Highlights of Broker Day 2019

News11 Nov 2019Frank van Kesteren

The question asked at Broker Day 2019 was not ‘if’ the Netherlands can have a major impact on inclusive and sustainable development, but ‘how’. While some argued for a focus on areas in which the Netherlands is currently working and has expertise, such as climate-smart agriculture or water conflict management, others argued that we should move into new directions  such as supporting illicit drug economies or reversing the negative impact of pension funds on climate change. 

This year, the focus of Broker Day was on the Italian-Japanese animation figure Calimero. In her opening address, Saskia Hollander (Director of the Broker) explained why we should let go of the Dutch ‘Calimero complex’ – the tendency to believe that we are limited in our international influence because we are a small country. In line with this, the day was not centred around a particular theme, but around the Netherlands as an actor. In various thematic breakout sessions, the potential for the Netherlands to do better was explored by linking

  • Different themes (e.g. by looking at sustainable development policies through an inequality lens)
  • Different geographical areas (e.g. by including experiences from Southern countries in the Dutch approach to water management)
  • Different actors (e.g. by focusing on why and how the private sector can be considered an unusual suspect in development policies)

Focusing on the improvements made in addressing climate change at the international level, keynote speaker Marcel Beukeboom (Climate Envoy for the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate) provided inspiration on how the Netherlands can take a leading role in cooperation in these policy arenas, as well as contribute through a domestic focus. In her closing speech, Chair of the Broker’s Board Nicky Pouw looked specifically at the importance of ‘bridging’, which is fundamental to all of the Broker’s work, and the requirement for such bridges to be sustainable. We thank all participants for their contribution to building bridges with us and look forward to collaborating with you on improved inclusive and sustainable development in the future.

Here you can find the report of the day: Broker Day: the outcomes. This document contains the main outcomes of the seven sessions.


René Blits
René Blits
René Blits
René Blits