Naam The Education Commission (Executive Director LS Steer)
Plaats Washington, DC
Datum 15 april 2022


Nederland kent een lange traditie van publieke private samenwerking. Nu de mondiale uitdagingen steeds groter worden, is het van belang deze publiek-private samenwerkingen te verdiepen en te versnellen. De duurzame ontwikkelingsdoelen zijn in 2015 vastgesteld als actieplan voor overheden, bedrijven, kennisinstellingen en burgers om duurzame ontwikkeling te verwezenlijken wereldwijd.

2. Hoe kunnen overheid, bedrijfsleven en kennisinstellingen beter samenwerken om de duurzame ontwikkelingsdoelen te halen?

The Netherlands has a long tradition of public-private partnership. As the global challenges grow ever bigger, it is important to deepen and accelerate these partnerships. The Sustainable Development Goals were presented in 2015 as a plan of action for governments, companies, knowledge institutions and private individuals to achieve sustainable development worldwide.

2. How can government, the private sector and knowledge institutions work together better to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals?
Much innovation within development is about bringing together public and private actors in new ways to support common development goals. More recently there has been a growing interest in how public actors e.g., bilateral and multilateral donors can work with philanthropists, and achieve far more together for the SDGs than each can deliver working alone.

The International Financing Facility for Education (IFFEd) is a pioneering innovation through which governments, as sovereign donors, and private-philanthropic actors can work with multilateral development banks (MDBs) to help achieve SDG 4. IFFEd is a public-private partnership designed to transform education and fill the financing gap in lower-middle-income countries. The Government of the Netherlands helped design IFFEd, and with its establishment later this year the Netherlands will be recognized as a pioneering donor in bringing together public and private actors in a new way. IFFEd will create a step-change in development finance for education and human capital building more generally, and be a model for other sectors to follow.

IFFEd will bring together and expand the education ecosystem by engaging with government, non-government, and private sector players, enabling and leveraging the distinct strengths of each stakeholder. By working with public and private donors who contribute equity guarantees and grants which are used to leverage multiples of additional affordable financing through the MDBs, IFFEd supercharges education financing for the “missing middle.” Around 50 lower-middle-income countries stand to benefit from IFFEd, including some of the most populous countries with large poor and marginalized populations including India, Bangladesh, Kenya, Nigeria, Pakistan, and Tanzania.

IFFEd will build on innovation and expertise in the private sector and knowledge institutions and work together with donors and public institutions to reimagine and reset education so millions of the hardest-to-reach children and youth are equipped with the skills needed to thrive in a rapidly changing world. For example, IFFEd will collaborate with EdTech and other innovators to curate new ideas in a post-COVID-19 world, working with public and private partners to design, test, and evaluate fresh approaches in different contexts.


Nederland heeft sinds 2016 een actieplan beleidscoherentie voor ontwikkeling. Beleidscoherentie voor ontwikkeling heeft als doel om in niet-hulp (OS) beleid schade voor ontwikkelingslanden te verminderen en synergiën en samenwerking te versterken. Het Nederlandse actieplan is in 2018 herzien en geeft een overzicht van vijf Nederlandse beleidsthema’s die een invloed hebben op de ontwikkelingskansen in ontwikkelingslanden. Deze thema’s zijn: (1) het tegengaan van belastingontwijking/ontduiking, (2) ontwikkelingsvriendelijke handelsakkoorden, (3) een ontwikkelingsvriendelijk investeringsregime, (4) verduurzaming van productie en handel en (5) het tegengaan van klimaatverandering.

3. Hoe kan de bovengenoemde Nederlandse inzet op beleidscoherentie voor ontwikkeling verder versterkt of verbeterd worden?

The Netherlands has had an action plan on policy coherence for development since 2016. The aim of policy coherence is to reduce the negative effects on developing countries caused by policies in areas other than development, and to strengthen synergies and cooperation. The action plan, which was revised in 2018, identifies five Dutch policy themes that can enhance developing countries’ opportunities for development: (1) combating tax avoidance/evasion, (2) development-friendly trade agreements, (3) a development-friendly investment regime, (4) more sustainable production and trade, and (5) combating climate change.

3. How can the Netherlands’ efforts to achieve policy coherence for development be further strengthened or enhanced?

At the core of the development opportunities and themes identified above lies a country’s human capital. In order to effectively address any development issue and develop economically successful and sustainable societies, we must prioritize investing in education and building a breadth of skills in the next generation. Unfortunately, this has not been a priority for countries and many donors. By recognizing this critical link, the Netherlands could stand out as a global leader. Investing in human capital is considered to have the highest economic and wider returns for development. The continued deepening of the education crisis and cutbacks in domestic budgets as well as foreign aid for education means we are heading towards a generational catastrophe for today’s children and youth who will not be able to become tomorrow’s green energy engineers, climate activists, and epidemiologists!

