The Convention on the Prohibition of Cluster Munitions celebrates its tenth anniversary. The Convention was signed on 3 December 2008 in Oslo. Belgium pioneered the fight against cluster munitions by adopting in 2006 the first law in the world prohibiting these weapons. In 2007 this commitment was complemented by a law on divestment in the field of cluster munitions production.
In the coming years, Belgium will invest an additional 43 million euros in the rights of girls and women around the world. Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Development Cooperation Alexander De Croo announced this at the “Global Citizen Mandela 100” international charity concert in Johannesburg. Minister De Croo shared the stage with African heads of state and government, and music stars such as Chris Martin, Ed Sheeran, Usher, Pharrell Williams, Beyoncé and Jay-Z.
Over the next two years, Belgium will contribute 4.4 million euros (5 million US dollars) to the fight against forgotten tropical diseases. This will be done through the Extended Special Project for Elimination of Neglected Tropical Diseases (ESPEN), a project of the World Health Organization which aims to control and even eliminate five tropical diseases. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation will double the Belgian contribution, giving twenty million people access to the necessary treatments over the next two years.
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Development Cooperation Alexander De Croo does site visits with UNAIDS in South Africa today, on the eve of World Aids Day. Sexologist and Goodwill Ambassador of the UN Population Fund (UNFPA), Goedele Liekens, is also taking part in this working visit. This year, Worlds Aids Day will be organised for the 30th time. The central theme this year is 'Live life positively - know your HIV status'. Of the almost 40 million people infected with the HIV virus, one out of four doesn’t know their HIV serostatus.
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Development Cooperation Alexander De Croo signed a new five-year cooperation programme today in Cotonou, the capital of Benin. Belgium and Benin join forces to create sustainable local economic growth by developing the pineapple sector and the Port of Cotonou and strengthening the rights of women and girls.
The Sahel, and Mali in particular, is one of the priorities of the Belgian foreign policy, which is reflected in the multiple engagements of our country in the region. Today, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Didier Reynders decided to contribute two million euro to the United Nations Trustfund for peace and security in Mali.
Princess Astrid will lead, as representative of the King, a Belgian Economic Mission to Morocco from this Sunday, November 25 to Friday, November 30. With 469 participants, it is the largest ever organized to date. Nearly 10 years after the last Economic Mission, this enthusiasm reflects the wealth of the relations between our two countries. The importance of the delegation, which covers more than 30 sectors of activity, also underlines the significant growth potential that they still hold.
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Didier Reynders organized a high-level event on the reform of investment protection today at the Egmont Palace. Minister Reynders and European Commissioner for Trade, Cecilia Malmstrom opened the event. In his intervention, minister Reynders highlighted that “the CETA discussions showed that the outline of the reform debate is not just technical, but also political. This requires maximum transparency and inclusiveness for the ongoing negotiations.”