Flemish development cooperation explores new direction
On 18 April, Brussels hosted the first stakeholders consultation of the Flemish development cooperation. This meeting was intended as an open dialogue on how Flanders can integrate the Sustainable Development Goals into the Flemish development cooperation. Minister-president Bourgeois invited 120 stakeholders of the Flemish development cooperation for a debate. Keynote speakers Erik Solheim (Chairman of OECD / DAC) and Patrick Gomes (Secretary General of the group of ACP countries) provided the global perspective.
The UN agenda for sustainable development requires a comprehensive approach and a willingness of actors to join forces. Each player must contribute starting from its own speciality. But this strictly sectoral approach seems outdated. For example, health aid can’t be reduced to investments in hospitals or medical training. Healthy eating habits, a safe and clean environment, sex education and a good hygiene are also important and shows that a more integrated approach is needed to achieve results. OECD-chairman Solheim pointed out the importance of an economic and institutional framework for sustainable development: "The debate on the private sector is won. The problem is a lack of investment in development countries, not too much. We need to focus on job creation and expand the forces of the market. We need a stronger state for the legal framework and peace."
"What's the government's role in such a multi-stakeholder approach?" This was one of the questions presented to the participants. The Government of Flanders will continue to work on increasing its effectiveness in the field of development cooperation. With an annual contribution of approximately 55 million euro, internationally Flanders is a relatively small player. Minister-president Bourgeois: "All the more reason to use our resources as efficiently as possible. We focus on the modern aid paradigm and will continue out work, based on good practices in the field of development cooperation."