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Belgium has signed the Joint Declaration on Living Wage and Living Income, joining Germany, the Netherlands and Luxembourg. Indeed, it is only when workers and smallholder farmers in our global supply chains earn a living wage or living income that we can effectively address the major challenges of poverty, hunger, deforestation, climate change and child labour.
Our responsibility as a consuming country is to ensure that everyone in the supply chain of a product (e.g., a chocolate bar) is entitled to fair and adequate remuneration for a decent standard of living - a right included in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It is precisely to this objective that a living wage and a living income contribute. The concept of "living income" implies that a family has sufficient resources to cover the costs of food, housing, health care, education, transport, and other essential aspects, but also sufficient reserves. It is not just about making ends meet for beneficiaries.
Hence, the Netherlands and Germany signed in January 2021 a Joint Declaration on Living Wage and Living Income. The declaration proposes a series of actions, among which the following can be highlighted: establish a dialogue between consumer and producer countries on an adequate minimum income, support the International Labour Organization (ILO) in the development of cost-of-living indicators, and encourage social dialogue for the empowerment of workers in producer countries. The Joint Declaration also suggests working together to make this issue one of the priorities of the European legislator. At a high-level meeting in Berlin on 21 June 2022, Belgium announced its willingness to accede to this Declaration as a third signatory. In September 2022, Luxembourg expressed its readiness to sign the Declaration.
Today, the Minister for Development Cooperation, Caroline Gennez, is pleased to announce that Belgium has joined the Netherlands, Germany, and Luxembourg in signing the Joint Declaration on Living Wage and Living Income:
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