Senate urges government to reject renunciation of UN convention

12 November 2013

Senate urges government to reject renunciation of UN convention

'The Netherlands should not be among the first to renounce a UN convention, but rather among the last to do so.’ With this conclusion SP Senator Tuur Elzinga ended his statement calling on Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation Lilianne Ploumen to reject the renunciation of the UN Convention on industrial development. Having listened to the Senate’s views, the minister did just that. The Netherlands will thus remain a member of the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO).

Tuur ElzingaElzinga called the plan to renounce the convention ‘a remnant of the first Rutte government, which was “tolerated” by the (hard right) PVV.' According to the SP Senator, there was no reason to adhere to it. He argued that not only the international community as such benefited from this form of cooperation under UN auspices, but also the Netherlands itself. ‘Firstly, it contributes to sustainable economic development and secondly, Dutch firms profit from it. And if this form of cooperation in the view of the government does not as things stand have sufficient impact, then we need to increase UNIDO’s clout. Pulling out won’t in any case improve anything.’

Almost all of the other political groups saw things in more or less the same way, persuading Ploumen to withdraw the controversial proposal, the initial aim of which appeared to be to save a paltry €2 million. In the Senate majority’s judgement, this certainly did not outweigh the positive side of international cooperation within the UN with 170 other countries in the area of industrial development. Although Parliament’s lower house had voted in favour of the renunciation, the Senate came to the opposite conclusion. As the last word lies with the Senate, the Minister had no choice but to withdraw her proposal.

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