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Humanitarian aid, health, migration and environment

Information to humanitarian aid, health, migration and environment.
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Humanitarian Aid

Belgian humanitarian aid is based on international humanitarian law, the principles and good practice for humanitarian aid ("Good Humanitarian Donorship") and the European Union (EU) Consensus on humanitarian aid.  It is in line with the principles of humanity, impartiality, neutrality and independence and has a clearly defined mandate: to save lives, alleviate suffering and maintain human dignity.

In accordance with the Law of 19 March 2013 on Belgian development cooperation, the Royal Decree of 19 April 2014 on humanitarian aid and the 2014 strategy note on humanitarian aid, the Belgian federal government supports the following Geneva based international organizations through voluntary core contributions, subsidies to programmes or projects and contributions to international donor funds:

  • United Nations Commissioner for the Refugees (UNHCR)
  • Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA)
  • International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC)
  • International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC)

Belgium subscribed to the Grand Bargain on humanitarian aid. It thus committed to a substantial increase of its flexible and predictable funding. Belgium also committed to increase its humanitarian aid to forgotten and underfunded crises. Given that women and girls are especially vulnerable in humanitarian crises, Belgium has committed to engendering its funding.

Our Permanent Representation is in daily contact with the abovementioned humanitarian actors through an active participation in briefings, board meetings and an active follow-up and monitoring of their activities.

Further information on Belgian humanitarian aid is available the FPS Foreign Affairs website (in French).


The Permanent Representation is in charge of the relations in Geneva with the multilateral partner organizations in the area of health, in particular the World Health Organization (WHO), the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (GFATM).

Belgium looks at the contribution of these organizations in the realization of Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development and the Sustainable Development Goals. The overall attention in the health sector is going to strengthening health systems, gender, a human rights based approach and reaching the poorest and most vulnerable.

With regard to WHO, Belgium is following closely the developments and the process on strengthening WHO that were particularly triggered by the COVID-19-pandemic, the response of the international community and the role of WHO herein. In this process, Belgium has a particular interest in promoting the leadership of WHO in the global health infrastructure and in sustainable financing of the organization.

The annual contributions for the three partner organizations are approximately:

  • WHO – 8 MEURO
  • GFATM – 15 MEURO

The biggest part of this funding goes to assessed and multiannual voluntary core contributions.

In response to the COVID-19-pandemic Belgium stepped up its multilateral efforts in support of developing countries. In particular, Belgium joined the COVAX AMC initiative with a contribution of 4 MEURO to promote equitable and affordable access to COVID-19-vaccines in low income and low middle income countries.


In the area of environment, the Permanent Representation ensures full participation of Belgium in the International organizations and agencies based in Geneva, like the UNECE and its conventions (eg Espoo and Long Range Transboundary Air pollution), the Secretariats of Convention on Chemicals like Rotterdam and Minamata, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), the International Union of the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and the International Environment House.

Belgium welcomes the valuable contribution of these organizations in the realization of Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development in their areas of competence, in particular by the promotion of the adherence to these instruments by non-European countries.

Belgium looks for a cross cutting attention for environment and climate change in the work of other Geneva based organizations like sustainable production and value chains, disaster risk reduction or environment and human rights.


Issues related to migration of people are very much addressed in Geneva. They are ever more present on both the domestic and the international agendas. The Permanent Representation ensures full participation of Belgium in, inter alia, the following mechanisms and organizations:

The International Organization for Migration (IOM)

The Global Compact on Migration (GCM) and the UN Network on Migration

The Global Forum on Migration and Development (GFMD)

The International Organization for Migration (IOM) is an agency of the United Nations designing and implementing projects at the request of governments (173 of which have since 1951 become a member). For the last decade, IOM has become a key-player UN agency, with a important growth both of its budget and its range of actions. Its areas of expertise include now migration and development, assisted migration, voluntary repatriation, resettlement, capacity building for managing migration, and emergency assistance. 

The Global Compact on Migration (GCM) is an intergovernmentally negotiated agreement, prepared under the auspices of the United Nations describing itself as covering “all dimensions of international migration in a holistic and comprehensive manner”. Endorsed by Belgium in December 2018, the GCM is a non-binding document, consisting in 23 objectives and commitments adopted by State Parties as a framework for a safe, orderly and regular migration. In order to support the implementation, follow-up and review of the GCM, the United Nations established the UN Network on Migration which ensure effective, timely and coordinated support to Member States of the GCM.   

The Global Forum on Migration and Development (GFMD) is an informal and state-led initiative that aims at facilitating international dialogue and exchanges on the connections that appear to exist between migration and development. It is a unique platform of exchange between a wide range of stakeholders dealing with migration and development (State actors but also representatives of Cities and municipalities, private sector, NGO’s,…). It may be recalled that Belgium played a pioneering role in this regard. It hosted the first edition of the Forum in Brussels in July 2007. The annual Forum is hosted on a voluntary basis upon invitation of a participating country. Preparations however take place in Geneva and the Permanent Representation ensures Belgium remains fully involved.