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Belgium spends less on development aid

Published on 03/04/2007

3 April 2007

BRUSSELS – Belgium is spending less on development cooperation, says the Coalition of the Flemish North South Movement. In 2006 the country put 0.37 percent of its gross national income (GNI) into development cooperation, compared to 0.40 in the preceding year. Verhofstadt II has failed to come through on its promises for development aid, the Coalition says.

“Rather than to continue working towards the 0.7 percent agreed in the coalition accord, the government has reduced its contribution,” says Bogdan Vanden Berghe, general secretary of the Coalition. He said this turn of events was “very painful.”

The 0.37 percent does not include debt forgiveness (EUR 326 million) and care for refugees (EUR 71 million). Even if these are counted in, the Belgian contribution to development aid in 2006 was still lower than that in 2005 (0.50 percent of GNI compared to 0.53 in the previous year).

The industrial countries within the UN agreed in 1970 to put 0.7 percent of GNI to development cooperation. Only Norway, Sweden, Denmark, the Netherlands and Luxembourg have fulfilled this promise.

Vanden Berge: “This makes it all the more difficult for Development Cooperation Minister De Decker’s successor to make that leap to 0.7 percent – which has been promised by 2010 no less.”

[Copyright Expatica News 2007]

Subject: Belgian news