In large parts of the world, poverty is decreasing, more children are going to school and hygiene and health standards are improving. At the same time, justice and democracy are under pressure in many countries. The gap between the rich and poor is widening and critical voices are being silenced. For example, countries increasingly apply strict laws that make it difficult for journalists and human rights defenders to criticise the government or companies.
The Netherlands invests in civil society organisations to counter this trend and to stand up for the rights and interests of marginalized and discriminated groups. We support civil society organisations, such as women's, human rights, trade union and environmental organisations, in strengthening people’s voices. They inform and mobilise people and serve as bridge builders between minorities, companies and authorities. We also support these organisations in their role as watchdogs, holding governments, businesses and communities accountable to promote values, implement laws and respect rights that foster an inclusive and sustainable society.
Civil society organisations are important partners to the Netherlands in our policy. They play a crucial role in development processes. Under this theme, the results achieved under the policy framework Dialogue and Dissent are central. Dialogue and Dissent explicitly aims to strengthen civil society and the political role of civil society organisations in low- and lower middle-income countries.