On 13 May, Flanders and UNESCO officially announced their renewed collaboration in the field of natural sciences in Paris. The collaboration with UNESCO will be extended by 5 years (2019 – 2023). "We are opening a fifth phase in our cooperation which is a confirmation of the trust of the Government of Flanders in the work of UNESCO," according to Jean-Yves Le Saux, Director of the Strategic Planning Bureau.
Since 1999, the Flemish Government has had a general agreement with UNESCO in the field of science. In order to streamline this cooperation, Flanders created the UNESCO/Flanders Fund-in-Trust. Through the FUST, Flanders contributes to scientific projects, including in the field of water management and oceans. "Together with our partners, we want to make a significant contribution to international cooperation on water, oceans and the biosphere," emphasized Dries Willems, General Representative of the Government of Flanders.
The decision to extend the partnership was announced during the UNESCO International Water Conference that took place in Paris on 13 and 14 May. The international conference brought together policy makers, experts, and stakeholders to exchange best practices and experiences in the field of water management, policy and research.