Queen Mathilde and Deputy Prime Minister De Croo visit Ghana in the framework of the Sustainable Development Goals

Queen Mathilde and Deputy Prime Minister for Development Cooperation Alexander De Croo started today a three-day working visit to Ghana. The focus of the visit lies entirely on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The SDGs are the seventeen goals that must be reached in order to eradicate extreme poverty and to protect our planet.

This visit to Ghana doesn’t come by chance. Queen Mathilde and Ghana’s President are indeed both part of the group of SDG advocates, a group of seventeen champions who promote the SDGs worldwide.

The 193 members of the UN reached in 2015 an agreement over seventeen SDGs to replace the Millennium Development Goals (2000-2015). Countries agreed then, amongst other, to eradicate poverty and hunger by 2030, to realize gender equality and to provide qualitative education to everyone. The SDGs, which are part of the Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development, include also environmental aspects.

Gender equality

Queen Mathilde and minister De Croo get acquainted during their visit with Ghana’s approach to implement SDGs.  Besides education and healthcare, particular attention goes to gender equality and the empowerment of women.  Ghana devotes a lot of attention to the gender issue. Ghana’s president chairs the African Union’s Committee for Gender and Development  and Ghana also recently launched an action plan to stop child marriage. More than 38 percent of Ghana’s girls between the age of 15 and 19 has never faced sexual violence, but 21 percent of girls are married before their 18th birthday.

Gender equality is also an important point of attention in the Belgian cooperation policy. Our country is one of the most important frontrunner of She Decides, the international movement which fights for sexual and reproductive health and the rights of girls and women. In march 2017, Belgium organized in Brussel the international conference She Decides which was attended by more than 50 countries and organisations who raised 181 million euros for this cause.

Belgian focus on SDGs

Reaching SDGs is an important policy priority of the different Belgian governing levels. Last year, Minister De Croo presented at the United Nations in New York the first National Voluntary Review on the implementation of the SDGs in Belgium. The report Pathway to Sustainable Development explains how Belgium implements SDGs. The Sustainable Development Solutions Network, led by development economist Prof. Jeffrey Sachs ranked our country last year on the 12th position of the SDG Index.

Belgium also puts the SDGs at the heart of  international development and choses fully for a new approach. “With more attention to a strong private sector, we place ourselves entirely on the line of the SDGs. Our focus on human rights and the important role of digitalisation today as a lever for development reflects our attention for the SDGs” explained Alexander De Croo