BELGIUM: Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Development Cooperation Alexander De Croo announced in New York that Belgium will double its investment in humanitarian innovation next year. The Minister was speaking at New York University in front of a thousand-strong audience at Global Citizen Live!, a musical event with performances by Paul Simon and others. Alexander De Croo: “Humanitarian needs are rising every year. More and more people die because of humanitarian crises and conflicts. Still, only one per cent of humanitarian means is dedicated to humanitarian innovation and research. We must change this. More innovation will save more people. This is why next year, Belgium will double its investment in humanitarian innovation to 20 million.” One of the innovative projects that Belgium is investing in, together with the World Food Programme (WFP), is a programme for the development of humanitarian drones. With drones, humanitarian organisations can, among other things, collect more precise information about disaster areas and bring emergency aid more quickly to areas that are difficult to access. Often, the most vulnerable victims are located precisely there.
“The WFP’s humanitarian drones are a good example of the humanitarian innovation we need. By investing more into new technologies, we make humanitarian aid more efficient. Especially when more money is needed each year for humanitarian crisis situations, this is an investment that makes a difference,” said Minister De Croo. Together with Handicap International, Belgium is also investing in the development of 3D-printed limbs. In many crisis regions, people with severe physical injuries have only limited access to quality prostheses. Badly adapted wooden prostheses only increase their physical damage. This is why, with the support of the Belgian Development Cooperation, Handicap International is researching into how 3D printing and computerised design of limbs can give more people access to quality artificial limbs. Alexander De Croo announced the strengthening of Belgium’s commitment at New York University during a Global Citizen Live! event. In the margin of the United Nations General Assembly, politicians, activists and artists convened there to announce concrete actions towards the Sustainable Development Goals. Singer Annie Lennox received the George Harrison Award for her long-standing commitment as an activist for UNICEF, UNAIDS, Amnesty International and other organisations.