During the diplomatic days, vice prime minister and minister of development cooperation Alexander De Croo addressed the Belgian diplomatic staff on sustainable development. The Minister pointed out the progress made over the past ten years with regard to human rights in half of the partner countries of the Belgian Development Cooperation. With the Ibrahim Index on African Governance in his hand, he underlined that human and economic development go hand in hand with progress regarding human rights, gender equality and non-discrimination of minorities and sexual minorities.
The Minister elaborated about She Decides, the advocacy and fundraising initiative he launched with the Netherlands, Denmark and Sweden in response to the reintroduction of the Global Gag Rule by the American Trump-Pence administration. The Minister saluted She Decides for growing into a much broader movement, stating: “She Decides no longer departs from the antitheses with the US but from a positive starting point: for girls’ and women’s rights and in particular their sexual and reproductive health and rights.”
He called upon the diplomatic staff to spread She Decides’ message in the countries where Belgium is active. He asked the diplomats to identify opportunities in Belgian partner countries to advance sexual and reproductive health and rights.
Body & Rights
In the same month the administration of the Belgian Development Cooperation DG-D launched the English version of Body & Rights, an e-tutorial on sexual and reproductive health and rights. This tool has been developed for Belgian diplomats and other stakeholders in development cooperation. Body & Rights gives them a better understanding of the themes.
€450 million in one year
About one year since the launch of She Decides, when €181 million in support was committed by different donors at the international conference in Brussels, the amount has gone up to €450 million in commitments for sexual and reproductive health and rights and new countries have joined the initiative.
On the occasion of She Decides’ anniversary the Parliamentarians for the 2030 Agenda will host a birthday event in the federal parliament on March 8, International Women’s Day. The event seeks to answer the question if She Can Decide in Times of Crisis and looks at the challenges women and girls face to get access to sexual and reproductive health and rights during humanitarian emergencies.