6. Development co-operation
This chapter presents an overview of the Belgian development aid through
contributions to financial mechanisms and transfer of technology, including
international training programmes, in order to support developing countries in
their quest for economic, social and institutional growth, bearing in mind the
sustainable development for future generations.
The Belgian Federal Government is strongly committed to the principles and
guidelines contained in the Declaration of Rio (UNCED 1992) and has started to
implement them in its development assistance programmes ever since.
Belgium also adheres to the co-ordinated approach of donor countries,
through an active participation in international fora, such as the European
Union and the OECD. Considering the global character of the loss of
biodiversity, only a well co-ordinated, international strategy may stand a
chance of success.
6.2. Contributions to financial
6.2.1. Belgian Official Development Assistance
As a whole, the Belgian Official Development Assistance (ODA) disbursements
for 1995 amounted to 1.03 billion US$ , representing 0.38% of the gross
national product (GNP). This percentage led Belgium to occupy the 8th place
among the OECD/DAC-countries. An average of 40% of total ODA goes to
6.2.2. Belgian Agency for Development Co-operation
Among the multilateral financial mechanisms, the Global Environmental
Facility (GEF) receives 1.68% of its total Core Fund budget from the Belgian
Federal Government through the Belgian Agency for Development Co-operation (BADC),
summing up 1.1 billion BEF, paid in cash, for the period from 1 July 1994 to
30 June 1997, distributed as follows:
1994-1995: 320,000,000 BEF
1996: 390,000,000 BEF
1997: 390,000,000 BEF
During the GEF Pilot phase, Belgium contributed 198,532,682 BEF (4,420,900
SDR) to the Core Fund and additionally co-financed a solar water heating
project in Tunisia and a West African community-based natural resources and
wildlife management project in Burkina Faso and Ivory Coast up to 247,270,324
BEF, overhead costs included (5,000,000 SDR).
Belgium is member of a group of bilateral donors which contribute to the
‘Regional Environmental Information Management Project' in the Central
African Region, with an amount of 30,000,000 BEF. The project aims at
improving the planning and the management of the natural resources in the
Congo Basin, with a particular focus on the preservation of biological
Since the prevention of further loss of biodiversity and the restoration of
already lost resources is part of the solution, efforts made in the field of
forestation, reforestation and the combat against desertification should also
Over the last 10 years the Belgian Federal Government has supported the
Special Programme for Africa (phase I and II) with roughly 1.8 billion BEF,
through the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD). Field
projects comprise rural development, water management, forestation, soil
degradation, in those areas of Sub-Saharan Africa that are especially
vulnerable to drought, desertification and climate change.
Within the countries belonging to the Southern African Development
Community (SADC), a similar initiative is under way through bilateral co-operation
projects, totaling close to 300 million BEF for the period 1993-1997.
As of 1996 a voluntary contribution, amounting to 2,000,000 BEF per year,
is also made to the interim Secretariat of the Convention to Combat
6.2.3. Federal Office for Scientific,
Technical and Cultural Affairs
22.214.171.124. Joint research projects
Joint research projects are also initiated by the Federal Office for
Scientific, Technical and Cultural Affairs (OSTC) within the frame of
bilateral agreements with i.e. China, Poland and Russia consisting in a
transfer of Belgian know-how which has been developed through the national
R&D programmes implemented by the OSTC. Yearly the financing of bilateral
projects related to biodiversity and environmental protection amounts to ca.
10,000,000 BEF. Examples of such co-operations are the joint study of the
endemic fauna (invertebrates) of Lake Baikal (since the beginning of the 90s
the OSTC also supplied a contribution of 200,000 USD to the Baikal
International Centre for Ecological Research (BICER)); the establishment of a
forest database, using remote sensing techniques, for the monitoring of stands
in the Kozienice Landscape Park and Zawierce Forest in Poland; the study and
conservation of specific groups of actinomycetes and microfungi from the
Yunnan province and Changhai region in China.
Technology transfer to Central and Eastern European countries is also
provided for by the OSTC through the granting of research fellowships to post-doc
scientists from these countries allowing them to stay in Belgian laboratories
during 6 to 12 months. The Belgian host units are those which are involved in
the execution of the R&D programmes of the OSTC. Since 1991, 35 (out of
286) fellowships were situated in the field of biological resources (on
average 5 yearly).
126.96.36.199. TELSAT research programme
Via the TELSAT research programme, techniques are developed for monitoring
at local, regional and global scale of several issues (in)directly related to
biodiversity: land cover and land use changes (patterns and evolution in
time), land degradation in (semi-) arid regions, landscape morphology,
habitats of endangered species or indicator species for biodiversity.
Earth observation data at different geographic scales, related to other
data sources via ‘geo-information' systems contribute to understanding and
monitoring driving forces for changes in the ecosystems. Development of
spatial models allows to conduct simulations of likely impacts of human
actions leading to a transformation of the landscape on key landscape
attributes such as biodiversity.
Some demonstration studies regarding landscape and habitat monitoring were
conducted in Belgium and at a Western European scale. Several research
projects, conducted with local services for natural resources management in
Western and Central Africa, and/or with international organisations such as
the Worldbank/Environment, FAO/Forest, IUCN and WWF International, permit a
notable transfer of technology with regard to improved techniques for
monitoring and planning purposes concerning the sustainable management of
The issues ‘contribution to environmental accounting' as well as
environmental impact assessment of development projects are also part of the
research agenda of the TELSAT programme.
6.3. Future resource allocations
The exact amount and type of future contributions are rather difficult to
predict, but it is fair to state that the Belgian Federal Government will
continue to live up to its commitments under Agenda 21 in general and the ones
already established. In this respect Belgium is considering to increase its
contribution to the second replenishment of GEF, to be finalised shortly, by
some 10% with regard to GEF-1, i.e. over 1.2 billion BEF.
6.4. Technology transfer
and capacity building
At the federal level, the BADC has always included the aspects of
technology transfer and capacity building in its bilateral agreements.
Transfer of environmentally sound technology should allow rapid growth of
developing countries while safeguarding the general environment and natural
resources. Capacity building serves the same purpose, as it prepares the
individual countries for dealing with the wide array of international
agreements, national plans, technology evolution, etc.
BADC also supports International Course Programmes and International
Training Programmes at Belgian universities, featuring topics such as
biotechnology applied to agriculture, biostatistics, fundamental and applied
marine ecology, tropical molecular biology, etc.
Belgian Agency for Development Co-operation