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Meryame Kitir, Minister of Development Cooperation and Major Cities Policy, will visit Burkina Faso from 24 to 26 October and Senegal from 27 to 30 October. The working visit will mainly focus on international climate action. Minister Kitir will meet with key figures from both countries - national authorities, NGOs and humanitarian organisations – that Kitir wants to support through constructive partnerships.
Sustainable agriculture for food security and climate adaptation
In Burkina Faso, the minister will visit a number of projects on agriculture and food security. Belgium is already supporting projects there, for example to make impoverished soil fertile again, hence offering food security and sustainability to local communities.
Minister Kitir will talk to young farmers, local leaders and influencers about best practices and challenges generated by climate change and possible solutions for local development and sustainability, such as agro-ecology and bio-pesticides. She will also meet with international partners such as EU representatives and UN agencies. Here, the external aspects of the European Green Deal will be discussed, and the upcoming Belgian climate action for the region will be presented.
"In the Sahel, people are very badly affected by climate change. It causes serious food insecurity and conflict. Through our actions, we want to prevent the desert from expanding, plant trees, and provide water for agriculture," says Minister Kitir. "In this way, we achieve a double win : people in the Sahel can defend themselves better against climate change and we really do combat climate change, something that is important for everyone - including us."
As part of Belgium's climate programme for the region, Minister Kitir will also in Senegal visit projects focusing on green sustainability, such as reforestation, environmental management and waste processing, as well as local ecosystems such as mangroves and the Sina Saloum biosphere reserve.
"At the climate march a few weeks ago, there was yet another call to do more. The time of sitting idle is over. We must take action now if we are to turn the tide," says Minister Kitir. "I choose to invest in climate. The resources for international climate action are now 70% higher than they were last legislature. This is necessary because climate change does not stop at the border. There is only one way to tackle the climate crisis. And that is together. And that is now.
The working visit will also include two projects in the health sector that Belgium is supporting as part of the COVID-19 vaccination campaign. Special attention will be paid to efforts concerning local and sustainable production of vaccines. Senegal has made it a priority to develop a local pharmaceutical sector. Finally, the Minister will also highlight the importance of employment and social protection for young people in Senegal. In that regard, she will meet with the International Labour Organisation.
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