Investment in an educated workforce is critical for the growth models of emerging economies. In the past, growth models used to rely on export-led growth based on relatively unskilled labor forces (this was relevant to Japan, Korea, and China’s transition) but this approach is much less relevant for Africa and the Indian sub-continent today where manufacturing is a lower share of the economy. For developing countries to develop and deliver increased opportunities in production and trade, more and better investment in education and the skills of the workforce is absolutely essential.

A recent report by the ILO warns that skills mismatches are a growing challenge for today’s labour markets and economic growth with consequences for workers, businesses, and the future of work. Skilling, reskilling, and upskilling throughout all stages of life is the precondition and an accelerator for people to access decent work opportunities and enable smooth transitions into labour markets and within labour markets.

We also know that because of the urgent transformation needed in education (e.g. with respect to digitalization of learning approaches), there is now an even more urgent need for financing to support capital expenditures in new infrastructure and human capacity.


Development cooperation

Nederlandse inzet op Ontwikkelingssamenwerking

Nederland is op verschillende thema’s actief op gebied van ontwikkelingssamenwerking. Zo investeren we in het realiseren van de Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s) en zetten we extra in op opvang in de regio, toegang tot vaccins, klimaatadaptatie en -mitigatie. Nederland gaat door met wat goed gaat en focust op waar Nederland goed in is, zoals verbinding tussen diplomatie en ontwikkelingssamenwerking. Meer informatie over het ontwikkelingssamenwerkingsbeleid van Nederland is te vinden op

7. Waar is Nederland op het gebied van ontwikkelingssamenwerking volgens u goed in? Op welke thema’s zou Nederland een aanjagende rol kunnen vervullen?

Dutch development cooperation activities

The Netherlands is actively pursuing a number of policy themes in the area of development cooperation. For example, we're investing in efforts to advance the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), reception in the region, access to vaccines, and climate adaptation and mitigation. The Netherlands will continue its efforts in areas where progress is being made and will focus on its strengths, such as linking diplomacy and development. For more information about Dutch development policy, go to

7. In your opinion, what are the Netherlands’ strengths when it comes to development cooperation? In which policy themes could the Netherlands play a leading role?
The Netherlands’ strengths include its commitments to trade and aid, along with its support to multilateral development institutions such as the UN and the MDBs. It has understood that rather than operating bilaterally in many countries, it can work more effectively through existing organizations and systems such as the UN, the MDBs as well as a number of CSOs.

The Netherlands is recognized as a country that has been able to adapt to changes in its own natural environment and society. It is recognized for its excellent water engineers and its know-how in adapting to the effects of climate change. But the Netherlands’ strength in development cooperation comes from an understanding that addressing these challenges has to be connected to building human capacity and the rights of women and girls, both critical to a nation’s ability to adapt. Its ambition to strengthen its ODA levels is to be applauded when so many bilateral donors are reducing their ODA. To do so, it will be important for the Netherlands to consider how it can make the most efficient use of its commitments to maximize its impact on development goals.

Education was reintroduced into Dutch Development Policy in 2018, and rightly so. Not only is education a critical lynchpin for the global recovery from COVID-19, but it is also the bedrock for all SDGs. Education is the foundation for economic growth and social development. It builds a more skilled and productive workforce; it creates an informed public to tackle climate change and boost resilience; advances gender equality; improves access to food and health services; and promotes more just societies.

We commend the Netherlands for working increasingly through multi-donor funds like GPE and ECW, and its commitment as a founding donor to IFFEd, a bold new financing mechanism that can transform the way global education is financed and maximize the power and impact of the Netherlands’ investments.

This innovative mechanism leverages sovereign guarantees to radically multiply scarce donor financing: through IFFEd, a paid-in contribution of only $37.5m in cash from the Dutch Government (to underwrite $250m in guarantees) can be leveraged into $1 billion in projects at country level using the multilateral development banks.

By fulfilling its commitment to IFFEd, the Netherlands will demonstrate its bold leadership in championing smart investments in education and harnessing innovative finance for development.


Innoveren op OS

Nederlandse internationale samenwerking is flexibel en kennisintensief, we zijn vernieuwend. Zo ontwikkelt Nederland nieuwe manieren van werken en partnerschappen die daarna door bijv. de Europese Commissie en Wereldbank worden opgepakt of opgeschaald. De Nederlandse internationale samenwerking fungeert dus veelal als een creatieve en kennisintensieve incubator (een broedplaats voor nieuwe ideeën. Nederland is een relatief kleine donor, maar als lidstaat van de EU en via bilaterale hulp kan Nederland de zichtbaarheid van EU-hulp vergroten en additionele relevante kapitaalstromen generen.

