I sometimes feel that international development advocates are too focused on academia, philanthropies and multilateral organisations. 

I think advocates should be more aware of how vulnerable aid budgets are to cuts. For governments looking to reduce budgets, cuts to foreign aid are often the politically easiest way to achieve this.

This vulnerability means that the expected value of engaging with politics to build cross-party coalitions in favour of development has a high expected-value. Even if advocates fail to increase aid budgets, they could be successful in preventing cuts.

I think there is a need for more individuals, organisations and philanthropic funders to work in politics and build cross-party coalitions in favour of development.




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Just doing some napkin math, the ruling coalition lead by about 400,000 votes. So that’s approximately 6,000 EUR lost per vote. It’s obviously not all going to be spent cost-effectively & doesn’t consider counterfactuals, but that’s a good marker for how much someone should be willing to spend to swing those votes.

This is the year on year change from 2025 too 2029: -300 -500 -2.400 -2.400 -2.400

Given the instability of any coalition recently, but especially one with the far right, there's a chance this government won't make it far enough to implement the big cuts.

In 2024, the Netherlands is expected to spend 3.6 billion on foreign aid. So it's a 67% cut. This is supposedly the biggest cut in our country's history.

Interestingly, CEAP did some excellent work in this vein in NL recently - but clearly it wasn’t enough.

Mathias can share more (assuming no confidentiality concerns) but talking to both him and others in the aid space - it's just brutally difficult, and politicians aren't interested

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