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Belgium

Action point 9

Strengthen collaboration between public services and the various organizations active in the field of human rights and of international entrepreneurship

Renforcer la collaboration entre les services publics et diverses organisations actives dans le domaine des droits de l’Homme et de l’entrepreneuriat international

This point brieflyy references the issue of trade in regards to the government of Bruxelles objective to “ask its economic and trade personnel abroad to disseminate the information gathered by the federal government on the human rights situation of the specific country in question, to the companies that use their services.”

Action point 10

Belgium is committed to integrating human rights and corporate social responsibility (CSR) criteria into the local private sector development support strategy of Belgian cooperation

La Belgique s’engage à intégrer des critères « droits de l’Homme » et de Responsabilité sociétale des entreprises (RSE) dans la stratégie d’appui au développement du secteur privé local de la coopération belge

This point in the Belgian NAP briefly mentions “the promotion of fair and sustainable trade and the support of social economy and the favoring of socially responsible entrepreneurship” as one of the areas that the cooperation for Belgian development will monitor.

Action point 11

Ensure better coordination between federal and regional authorities in order to integrate criteria relating to human rights and socially responsible entrepreneurship in public aid

Assurer une meilleure coordination entre les autorités fédérales et régionales afin d’intégrer des critères relatifs aux droits de l’Homme et à l’entrepreneuriat socialement responsable dans les aides publiques

This point aims at bringing together the various public services that work with Belgian companies on trade and foreign investment in order for them to exchange information at regular intervals. In this context, the government will examine a common method to integrate into the evaluation of applications the promotion of human rights and other aspects of social responsibility.

Action point 13

Strengthen and monitor the respect for human rights in public procurement

Renforcer et contrôler le respect des droits de l’Homme dans les marchés publics

The Flemish Government briefly mentions fair and sustainable trade in its aim to support buyers in the integration of social criteria in public procurement. It also includes diversity, accessibility, and the inclusion of people from vulnerable groups.

Action point 17

Advocate for strengthening the integration of sustainable development (including human rights) in free trade agreements

Plaider au niveau de la Belgique pour le renforcement de l’intégration du développement durable (y compris des droits de l’Homme) dans les accords de libre échange

This point presents the issue relating to free trade. “Trade,” it mentions, “must have a positive impact on work and environment.” The federal government expresses that within the European framework, Belgium wants to link free trade to a form of trade that is more sustainable. This will consist of monitoring the inclusion of human rights, as provided by the international treaties, in free-trade agreements. Also the action point describes that “any new trade or investment agreement must not have negative impact on sustainable development.” The Belgian authorities will actively engage in all European trade or investment treaties, in favor of the inclusion of sustainable development and the presence of social and environmental norms based on international standards.Moreover, the region of Bruxelles, mentions that HRIAs will be conducted before the ratification of any investment or trade agreements.

Action point 33

Import, export and transit of arms, ammunition, military and law enforcement equipment and dual-use goods

Importation, exportation et transit d’armes, de munitions, de matériel militaire et de maintien de l’ordre et de biens à double usage

This point specifically concerns the trade of arms. The Flemish government states that the human rights criterion is strengthened in the Flemish Arms Trade Decree, to avoid, as a general rule, goods being delivered either directly or through unreliable or private enterprises, to actors found to be guilty of violations of human rights. However, several shortcomings to the Decree have been identified, and the objective is to address the gap through different optimization efforts both within the public and private sector. For instance, the Flemish government plans “to incorporate a broad legal basis to the Decree subordinating all transits to authorization requirement,” and “support Flemish companies in the development or improvement of their internal control programs until compliance of enforcement procedures.”

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