This globalization presents extraordinary opportunities for an open and commercially engaged country like Belgium. It also makes Belgium’s companies social actors in countries where they are active, far beyond the purely economic aspect. This reality cannot be conceived of an isolation from the rest of our foreign policy. Very committed to the universal principles of human rights as well as the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, Belgium wants to help its companies, whether public or private, to take these considerations structurally and horizontally in their operations in Belgium, certainly, but also abroad.
Belgium is fully aware that if it is to be effective, this work must be done in a concerted manner and in collaboration with business and civil society, NGOs, and trade unions It is in this spirit that in 2011 we supported the resolution of the Human Rights Council, which adopted the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs), the product of many years of consultation with all stakeholders (companies, NGOs, trade unions) and with the full support of the latter. It is also in this spirit that Belgium is committed in the government agreement to adopt a National Action Plan (NAP) implemented its Guiding Principles.
At the instigation of the institutions of the European Union, the Flemish, Walloon, and Brussels federal and regional governments have decided to develop a National Action Plan (NAP) implementing the Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, unanimously adopted on 17 June 2011 by the United Nations Human Rights Council. This plan will also provide an opportunity to reaffirm Belgium’s support for a number of commitments made in other forums that overlap with the same principles, such as the Guidelines for Multinationals (revised in 2011) of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) or a series of commitments made at the level of the International Labour Organization (ILO).
In addition, this plan contributes to Belgium’s efforts to achieve the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and in particular, Goal 8 “Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all” and Goal 12 “Establish Sustainable Consumption and Production Patterns”.
Action Point 6
Belgian SDG Charter on the role of the private sector, civil society, and the public sector on international cooperation (Page 27)
Federal Government Action:
In 2016, Belgian development cooperation initiated the drafting and signing of a Belgian SDG Charter on the role of the private sector, civil society, and the public sector on international cooperation. The first step in the realization of this Charter was the organization of a round table at the beginning of February 2016, which brought together some 40 CEOs from companies active in developing countries to give them more information about the 2030 Agenda and the role that could be reserved for the Belgian public sector.