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Her Majesty the
Queen's role as an SDG Ambassador
Since the adoption of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in 2015, a group of 17 eminent Ambassadors were appointed to promote action to achieve the SDGs by 2030. The SDGs represent a commitment by all nations to work together in enduring partnerships to end poverty and hunger, protect the planet, achieve shared prosperity and ensure peace for present and future generations.
In early February, Queen Mathilde of Belgium in her capacity as Ambassador of the United Nations’ SDGs, paid a three-day working visit to Mozambique. This is the Queen’s first official visit to the Sub-Saharan country since Mozambique became a partner country of Belgium in 2001. Recently, her Majesty also visited Ghana in 2016 in her capacity as SDG Advocate.
Queen Mathilde engaged with local communities and encouraged initiatives that have a positive impact on the everyday lives of the local population. Her visits had a focus on projects that promote economic empowerment of women, combat violence against women and promote improved education and health in the country. Her Majesty’s agenda also included projects that combat climate change in Mozambique, one of which is Enabel’s project of “Water Supply and Management contributing to Food Security in Gaza Province” (also known as Water Gaza).
Outline of Her Majesty the Queen’s Visit
Between the 4th and the 7th of February 2019, Her Majesty’s visit covered Maputo province and capital city and Gaza province, where several Belgian funded interventions are located.
On the first day of the visit, her Majesty met the Minister of Finance and Economy, H.E. A. Maleiane as well as the Minister of Gender, Children and Social Action, H.E. C. Chaúque Oliveira, followed by greeting the beneficiaries of the Light for the World NGO and a visit to the Socio-Cultural association Horizonte Azul, which focuses on human rights, gender equality and empowerment of vulnerable children and women. Upon the Queen’s arrival in Gaza Province, the Governor hosted a dinner to welcome Her Majesty and to discuss what the different Belgian funded projects have accomplished in the province.
On day 2, Queen Mathilde visited several projects in the Gaza Province, including the Enabel Water Gaza Project in the local village of Dzindzine, a UN Women Empowerment project funded by Belgium in Chinhacanine, and finally a district hospital in Chokwe where she addressed mental health issues. Upon returning to Maputo, Queen Mathilde had a meeting with victims of domestic violence and child marriages.
On day 3 of the visit, Queen Mathilde of Belgium met with H.E. President Nyusi of Mozambique had a meeting, and later delivered a lecture on “Sustainable Development Goals Towards A Better Future” at Eduardo Mondlane University. Her Majesty addressed students, professors, public and private institutions “to grasp every opportunity to work together on this ambitious development agenda for the future.” Queen Mathilde then visited the National Disaster Management Institute to observe how the use of technology improved national disaster risk management systems. Her Majesty ended her visit with a trip to a local health centre in the district of Marracuene, Maputo province, which provides accessible care to over 23,000 people.
Desalination water supply plant in Dzindzine
Her Majesty’s trip included a visit to one of the six water supply systems in small village of Dzindzine in Gaza Province, which forms part of the Enabel Water Gaza Project. The infrastructure consists of water desalination systems using photo-voltaic energy without the use of batteries. In the village of Dzindzine, a three-kilometer long network of water distribution pipes was installed alongside a public fountain station with six taps as well as 22 individual household taps. This significantly reduces the distance and time taken to access drinkable water and allows the local population – especially women and children - to lead more productive lives. The water supply plant became operational in September 2018 and has increased access to safe and affordable drinking water to over 1,100 beneficiaries, while promoting the use of renewable energy for sustainable development.
Enabel’s efforts in achieving several SDGs across the globe can be evidenced through its many interventions, one of them being the Water Gaza project in Mozambique, whose widespread impact of reaching 57,000 people was only made possible due to enduring partnerships and unity towards a common goal.
This project contributed to the achievement of SDG 6 by improving access to clean water and sanitation, SDG 7 as renewable energy is used to power the desalination unit, SDG 3 of improved healthcare as water is now safe to drink, promotes better sanitation and is essential to living a healthy life, SDG 5 because women can spend more time on education and income generating activities, SDG 2 as water is essential to ensure farming activities and food security, and ultimately combat the challenges of climate change (SDG 13).
Enabel aims to build a sustainable world where women and men live under the rule of law and are free to thrive. As Queen Mathilde of Belgium stated, “Agenda 2030 is based on solidarity. Solidarity between countries and regions, cities and rural areas.”