About: Government of Flanders Development Cooperation

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The Flanders Department of Foreign Affairs is in charge of all of the Government of Flanders' international relations. It coordinates Flanders' international and European activities. In doing so, the Department helps to build an open, dynamic and solidary Flanders, which dedicates itself to a democratic, safe and prospering global society.

Among many tasks, the department is responsible for the development of cooperation with foreign partners and Flanders' development cooperation, with a geographical focus on Southern Africa. To perform these tasks, the Department has a total budget of around 46 million euros and it relies on the enthusiasm and dedication of a hundred staff members at its head office in Brussels and 11 General Representations of the Government of Flanders (The Hague, London, Berlin, Paris, Madrid, Warsaw, Vienna, New York, Pretoria and Geneva) and international organizations (the EU, Council of Europe, OECD and the UN).

Development cooperation

The development cooperation of the Government of Flanders invests in global sustainable development, where no one is left behind. They coordinate and engage in dialogue with the United Nations, the European Union, the OECD and governments in Southern Africa to help implement the Agenda for Sustainable Development and fund programmes that further the United Nations Global Goals for Sustainable Development (see www.globalgoals.org/).

To achieve welfare and equitable prosperity within the carrying capacity of the earth, the Government of Flanders encourages innovation, they use a systems approach and proactively foster cooperation. They consider gender, good governance and human rights as fundamental values for sustainable development. This vision is reflected in their programmes.

The Government of Flanders opts for a strong focus on three partner countries: Malawi, Mozambique and South Africa. The policy for each country is set out in a country strategy paper. Supporting the Global Goals for Sustainable Development also means engagement on the home front. Therefore, they also focus on Flanders to broaden the support for global sustainable development. They cooperate with and establish partnerships and networks between NGOs, the private sector, governments, citizens and multilateral organisations.

Southern Africa focus

Flemish development cooperation concentrates its efforts on a limited number of countries, sectors and actors to make the most efficient use of the available funds. Grants are the main method used to provide support for development.

Flemish development focuses on three partner countries Mozambique, Malawi and South Africa. They also reinforce their work in these partner countries by subsidising projects that reach beyond the country's borders.

In Mozambique, a radical innovation has been implemented in 2016: a consistent focus on adolescents (10 to 19-year-olds) as one of the most vulnerable groups in Mozambican society in terms of health. This new country strategy was developed in consultation with the Mozambican Government.

In South Africa, they focus on the development of SMEs and support social innovations and entrepreneurs who provide a response to societal challenges. They also devote attention to the effects of climate change on society and are committed to enhancing resilience in the most vulnerable groups.

Involving the people of Flanders

Development cooperation is not just a role for the Government of Flanders. There are several ways in which the whole community can be involved. A Global Challenges call is launched every two years. In 2016, the call focused on projects which ensure that various actors in Flemish society work together to realise change and make an active contribution to a sustainable and just global society. In principle, the next call is scheduled for the spring of 2018.

Within the Flemish development cooperation landscape, a large number of people roll up their sleeves and support a project in the South. In Flanders, these initiatives are referred to as the 4th Pillar. To support these initiatives and respond to their needs wherever possible, a Support Centre was established in January 2009. Visit the 4th Pillar website (www.4depijler.be).

The Government of Flanders is dedicated to supporting the implementation of the United Nations Global Goals for Sustainable Development. All citizens can play a role, and The Global Goals website (www.globalgoals.org) has a 'What Can I Do?' section some suggested actions and further information.

See http://www.fdfa.be/en/sustaina... for more information on the Government of Flanders' work in Development cooperation.