Workers’ discuss concerns about private sector engagement in development cooperation at the Belgian SDG Forum

Trade unions organised a workshop entitled “Financing for development and partnerships with the private sector – Should due diligence be reinforced?” on 4 October 2022. This workshop took place in the framework of Belgium’s 5th SDG-Forum.

The event was organised by the three Belgian trade union confederations (CGSLB, CSC, and FGTB). It also included the participation of the ITUC/TUDCN, the Belgian Development Finance Institution BIO and the Belgian Development Agency (ENABEL).

Taking place in the context of preparations for Belgium’s next Voluntary National Review, which will be presented at next year’s High-level Political Forum in July 2023, the workshop’s discussion focused on whether or not Belgium’s current due diligence measures for private sector engagement in development cooperation are sufficient.

For years, trade unions have been critical of private sector engagement in development cooperation and the use of special financing mechanisms, such as blended finance, to attract this sector. The ITUC has conducted several studies that have exposed the weaknesses and risks of this type of partnership and proposed policy recommendations to overcome and prevent them.

"It is imperative that strategies for engaging the private sector in development include as priority objectives the creation of decent jobs, living wages and labour rights", said Diego López who represented the ITUC/TUDCN at the workshop.