Belgium (federal state)

Focus of Belgian development cooperation

Belgian bilateral development cooperation focuses on 18 priority countries: Algeria, Benin, Bolivia, Burundi, DR Congo, Ecuador, Mali, Morocco, Mozambique, Niger, Palestinian Territories, Peru, Rwanda, Senegal, Tanzania, Uganda, Vietnam and South Africa.

It is restricted to five priority sectors:
  • basic health care
  • training and education
  • agriculture and food security
  • basic infrastructure
  • good governance

It has five priority themes:
  • women and men
  • care for the environment
  • social economy
  • fight against AIDS
  • children’s rights
Until now, the decent work concept is still not explicitly covered by bilateral Belgian assistance. However, Belgium has recently supported an important ILO programme on youth employability in Katanga, Congo DRC, involving social partners.

The proposed new Belgian law on development cooperation includes decent work as a transversal issue.

Belgium as ILO donor

The management of the Belgian development cooperation programmes is entrusted to the Directorate-General for Development Cooperation and Humanitarian Aid (DGD) of the Belgian Federal Public Service (FPS) Foreign Affairs. The ILO holds regular review meetings and discusses programme priorities with the Belgian authorities. Funding approvals for each programme are made at the level of the Belgian ministry for Development Cooperation.

Additionally, the ministry of Labour and Employment, through the DGD, also approved funding for ILO projects in the past, such as IPEC in Morocco, and conflict prevention related to PRODIAF and Equal Opportunities in Employment projects in Eastern Europe. In 2011-2012, the ministry of Labour supported an ILO-Belgium project on promoting social dialogue in the Maghreb, which facilitated the signing of a social pact  in Tunisia in January 2013.

Belgium contributed to the ILO’s Regular Budget Supplementary Account (RBSA), providing un-earmarked voluntary contributions to increase the ILO's capacity to deliver on the priorities set out in the ILO’s Programme and Budget.

Over the last five years, the government has also financed programmes aimed at
  • the promotion of equal opportunities for women and men;
  • employment reviews of stability pact countries;
  • skills development for economic livelihoods after the Tsunami in Sri Lanka
  • improving governance in the mine and metallurgy sector in Katanga through Decent Work promotion
  • youth employability in Katanga
  • promoting social dialogue in the Maghreb