In 1994, the Dutch government signed bilateral Sustainable Development Agreements (SDA) with the governments of Bhutan, Benin and Costa Rica. These agreements, based on reciprocity, equality and participation, have been designed with the aim of developing new forms of North-South co-operation. One of the projects being implemented under the terms of the agreements is a workshop on Dutch climate policy, to be organised by the four SDA partners. The aim of the workshop is to transfer Dutch policy background and at the same time spur critical debate.
The present document is to serve as the basic discussion paper at the workshop. Although the Dutch government has issued a number of documents setting out the terms of the Netherlands’ climate policy – the Netherlands Climate Policy Implementation Plan (1999) and the Second Netherlands’ National Communication on Climate Change Policies (Update 1998), for example – a new paper has been written for the workshop. The aim of this paper is to describe the main thrust and background of Dutch climate policy and its implicit basic choices. It is these choices that ultimately determine the terms of such a policy and provide the most relevant starting point for a critical dialogue.