Ministerie van Buitenlandse Zaken

Aan de Voorzitter van de Tweede Kamer der Staten-Generaal Binnenhof 4 Den Haag DSI/MY Bezuidenhoutseweg 67 2594 AC Den Haag Nederland Datum 11 september 2001 Auteur Brechtje Paardekooper Kenmerk DSI/MY 393/01 Telefoon 070 3486032
Blad /1 Fax 070 3484883
Bijlage(n) 1 E-mail Betreft Verslag Joint Committee vergadering
Zeer geachte Voorzitter,

Dit voorjaar is de evaluatie van de Duurzame Ontwikkelingsverdragen afgerond. De resultaten en bevindingen zijn vastgelegd in het rapport dat U op 6 april reeds is toegegaan.

Mijn collega van VROM en ik hebben het rapport op 19 april jl. met de collegae uit de partnerlanden besproken. Mede op grond van dat overleg hebben wij de conclusies getrokken die vervat zijn in de Beleidsreactie Evaluatie Duurzame Ontwikkelingsverdragen, die u op 11 mei jl. is toegegaan, en die voor het Algemeen Overleg met de Kamer op 13 september as. geagendeerd is.

Aangezien de beleidsreactie in belangrijke mate is gebaseerd op het overleg met de collegae uit de partnerlanden over het evaluatierapport, lijkt het mij niet meer dan correct om u ook de onlangs vastgestelde notulen van deze vergadering te doen toekomen.

de Minister voor Ontwikkelingssamenwerking

Eveline Herfkens

Draft minutes of the Fourth Meeting of the Joint Committee of the Sustainable Development Agreements, held in New York, April 19 , 2001 at the Permanent Mission of The Netherlands to the United Nations.

1. Opening

The meeting started at 9.10 a.m.

2. Welcome by HE Ms. Eveline Herfkens, minister for Development Co-operation of The Netherlands

Minister Herfkens greeted all participants. She announced that minister Jan Pronk would join the meeting a little later and suggested that the more substantive items of the agenda would be dealt with only after his arrival. She also proposed to have a 'ministers-only' segment of the meeting. Following a suggestion by Benin, an item 'Other matters' was added to the agenda. This report follows the order of the agenda as proposed in advance.

3. Adoption of the Minutes of the Joint Committee Meeting of April 23, 1999

The minutes of the previous Meeting were adopted.

4.Discussion of the Final Report, Evaluation of the Sustainable Development Agreements, and

5. Exchange of views on the future of the SDAs
The ministers of the four countries presented their reactions to the final evaluation report.

The Netherlands reconfirmed the political commitment of the Netherlands Government towards the SDAs, in particular in the light of some unjustified remarks in the evaluation report. She emphasised that the evaluation clearly showed that the implementation of the SDAs had not been without problems, and that measures would need to be taken to rectify that situation. In this regard, the communication about these actions to the Dutch Parliament was considered to be essential.

She proposed that the discussion on this agenda item would have the character of an exchange of views rather than being aimed at taking decisions.

Bhutan also expressed support for the SDA-process. Every new initiative has its teething problems, but Bhutan was ready to continue to make efforts to improve the implementation of the agreement. Bhutan further mentioned that the SDAs are a good example, which inspires other donors.

Benin welcomed the opportunity for an open exchange of views. The minister remarked that it is not easy to change paradigms, but the SDA experience so far has already shown that important changes are possible. He specifically mentioned the aspect of enhanced participation as the most beneficial, because it involved the mobilisation of large parts of civil society.

The concept of reciprocity had not been easy to operationalise. Nevertheless, a very useful reciprocal project had been carried out only half a year ago, just after the period studied by the evaluators.

He further mentioned an unintended negative, even 'perverse' effect of the SDA: the fact that it had become the only channel for Dutch co-operation had led to a reduction of resources. The Netherlands concluded that in this case exclusivity had got in the way of bilateral ODA relations.

Costa Rica indicated general agreement with the evaluation report and the recommendations it contains. The Dutch co-operation must not be understood nor channeled through the SDA's as the sole track. The Government of Costa Rica can not accept, for the totality of the collaboration between the Governments of The Netherlands and Costa Rica, to be channeled through the Agreement

The Netherlands minister for Development Cooperation noted that the report points to a number of deficiencies, and that it is necessary to provide solutions for those problems.

She also wondered why other parties had not joined the SDAs.

In reaction to that query, Costa Rica said that the SDAs are seen as a Dutch experiment, and that the agreements should be brought to the global level. Apart from that, the Costa Rican minister said that the process had remained old-fashioned, even though the substance was innovative. As a reason for others not joining the agreements, the ratification process was mentioned.

Benin also stated that the SDA is seen as a Dutch mechanism and felt that the experiences of the SDA should be brought to the attention of the global audience. He also re-emphasised that paradigm-shifts take time. Problems are a natural component of innovation.

The Netherlands enquired about the relationship between the SDA-practice and the PRSP. Benin answered that in order to reduce poverty a number of policies are needed in the social and economic domains, while carefully managing natural resources. Actually, this is a description of sustainable development. Therefore the CBDD is involved in a co-operative effort with UNDP on the PRSP.

The Netherlands then remarked that the SDAs from the start had been meant to be catalysts. Had this actually been the case, or had they now become superfluous or even a hindrance to development?

