The overarching objective of the Belgian Development Cooperation (BDC) is sustainable human development, to be realized by the means of poverty alleviation, on the basis of the concept of partnership and in the respect of the relevance criteria for development (Law of May 25, 1999). Partnership is therefore at the heart of BDC operations.
The BDC specific objective for water & sanitation expresses as follows:
to contribute significantly in the efficient and effective implementation of action plans set by developing countries and aimed at enabling the people in general, and the poor people in particular, to lead healthier and more productive lives through improved management of water resources and increased and sustainable access to safe drinking and secure water supply and appropriate sanitation services.
During the period 1999 – 2003 assistance was focussed on at most 24 countries and 1 regional organisation, namely SADC. Since July 2003 this focus has been reduced to 18 countries, 9 of which are LDCs.
The water resources management related research & development operations support provided by the Belgian Development Cooperation are not limited to actual bilateral development cooperation focus partner countries. Countries like China, Cuba, the Philippines are still amongst the beneficiaries. The challenge to be met in the water and sanitation in the framework of development cooperation is a combined one of eliminating poverty and achieving environmental sustainability. To this end, the focus in relation to research & development in cooperation is namely on partnerships oriented to learning/knowledge management, networking and capacity building for integrated water resources management.
In every region where Belgian cooperation is being involved, but especially in North Africa and sub-Saharan Africa, projects relating to safe drinking and secure water supply and appropriate sanitation (wastewater and solid waste management) are a priority, with the integrated and rational management of water resources as another major challenge. Desertification and climate change are other key areas.
The trend of the Belgian ODA devoted to this sector is, on average, relatively low. Indeed compared with an average for DAC countries of 6.2%, 2.6% of Belgian direct bilateral aid was dedicated to water and sanitation projects in 2001. During the period 1999 – 2004, BDC through DGDC contributed more than 70 million Euros to the water sector with a significant evolution of the expenditures from about 12 million Euros in 2001 to around 21 million Euros in 2004. The expenditures dedicated to research and development in cooperation in relation to sustainable water resources management, including sanitation, represent about 20.34% of the ODA explicitly devoted to the water and sanitation sector during this period.
Involvement in Research
Major International Programmes/Partnerships:
The Belgian federal Development Cooperation, as represented by the DGDC, establishes the cooperation startegies in response to the priorities set in ownership by the developing partner countries. This encompasses socio-economic development, training, technical assistance, financial cooperation and debt reduction projects/programmes. In addition to governmental cooperation, the DGDC co-finances and coordinates other types of cooperation with NGO’s, universities and scientific institutes, including international organisations.
Research & development in cooperation operations are mainly carried out by the Belgian universities. The universities indeed play an important role in scientific training and education. The Belgian universities that are actually implementing the research & development projects/programmes supported by DGDC belong to two main umbrella systems: