Belgium (Flanders)

Focus of development cooperation of Flanders


Flanders has its own funds for development cooperation, which projects fall within regional competencies such as local development, skills development, education and employment services. Flanders is a generous donor to the ILO’s technical cooperation programme.

Flemish development cooperation makes an active contribution to poverty reduction in the Southern African region. Bilateral Flemish development programmes are concentrated on three partner countries: Malawi, Mozambique and South Africa.

Flanders as ILO donor


Flanders, through its Department of Foreign Affairs, and the ILO cooperate since 1991. In an initial phase, Flanders cooperated mainly with the ILO International Training Centre in Turin (ITCILO).

In 1997, a first cooperation agreement was signed between Flanders and the ILO. In March 2011, a new agreement was signed by the ILO and Flanders, setting out the common parameters for development cooperation and providing a basis for policy dialogue between the Flemish government, Flemish workers’ and employers’ organizations and the ILO. It covers also the promotion of decent work within Flanders, taking into account Flemish competences.

The principal funding modality used by Flanders is the ILO-Flanders trust fund, created in December 2001. Initially, the trust fund was set up for the period 2001 to 2005 but is has been extended. Through this fund, yearly allocations are made to ILO technical cooperation projects, half of them implemented by the ITCILO.

With the new agreement signed in 2016, the government of Flanders refocussed its collaboration with the ILO on improving the position of women and young persons in the labour market.

Recent projects


With the support of the Government of Flanders, on 1 January 2016, the ILO launched a new project on decent work in the care economy.

Other recent Flanders-funded ILO projects include:
  • strengthening social dialogue in Ukraine
  • job creation through SMEs in South Africa, Malawi and Mozambique
  • promoting the creation of decent jobs in two South African provinces through entrepreneurship and the development of micro, small and medium enterprises in sectors and value chains with employment potential
  • promoting decent work in the Southern African ports