2012 Less Pretention More Ambition

Development Policy in Times of Globalization

In 2012 a report- Less Pretention More Ambitions - was published which discusses the Netherlands' reflection on its development aid. The study was conducted by the Dutch Scientific Council for Government Policy (WRR). To a a certain extent this book influences the next development policy and practice of the Netherlands.

Context report

Globalization and domestic policy change in other donor countries such as the United Kingdom, Sweden, Canada, and Norway, shape the change and spark the urgency for the Netherlands to revisit its development policy. 

The report tries to answer the domestic public opinion on development aid pictured in media. The book also tries to suggest the change of practices on development aid from the Netherlands. 

Lessons learnt regarding gender

  • Women are often seen as the drivers of change (Batliwala and Dhanraj 2007). There is a tendency, as Cornwall et al. (2007) also record, to make even more hyperbolic claims about untapped female potential: for example, women are said to be better at resolving conflicts, saving the environment and enforcing good governance. Policy always has different impacts on different social categories and in that respect it is always a good idea to ask what interventions mean for specific categories. At the same time it is extremely difficult to provide a good answer to such a question. (see gender chapter pg 76-79)


WRR's recommendations are not explicitly written in a dedicated chapter. The conclusion in this book, however, elaborates what policies and practices are feasible for the Netherlands to take concerning the domestic support and the changing international situation.

Further Reading

WRR Report no. 84: Less Pretension, More Ambition.