The European Council elected Belgian prime minister Charles Michel as President of the European Council. The president presides over and drives forward the work of the European Council and is the European Union’s principal representative on the world stage. He is elected for the period from 1 December 2019 until 31 May 2022. But who is Charles Michel and what is his track record on SRHR and gender equality?
To date, no fundamental change in governance has been seen, Perspective 2030, the Belgian coalition of NGOs monitoring the realisation of the 2030 Agenda of which Sensoa is a member, stated. The coalition published a critical report that took stock of Belgium’s efforts since signing on to the Agenda in 2015.
The federal development aid for health and reproductive health increased from €141 million in 2015 to €146 million in 2016. The support is still well below the level of 2014 though. €164 million was spent on these sectors in 2014. The total expenditure of the Directorate-General for Development (DGD) increased with 11.8% in 2016. This means the federal government is investing relatively less in development aid for health and reproductive health because the proportion of aid dedicated to these sectors decreased from 14% in 2015 to 12.7% in 2016. Sensoa discussed these results in an analysis of the federal development aid for health and reproductive health.
Thursday May 11th, Federal Parliament, Belgium. MPs played ‘snakes and ladders’, a life-size game on the health and rights of girls worldwide. The MPs were the pawns in the game and found themselves confronted with the obstacles girls in developing countries face.
There are about 1 billion girls in the world, many of which face discrimination and inequalities. Each year 16 million girls between 15 and 19 give birth. Complications related to pregnancies and delivery are the 2nd most important cause of death for girls in that age group. Every year 3 million girls run the risk of mutilation and every day 39,000 girls are subject to child or forced marriage.
The Parliamentarians for the 2030 Agenda want girls’ health and rights to be high on the political agenda. They call upon the Belgian development cooperation to continue focusing on this particular group.
As part of the She Decides-Initiative, Belgian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Development Cooperation, Alexander De Croo visited Benin and Senegal, partner countries of the Belgian Development Cooperation. In Benin, the Minister signed two programmes promoting sexual and reproductive health and rights.
During a She Decides visit to Benin and Senegal, the Belgian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Development Cooperation, Alexander De Croo announced an increase of his support to the UNFPA and International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF).
On the eve of the international conference She Decides in Brussels, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Development Cooperation Alexander De Croo launched Body & Rights, a bilingual (French/Dutch) website with an e-tutorial on sexual and reproductive health and rights.
Ahead of the high level She Decides conference of March 2nd in Brussels, Belgium’s All-Party Parliamentary Group ‘Parliamentarians for the 2030 Agenda’ called a parliamentary pre-meeting in the federal parliament. The implications of the Global Gag Rule (GGR), the rise of anti-choice movements and the question how to counter the effects of the GGR were on the agenda.
Belgium is hosting the International Conference ‘She Decides’ in support of the rights of girls and women. Like-minded countries, NGOs and international organizations will express their support to sexual and reproductive health organizations affected by the reinstatement of the Mexico City Policy or ‘Global Gag Rule’ (GGR). In the wake of this conference, the Belgian All Party Parliamentary Group ‘Parliamentarians for the 2030 Agenda’ organizes a pre-meeting in the Belgian parliament on Wednesday March 1st.
The parliamentary pre-meeting will address the impact of the GGR on women’s rights and their access to family planning, elaborate on the international anti-gender and anti-choice movement and address the question of how to best advance sustained political support for sexual and reproductive health and rights in Europe and beyond.
Speakers include Dr. David Paternotte (ULB), Suzanne Ehlers (Population Act International), Caroline Hickson (IPPF European Network), Ton Coenen (EuroNGOs), Neil Datta (European Parliamentary Forum), Arthur Erken (UNFPA).
More information and registration form
Timing: Wednesday 1 March 14:00-17:00
Venue: Congreszaal, access through Federal Parliament, Leuvenseweg 21, 1000 Brussels
Participation is free but registration is required.
Please register through the online form before 24 February.
For security reasons it is recommended to arrive well in advance.