quality of care during pregnancy and childbirth, and safe abortions.
To ensure that health systems are sustainable, it is important that countries themselves give more guidance regarding what they need. They have the option of involving the private sector more actively, particularly if government provision is inadequate.
The Netherlands is also committed to strengthening life-saving SRHR services including HIV/AIDS care in humanitarian and fragile situations.

Open result area

Photo credits: Petterik Wiggers

Around 800 women per day around the world die during pregnancy or childbirth, or shortly afterwards. Most of these deaths could be prevented with a properly functioning basic healthcare system. The sharp fall in HIV globally is due largely to specific measures to combat HIV. In some cases, however, this has diverted attention from other diseases. It is therefore important that systems be strengthened across the entire spectrum, and to ensure that everyone who needs medical care receives it.

Strengthening health systems

Large global funds such as the Global Fund to Fight Aids, Tuberculosis and Malaria (GFATM), the Vaccine Alliance Gavi and the Global Financing Facility (GFF) are making growing contributions to strengthening health systems through specific programmes. The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and the World Health Organization (WHO) are also working on improving systems, for example by training health workers, drawing up guidelines, conducting research into new or better medicines and other interventions.

Healthcare during pregnancy and childbirth

The United States’ Mexico City Policy (MCP) has put further pressure on the financing of SRHR services, including safe abortion. Dutch support for organisations that provide these services is now even more important, to continue guaranteeing good abortion- related services.

Health among vulnerable groups and in humanitarian situations

An estimated 60% of preventable maternal deaths occur in fragile and humanitarian settings. Access to safe abortion is often even more difficult in such circumstances, because of limited resources or social stigma for example. The Netherlands has ensured that sexual health is included in programmes being implemented in these difficult circumstances.

Progress in result area Quality of health care

Strengthening health systems

Although most of the GFATM and Gavi budgets is spent on specific programmes, these investments also help strengthen basic healthcare. The Netherlands believes that these initiatives should make even more use of national systems. This is particularly important in countries whose income status means they can no longer expect financial support from GFATM and/or Gavi. In 2018 12 health funds agreed to improve their coordination and focus more on the needs of countries. This was set out in the Global Action Plan for Healthy Lives and Well-being for All, adopted at the UN General Assembly in September 2019 and coordinated by WHO.

Through its country programmes, the Netherlands helps governments make their health systems stronger and better. This is going well in Ethiopia and Bangladesh, for example. Political tensions in Mali have kept progress behind schedule there, however. In Francophone countries in West Africa, in particular, many women still have no access to contraception. The Netherlands therefore supports the Ouagadougou Partnership, which contributes to better donor coordination and family planning services in nine West African countries.

Pregnancy- and childbirth-related healthcare services

In 2018 the Netherlands helped, via the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF), with the provision of healthcare for almost 68 million people, and the prevention of over three million unsafe abortions. More than two million women were supplied with contraceptives via the reproductive health services organisation IPAS and over 600,000 women received support with safe abortions.

Role of the private sector

The efforts of the international business community to help achieve health-related SDGs are falling short of expectations. The Netherlands encourages entrepreneurship among private healthcare providers and promotes the role of the private sector in global organisations, for example through the Gavi Matching Fund.

Health among vulnerable groups and in humanitarian situations

The Netherlands continued to focus on healthcare and the provision of SRHR products and services among vulnerable groups and in humanitarian situations. For example, the Safe Abortion Action Fund provided services in camps housing refugees and displaced persons in Iraqi Kurdistan and Nigeria, and for exceptionally vulnerable groups in Haiti and Uganda.

Performance-based Financing (CORDAID)

Performance-based Financing (CORDAID)

CORDAID is an international NGO that is working to improve healthcare in Ethiopia through Performance-based Financing (PBF). PBF directly links payment to objectively determined results. Clinics and hospitals receive quarterly payments after achieving the results. Payment on this basis also gives them scope to invest in healthcare improvements as they see fit.

In Borana CORDAID successfully supported 23 clinics and two hospitals. Compared with 2015, this meant eight times more children aged five and under received primary healthcare. The programme was expanded to a further 65 clinics and five hospitals in Jimma, with funding from the Dutch embassy. After just one quarter, visible results were achieved in the form of improved quality scores in all districts. Starting in 2020, a total of 2.3 million people will benefit from the programme.

