Belgian development cooperation more dynamic than ever
An international campaign for women's and girls' rights, a partnership with the private sector on sustainable chocolate, hackathons in the South and innovation in humanitarian aid. These are a few highlights of the 2018 annual report of the Belgian Development Cooperation published today. Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance and Development Cooperation Alexander De Croo looks back with satisfaction. "Belgian development policy is more dynamic than ever, focusing on human rights, innovation and cooperation with other partners such as the private sector. In addition, the report describes the distribution of budgetary resources and numerous actions to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.
Women's rights are at the very heart of the Belgian development policy. Better educated women who earn their own income and healthier girls who decide about their own bodies are the perfect levers for development. Since Belgium put its weight behind the She Decides movement in 2017, women's rights have been a common thread throughout our development policy.
In 2018, Belgium - together with the international NGO Global Citizen, the government of Luxemburg, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Procter & Gamble- launched #SheIsEqual. This international campaign focuses on gender equality, women empowerment and women’s health. In total, the #SheIsEqual campaign raised more than 780.4 million euros.
United we are stronger. That's why Minister De Croo introduced Beyond Chocolate: a partnership for sustainable Belgian chocolate. Through Beyond Chocolate, governmental and non-governmental organisations, major retailers, trade unions, impact investors and universities commit themselves to working together on tackling child labour, combating deforestation and ensuring a livable income for local cocoa producers. This will make Belgian chocolate even better and more sustainable.
In Senegal, Niger, Palestine, Morocco and Uganda, creative teams searched for innovative solutions to development problems. During these 'Hack the Goals' hackathons, numerous digital answers were given to local issues, the Belgian Development Cooperation encounters in the different countries. A local jury in each country selected the best or most promising Idea. Minister De Croo: "The future is digital. The digital revolution offers so many new opportunities to tackle development challenges in a different and better way.”
In order to save more lives, humanitarian aid must become more innovative. Belgium is a modern partner with a great ability to adapt to changes and the evolution of the humanitarian world. As a humanitarian donor, our country wishes to foster a culture of innovation within humanitarian organisations. In 2018, our country allocated 20 million euros to innovative projects of NGO’s and international organisations. For the third year in a row, Belgian humanitarian aid amounted to a record budget of 170 million euros.