Statement by Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Development Cooperation Alexander De Croo at the ‘High Level Thematic Debate on achieving the Sustainable Development Goals’

Action at all levels

Statement by

Alexander De Croo, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Development Cooperation,
Digital Agenda, Telecommunications and Postal Services (Belgium)

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Ladies and Gentlemen,


Forget business as usual.
The Addis Ababa Action Agenda, the Sustainable Development Goals and the landmark Paris Agreement, we will sign tomorrow, bring profound change.
Change to how governments govern and business operates.
To how we live, transport ourselves, and how we consume.
Both in the South and in the North.
Change in all countries, on all levels.
Since the first time in multilateral history, we have one global and universal agenda to eradicate poverty and to ensure sustainable growth.
I can tell you: Belgium is ready for this change.

Let me sum up three important initiatives we are taking to build platform around the SDGs:
First, I cannot start without mentioning the outstanding leadership of Queen Mathilde of Belgium. As a member of the SDG Advocacy Group, recently
appointed by Secretary-General Ban, she will support the Secretary-General in his efforts to generate momentum to achieve the SDGs by 2030.
Having personally witnessed Queen Mathilde’s commitment to leave no one behind, I can assure you she will prove strong leadership on the SDGs, both in Belgium and abroad.

Second, as governments we hold a special responsibility. Without solid political commitment, the SDGs will remain words on paper.
In Belgium, we are currently building an SDG partnership involving all levels of government, from the federal level over regional governments to local authorities.We have to infuse the SDG spirit  in all of our policies.
Only this week, we agreed on a time schedule to draft a national strategy for implementing and integrating the SDGs in all our policies. I expect the SDG framework for this national strategy to be established in September.
And it is my sincere hope – and it should be our ambition – to deliver as Belgium our first national SDG evaluation report to the High Level Political Forum in the course of next year.

And third, to conclude, I want to highlight the importance we attach to engaging new partners in this bold and ambitious development agenda.
No one can do this alone. Not one country, not one organisation.
To succeed we need many good hands and we have to unlock the potential of all stakeholders. I would like to particularly mention the important role the private sector has to take on.
Belgium will continue to support the local private sector in our partner countries through the Belgian Investment Company for Developing Countries, which we are opening up for private investors. But the involvement of the private sector must go beyond financing.
Business is the growth engine of the world.
If we want this growth to foster human progress, we have to strategically engage with the private sector. The SDGs offer us the unique opportunity to do so.That is why we are working on an SDG charter for Belgian companies. A charter with concrete commitments on the integration of the SDGs in the core of their activities.

Ladies and gentlemen,

With the SDGs, the Addis Ababa Action Agenda and the Paris Agreement, we have a powerful triptych to bring change to the lives of millions, to hand over a world that is more peaceful, more prosperous and more stable.

Let’s make this change real.

Belgium looks forward to join this global effort.

Thank you.