Photo credits: Petterik Wiggers

Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (GFATM)

Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (GFATM)

The Netherlands is a major donor to GFATM. With a total contribution of €919 million up to and including 2019, we are its tenth largest public donor. The Netherlands has always championed a human rights approach. Working with Dutch civil society, we have enabled vulnerable groups to take part in decision-making on GFATM policy, and sexual and reproductive rights are included in country programmes.

GFATM not only contributes to the fight against HIV, tuberculosis and malaria, it also increasingly helps strengthen basic healthcare, not only by supplying medicines, but also by strengthening countries’ own purchasing and distribution policies.

The Netherlands is calling for the careful phasing out of aid to countries that are no longer eligible for support, and for the further strengthening of national systems and better coordination with other health organisations.

Photo credit: Global Fund / Nana Kofi Acquah

Homepage of Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria

Read more about the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria

Global Financing Facility

Global Financing Facility

Marie Stopes International

Marie Stopes International

IPAS Health, Access, Rights (IPAS)

IPAS Health, Access, Rights (IPAS)

International Planned Parenthood Federation

International Planned Parenthood Federation

Safe Abortion Action Fund

Safe Abortion Action Fund

Population Services International

Population Services International

WHO’s Human Reproduction Programme

WHO’s Human Reproduction Programme

Interagency Working Group on Reproductive Health in Crises

Interagency Working Group on Reproductive Health in Crises

Dutch subsidies fund Life Sciences & Health for Development

Results of the Dutch subsidies fund Life Sciences & Health for Development

Rights and respect

Young people in Honduras calling for safe abortion, access to the morning-after pill, sex education and an end to discrimination against LGBTI people. Credits: Coritza Matute, Right Here Right Now Honduras

More respect for the sexual and reproductive rights of all individuals

More respect for the sexual and reproductive rights of all individuals, and in particular those whose rights are often violated, leads to less stigma and violence, better services, fewer HIV infections, greater gender equality and better health for all.
Despite the international pressure on sexual and reproductive rights, the Netherlands has achieved a great deal. Partners have successfully advocated better national policies, better legislation, better services and less discrimination. The Netherlands has used diplomacy to help ensure these rights are acknowledged in UN resolutions. We have also mobilised countries from all regions to join forces in defending sexual and reproductive rights.

Open result area

Young people in Honduras calling for safe abortion, access to the morning-after pill, sex education and an end to discrimination against LGBTI people. Credits: Coritza Matute, Right Here Right Now Honduras

Sexual and reproductive rights for all are of great importance to the Netherlands. The international community agreed on these rights over 25 years ago. They are now in jeopardy, however. Nevertheless, the Netherlands has achieved a great deal, working with civil society and multilateral partners and with a network of like-minded countries from all regions. Laws and policies have been amended, rights are now better enshrined in international agreements, and a growing number of countries are defending these rights at the United Nations.

Laws and policies

Guidelines, laws and policies often stand in the way of freedom of choice for certain groups. The Netherlands’ international and civil society partners are committed to changing this. The regional programme Hands Off! in southern Africa successfully lobbied for a training manual for the South African police on the needs and rights of sex workers, LGBTI people and people who use drugs. In Nepal, thanks in part to the influence of the Right Here Right Now programme, a new law was adopted on safe maternity and reproductive health, with a reference to safe abortion. The JeuneS3 programme in Cameroon managed to persuade health clinics to introduce more flexible opening hours, making them much more accessible for young people.


The Netherlands uses quiet, regular and public diplomacy in the interests of freedom of choice. Last year it mainly responded to the growing international pressure against sexual and reproductive rights. Dutch efforts in support of these rights in international negotiations resulted in a strongly-worded paragraph in the Political Declaration on Universal Health Coverage which calls on all countries, throughout the world, to ensure that everyone has access to sexual and reproductive health services. In June 2019 the UN Human Rights Council adopted a resolution on child, early and forced marriage promoted by the Netherlands. It drew specific attention to women and girls who are victims of child, early and forced marriage. The Netherlands also mobilised countries from several regions to stand up for sexual and reproductive rights at the UN. Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation Development and foreign trade minister Sigrid Kaag read a statement on these rights on behalf of 58 countries at the High-Level Meeting on Universal Health Coverage, which was featured in the Dutch media.

