Knowledge Policy in The Netherlands


On 14 November 2011, the Minister for European Affairs and International Cooperation, Mr. Ben Knapen, has sent “The Knowledge Letter” (Kennisbrief) to the Dutch Parliament. In this letter he formulates his plans to reform the knowledge policy of the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

In this letter the government wants to spend its resources for research more strategically: less fragmented and more aimed at priorities. This should enhance the relevancy, and the use, of the available knowledge and research capacity in the Netherlands for Development Cooperation. Cooperating with and strengthening of institutions in developing countries are seen by the Minister as important preliminary conditions.

The new knowledge policy will concentrate on four knowledge platforms. Each has one of the four themes announced earlier as new Dutch priorities for international cooperation: security and the law, water, food security, and sexual and reproductive health and rights. Possibly a fifth platform will be added with an overarching theme.
The Broker (an independent magazine on globalization and development) has organized an open debate on the role of knowledge and research in dealing with global issues. The central issue is: how can the knowledge platforms as proposed by the Minister best be formed?


Michiel Keyzer was invited to participate in this debate. His main argument is that Development Cooperation should be more than a provider of subsidies. It should acquire its own in-house expertise and not solely become dependent on external knowledge platforms. In this way, it can develop into a reliable and knowledgeable partner for developing countries and businesses willing to invest in food security. Read Professor Keyzer’s article here (in Dutch).


The Broker's homepage can be found here or go to the debate pages of The Broker here.