The Netherlands was among the original signatories of the United Nations Charter in 1945. As a UN member, the Netherlands aims to help promoting the international legal order, improving the observance of human rights, protecting the environment, and building sustainable development.

Dutch missions to the UN

The Netherlands maintains daily contact with the UN via its permanent missions in New York (at UN headquarters), Geneva (for the UN office, UNHCR and the Conference on Disarmament), Nairobi (for HABITAT and UNEP), Paris (for UNESCO), Rome (for FAO, WFP, and the International Fund for Agricultural Development), and Vienna (for the UN office (UNOV), the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), and the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO)).

The permanent missions disseminate the Dutch perspective to the world in those areas covered by the organizations concerned. Diplomats prepare for and attend meetings; they draw up draft resolutions and study those of other countries; bilateral meetings, especially from fellow EU member states; and they send reports to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in The Hague.

Just as important as attending meetings is the diplomatic business done informally, behind the scenes. Often, contentious proposals are amended before they are officially presented to the General Assembly. The Netherlands prepares many joint UN positions with its fellow EU member states, which try to coordinate their proposals and voting behaviour as much as possible. The country holding the EU Presidency, which changes hands every six months, regularly speaks on behalf of the EU in UN bodies, including the General Assembly.