BRUSSELS, Saturday, January 21, 2023 (WAFA) – The Government of the Brussels-Capital Region approved yesterday a proposal to choose the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT) as a new priority region of Brussels development cooperation, meaning it will be eligible for increased funding.
"Supporting the development of the OPT is now a priority for the Brussels Region," Belgian State Secretary for International Relations and Development Cooperation Pascal Smet said in a statement, quoted by Belga news agency. Smet added that he was "able to identify local realities and needs," during his recent visit to Ramallah. "I saw that we have a role to play there."
Brussels regulations stipulate that only priority regions are eligible for funding out of development cooperation initiatives.
The decision means that, from this year onwards, the government can actively offer support to associations that set up such projects here, for example in the areas of women and youth entrepreneurship, urban agriculture, the development of the service and hospitality sector, as well as waste management.
"I think it is important for the European capital to send a message of solidarity with the Palestinians and choose to assist them in this," Smet concluded. Accordingly, the Governorate of Ramallah and Al-Bireh will become the local partner of the future development cooperation agreement.
Belgian civil society organisations recognised by FPS Foreign Affairs as part of the cooperation can apply for project funding between €50,000 and €125,000. Other non-recognised NPOs are eligible for project funding between €10,000 and €25,000.