8. Op welke manier en op welk vlak kan de Nederlandse ontwikkelingssamenwerking nog meer innoveren?

Innovative development cooperation

Dutch international cooperation is flexible and knowledge-intensive. We are also innovative, developing new ways of working and new types of partnership that are subsequently adopted or scaled up by others, like the European Commission and the World Bank. In this respect, Dutch international cooperation is like a creative and knowledge-intensive incubator. We are a relatively small donor, but as an EU member state and through bilateral aid we can make EU aid more visible and generate additional, relevant capital flows.

8. In what other ways and areas could Dutch development cooperation innovate more?

The Dutch model of innovative development cooperation is an ideal fit for IFFEd. IFFEd capitalizes on donor guarantees to MDBs and thus provides a leverage of paid-in capital 5 times greater than that which the World Bank is currently able to secure. The Netherlands has been a leader in the development of this instrument and could be recognized

For $140m in grant resource, IFFEd can deliver $1bn of concessional finance for education: the World Bank would require more than double the amount of grant resource for the same financing. In these resource-constrained times, IFFEd offers an unrivalled multiple of donor resource for capital flows to finance the SDGs.

IFFEd is explicitly designed using a growth model that works with a small number of innovative and pioneering sovereign donors and starts with one to two MDBs as proof of concept. This new partnership model could then be adopted and scaled up by the World Bank or the European Commission through the European Investment Bank and EBRD.


Een donor met durf

De Nederlandse internationale inzet is gedurfd, omdat we financiële investeringen koppelen aan onze diplomatieke inzet en expertise. We continueren thema’s waar we traditionele meerwaarde hebben: seksuele en reproductieve rechten en gezondheid (SRGR), water, voedselzekerheid en veiligheid & rechtsorde. Daarbij kunnen we nog meer gebruik maken van het diplomatieke gewicht van o.a. de EU. We investeren in systeemverandering om te zorgen dat we de SDG’s in 2030 realiseren. Met systeemverandering bedoelen we dat we de systemen die armoede en ongelijkheid in stand houden aanpakken.

9. Op welke manier/welk vlak kan Nederland als donor nog meer durf te tonen?

A bold donor

Dutch international efforts can be characterised as bold, because we link financial investment to diplomatic efforts and expertise. We will continue our work on themes where we have always added value: sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR), water, food security, and security and the rule of law. We will also make better use of the diplomatic weight of the EU. To ensure we achieve the SDGs by 2030, we will invest in systemic change, i.e. tackling the structures that maintain poverty and inequality.

9. In what ways or areas could the Netherlands, as a donor, be even bolder?
One of the key structures that maintains poverty and inequality is a lack of education and its unequal provision by income and gender within developing countries. We will never achieve the SDGs without delivering inclusive and equitable quality education that underpins the entire SDG agenda.

Increasingly the links between health and education are better acknowledged, and in the current global food crisis there are increasing calls to explicitly link child nutrition with education. Hungry children cannot learn. The Netherlands could support transformative programs such as those called for by the School Meals Coalition which aim to provide every child with the opportunity to receive a healthy nutritious meal in school by 2030.

Relatively little attention has been paid to how education can improve climate literacy, encourage behavioral change, and be a critical part of other systemic climate-related action. Education must become a more central theme in the climate dialogues and the education sector needs to ratchet up its own ambitions to be part of the solution. By mobilizing high-level political support and investments that recognize the critical links between education and climate action, the Netherlands could distinguish itself as a bold leader on climate and education help to make education part of every country’s climate strategy.

A bold donor is one that challenges the existing architecture, unlocks systemic change, and delivers vastly improved outcomes. IFFEd requires a coalition of bold donors to transform financing for education, and MDB financing more generally. In response to a direct call by the UN Secretary-General to operationalize IFFEd in his Our Common Agenda report, IFFEd will be launched at the UN Transforming Education Summit in September this year. Again, by fulfilling its commitment to IFFEd, the Netherlands would demonstrate its visionary leadership by championing smart investments in education and harnessing innovative finance for impact across the entire SDG agenda.


Afrondende algemene vraag

10. Heeft u nog andere punten van aandacht die u vindt dat meegenomen dienen te worden in de nieuwe beleidsnota?

General closing question

10. Are there any other points that you believe should be included in the new policy document?

Aid to education has been falling (from 8.8% to 5% between 2019 and 2020) and budgets are being cut. It is clear all actors need to do more and we need to collaborate across sectors and agencies — and ensure support is coherently targeted to realize much needed gains for those furthest behind.

By reaffirming its pledge to IFFEd, the Netherlands will immediately maximize the reach and impact of its education spending, but more importantly play a pioneering role in testing and scaling an entirely new way of financing for development – one which brings together public, private, and philanthropic financing, and through which more impact can be made with fewer donor dollars. It is a mechanism which can be scaled (and is already being considered) for other sectors like climate change.