25th anniversary of ICPD

2019 saw the celebration of the 25th anniversary of the Programme of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD). It was agreed in 1994 that everyone has the right to choose whether, when and how many children they want. At the meeting of the Commission on Population and Development (CPD) at the UN in New York the member states unanimously adopted a Political Declaration reaffirming their commitment to the Programme of Action, including freedom of choice. There, too, the Netherlands mobilised 50 countries to sign a joint declaration stressing the importance of this right.

Bridging the Gaps

As a result of stigmatisation and discrimination, sex workers, drug users and LGBTI people often have limited access to HIV-related and other essential healthcare. They are therefore more vulnerable to HIV infection and AIDS. Bridging the Gaps, one of the strategic partnerships the Netherlands supports, strengthens the rights of these ‘key populations’. The programme also brings care services to these groups, including HIV diagnosis and treatment.

Several target groups in 15 countries work together in the programme to combat discrimination and stigmatisation. The programme also links local organisations to global initiatives. In Kenya, for example, a group of male sex workers was supported in setting up a discussion group, which has now grown into a centre of expertise with 30 staff and 90 volunteers. They provide care for LGBTI people and help with a national lobbying effort. The organisation also helps strengthen the capacity of similar organisations in East Africa, including Uganda, Tanzania, Burundi and Rwanda.

Right Here Right Now strategic partnership

Right Here Right Now strategic partnership

Right Here Right Now (RHRN) promotes the sexual and reproductive health and rights of young people by enabling young people to lobby and conduct advocacy in the countries where it is active. This improves policy on young people’s access to sexual and reproductive health services, for example, and removes legal barriers preventing their access to contraception. RHRN also campaigns for comprehensive sexuality education in schools and elsewhere, changes to restrictive abortion laws and amendments to laws that discriminate against LGBTI people. It is also active at regional level in Africa, Asia and Latin America, and it lobbies at the UN for recognition of young people’s right to freedom of choice. Equipped with robust resolutions and international recommendations, it can call governments to account for their responsibility to fulfil their commitments in their own country.

Photo credits: Coritza Matute, Right Here Right Now Honduras

SheDecides 25x25 youth ambassadors

SheDecides 25x25 youth ambassadors on the importance of the ICPD in their countries

ICPD25 video

ICPD25 video on Dutch SRHR efforts

Statement by Sigrid Kaag at UN General Assembly

Statement by development minister Kaag on behalf of 58 countries at the UN General Assembly

Background information theme sexual and reproductive health and rights including HIV / AIDS (SRHR)

Glimpse into the future

The policy framework for strengthening civil society (2021-2025) was published in November 2019. It focuses on a strong, independent role for civil society organisations and on the social contract between the public, government and business. The revised SRHR partnerships grant scheme included in this policy framework is designed specifically to enhance access to SRHR by strengthening SRHR organisations in developing countries. These organisations will focus above all on young people and on people whose sexual and reproductive rights are not currently respected. There will also be more focus on giving a greater voice and stronger role to organisations in developing countries in designing and implementing programmes. Dutch and international organisations are expected to give organisations in developing countries more autonomy and to complement their efforts to renew and strengthen their networks. In this way the Netherlands seeks to contribute to a relationship of equality between organisations in different countries. Moreover, having people and organisations on the spot be the driving force increases the likelihood of successful, lasting change. These partnerships will be sealed by official contracts by the end of 2020, so that they can begin work on 1 January 2021.

Additional sources

You can find exactly how the budget was allocated in 2019 and which projects were funded on our budget website.

  1. Visit the website
    Programme budget Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation
  2. Select financial year 2019
Page on current SRHR policy

Page on sexual and productive health and rights in developing countries

Ambassador for Women’s Rights & Gender Equality

Follow the Ambassador for Women’s Rights & Gender Equality on Twitter

Youth Ambassador for SRHR

Follow the Youth Ambassador for SRHR on Twitter

Expenditure by channel


The budget in this figure is for the year 2019 and does not completely correspond with the results on this page, which have been collected between Oct 2018 and Oct 2019. More information on this can be found on the 'About the results report' page.