Consolidation of society and conflict prevention

Refugees in Tanzania (photo: Unicef)

One claim frequently made in a development cooperation context is that true ‘development’ can hardly take place unless there is a basis for political stability or if smouldering conflicts in certain regions are not immediately nipped in the bud. In other words, lasting peace remains a prerequisite for development.

Belgian Development Cooperation subscribes to this way of reasoning and therefore channels its support into both the consolidation of fragile societies and conflict prevention. Support offered to women’s groups, farmers’ associations and trade unions in the South is intended to make it easier for the people there to build a strong civil society.

The Peacebuilding Service

The Peacebuilding Service at the FPS Foreign Affairs was specially set up to deal with issues like preventive diplomacy, society building and conflict prevention as systematically as possible. Primarily by offering financial assistance, the Peacebuilding Service supports projects which, among other things, are likely to bolster the rule of law, repair damage, help to disarm and demobilise active rebel groups or foster respect for human rights.

Where conflict prevention focuses on preventing and resolving serious conflicts in the short term, peacebuilding tends to target long-term projects designed to promote the activities of political, socioeconomic and cultural institutions, this being essential for maintaining durable peace and stability.

Fragility situations

In the past, a difficult environment was always a stumbling block to research into sustainable results. As a result, particular attention has been paid to work in challenging conditions over the last few years. On the basis of international recommendations, Belgium has drafted a strategy paper which should be used as a basis for implementing the ten major principles it puts forward. These principles fall within the scope of the increased attention paid to the importance of good management as a condition for development, the setting up of solid, independent judicial systems and the fight against corruption. Tools and strategy papers are developed for each of these aspects and the operational instruments dedicated to them, with a view to the achievement of the new legal objectives. To this end, all the stakeholders have a role to play, from the State (in the partner countries) to the private sector, via the local and international stakeholders in civil society. Belgium also supports these principles at international level.


Gender equality and women’s empowerment are vital for growth, reducing poverty, sustainable development and the attainment of all the Millennium Development Goals. Read more...

Human rights including children rights and civic space

Since the end of the Cold War, some development assistance has been conditional upon the governments of partner countries respecting human rights. More recently, the concept of approaching development based on human rights has proposed strengthening the capacities of, on the one hand, the authorities responsible for monitoring human rights, and on the other, the capacities of those able to enforce them. Read more...