Policy Context

For over 20 years, the legal framework of Belgian Cooperation has envisaged the cross-cutting integration of gender equality. The Development Cooperation Act of 1999 already included attention to gender integration, with equality between women and men listed among the cross-cutting themes.

In 2016, the DGD launched a strategic note on gender equality outlining the priority areas of Belgian Cooperation in this field, which included:

  • Education;
  • SRHR;
  • Food security;
  • Access to natural resources and economic empowerment; and
  • Gender-based violence.

Other key Belgian development cooperation bodies, Enabel and BIO, have also formulated their own strategies for gender equality for the period of 2019-2023. FPS Foreign Affairs has no published gender equality strategy, however, women’s rights and LGBTQ+ rights are among its priorities. In addition, FPS Foreign Affairs contributes to various national action plans, including Resolution 1325, which focuses on the elimination of gender-based violence. Belgium is also a strong advocate for SRHR and was one of the earliest supporters of the She Decides initiative.

While Belgium does not have an FFP, it is actively participating in relevant feminist dialogues. Belgium has joined an informal group at the UN in New York dedicated to FFP, which released a political declaration on feminist approaches to foreign policy in September 2023. Belgium performs well on the Feminist Foreign Policy Index and consistently ranks high in terms of share of bilateral allocable ODA dedicated to gender equality, mainly driven by significant funding. There is a strong CSO effort to contribute to discussions for Belgium’s adoption of an FFP, led by CNCD 11.11.11 and 11.11.11, the Belgian Dutch platform.

ODA Spending

How much ODA does Belgium allocate to gender equality?

In 2021, Belgium provided US$586 million in gender equality-related funding. This included US$67 million in principal funding (7% of bilateral allocable ODA) and US$519 million in significant funding (53% of bilateral allocable ODA). In 2021, gender equality-related funding accounted for 60% of bilateral allocable ODA. While the share of principal funding is on par with the DAC average (6%), the share of significant funding is higher compared to the DAC average (42%).

How is Belgium's gender equality ODA changing?

Overall, Belgium’s gender-related ODA decreased between 2017 and 2021 both in absolute and relative terms. However, principal funding increased from 3% in 2017 to 7% in 2021. This is due to an increase in SRH-related programs in both 2020 and 2021.

Multilateral Spending

Belgium contributed US$14 million to UNFPA in 2022, ranking 21st in terms of overall contributions. Of this, 75% (US$10 million) was core contributions and 25% (US$3 million) was non-core contributions towards UNFPA Emergencies and other programs. Belgium has also previously contributed to UNFPA Supplies. In addition, Belgium contributed US$5 million to UN Women in 2022.

Latest Updates:

Belgium/Gender Equality

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