Development Cooperation Unit

In order to be a modern and reliable donor, it is essential that the Flemish policy regarding development cooperation is aligned with the international development agenda. In the partner countries, attention is devoted to the political, economic and social developments. Internationally, the Flemish Department of Foreign Affairs keeps track of the specialist conferences, in particular those regarding aid effectiveness (Paris 2005, Accra 2008), the financing for development and the Millennium Development Goals. The developments within the region of Southern African (SADC) are also closely monitored. The Cotonou Agreement, the EU-Africa Strategy and the EPAs that are being negotiated between the EU and the Southern African Regions (SADC) deserve special attention in this respect. The large themes from the international trade policy (Doha Development Round, Aid for Trade, market access) are often oriented to increasing the capacity of enterprise in the South. Harmonisation with initiatives regarding international enterprise is also important in this context.

The Flemish Department of Foreign Affairs (DiV) keeps track of international trends and developments in the field of development cooperation and translates them into useful policy recommendations. These recommendations can be found in diverse contributions, such as the policy memorandum and policy letter. For every new government, the Department creates an up-to-date environmental analysis and a number of factually substantiated, concrete policy advisory opinions. The management agreement between the Government of Flanders and the FICA is also renewed every four years by the Development Cooperation Unit of the DiV.

A cooperation relationship with partner countries must be confirmed officially in each case in a signed agreement between the authorities in Flanders and in the partner country. This is done under the form of a cooperation agreement (‘memorandum of understanding’). After signing such a cooperation agreement, a strategy paper is developed in mutual consent, making the cooperation more explicit and concrete. It describes the political, economic and social context of the country and lays down the policy priorities, sectors and transversal themes within a five-year programme. This document constitutes the direction development projects are identified and formulated with.

The DiV also uses external support to obtain crucial information, in preparation and adjustment of the policy. For this purpose, the Support Centre for Foreign Policy, Tourism and Recreation was created at the initiative of the Flemish authorities. The policy-relevant research is coordinated by the Policy Division of the Department.

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