. Costa Rica mentioned a few examples of the outreach of the SDA (such as a debt swap for nature and a gender related project), where the SDA practice actually had influenced the results in a decisive manner, in terms of stronger involvement of other donors.

. Benin thought that lack of progress so far was partly due to the way the SDAs are perceived (uniquely Dutch). As far as reciprocity was concerned, he felt that the receiving hand should also be giving. In the Beninese context, experience with real reciprocity was only a few months old.

. Bhutan regarded the SDA certainly not as superfluous or a hindrance. However the minister felt that it was still too early to answer the question on the catalytic role of the national mechanism, due to the fact that transfer of responsibilities to the Bhutanese national mechanism has yet to take place.

The Netherlands suggested that more discussion was needed concerning the 'Dutchness' of the SDAs, their catalytic function (as opposed to their replacement of ODA) and the matter of reciprocity.

At this point the meeting continued as a 'ministers only'-segment.

After this segment, the minister summarised the results for the benefit of those who had not been present:

. There is a unanimous support amongst the Netherlands ministers present to continue the SDA and defend them strongly in parliament, if necessary.

. Placing the SDA management at the government level in the Netherlands primarily under the minister for Development Cooperation had proven to lead to misunderstandings.

. The quadrilateral dialogue on strategies for sustainable development and in the form of pre-consultations should continue;

. Participation of all sectors of society, including private enterprise, should remain a main feature of the SDAs; the national mechanisms have an important role to play in the organization and promotion of the participatory processes.

. There should be a diversification of the relations with the various donors in order to shed the 'Dutchness' of the SDAs;

. Bilateral relations between partner-countries can follow different mechanisms, but SDA should be at the heart of policy formulation and have an advisory role in decisions with regard to sustainable development issues.

. As far as the relations in the context of the SDAs are concerned, they would have to be tailored according to the specific circumstances of each country. The SDAs were never intended to be straight-jackets, rather they should function as warm coats;

In response to a question about the relationship between the SDA policy dialogue and other forms of bilateral support The Netherlands (based on the prior ministerial consultations) responded that this relationship has to be elaborated for each country separately. There should not be one single channel for all contacts, nor a unified management of all support. The partners should aim at integrated policy-making, in order to avoid diverging policies and activities.

Co-operation in the area of National Strategies for Sustainable Development

The meeting decided that the National Mechanisms of the four countries should co-operate in the preparation of the various national strategies, insofar as practicable.

Joint presentation of the SDAs at the World Summit on Sustainable Development,

Johannesburg, 2002.

The meeting decided that the National Mechanisms of the four countries should co-operate in the preparation of a common presentation of the SDAs at the World Summit on Sustainable Development, to be held in Johannesburg in September 2002. Following a suggestion of Benin, the meeting further agreed to have a process of pre-consultation for the summit, with the aim of preparing common positions.

Renewal of the Policy Dialogue

The chair proposed to deal with the paper proposed by Ecooperation, with the exception of the final part (section E), since section E dealt with issues that would be influenced by the outcome of the debate on the evaluation. After an introduction by Ecooperation, the meeting agreed to the format proposed by the national mechanisms for the renewal of the Policy dialogue.

Other matters

The suggestion of Benin to prevent future meetings of the Joint Committee from coinciding with Ministerial meetings of the CSD was supported by all.

Benin reconfirmed the importance of pre-consultations, including the preparation of common documents and/or presentations, in the context of international conferences and agreements


The meeting was closed at 12.30

List of participants


H.E. Mr. Luc Gnancadja, Minister of Environment, Cotonou

Mr. Bani Gansé Biobou, Deputy Director of Cabinet, Ministry of Planning

Mr. Rogatien Biaou, Secretary General, Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Severin Asse, Permanent Secretary of National Commission of Sustainable Development

Mr. Gauthier Biaou, Executive Director, Beninese Center for Sustainable Development


H.E. Mr. Lyonpo Yeshey Zimba, Finance Minister, Ministry of Finance, Thimphu.

H.E. Mr. Lyonpo Om Pradhan, Ambassador to the UN, PMB, New York

Mr. Letho, Deputy Secretary, Ministry of Finance, Thimphu

Mr. Karma T. Richhen, Assistant Director, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Thimphu.

Mr. Nim Dorji, Director, Sustainable Development Secretariat, Thimphu.

Costa Rica

H.E. Ms Elizabeth Odio, Minister of Environment and Energy

H.E. Mr Danilo Chaverri, Minister of the Presidency

Ms Zaira Carvajal, Board of Directors, Fundecooperacion

Ms Guaria Vargas, Executive Director, Fundecooperacion

The Netherlands

H.E. Ms Eveline Herfkens, Minister for Development Co-operation

H.E. Mr. Jan Pronk, Minister of Housing, Spatial planning and the Environment

Mr. Jone Bos, Chairman Ecooperation

Mr. Bram van Ojik, ministry of Foreign Affairs

Ms Dieke Buijs, ministry of Foreign Affairs

Mr Vincent van den Bergen, ministry of Housing, Spatial Planning and the Environment

Mr Jan ten Hoopen, Director Ecooperation

Mr Herman Verheij, Ecooperation

Blad /1


Deel: ' Verslag Joint Committee vergadering '

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