In November 2008, the third edition of the European Development Days took place in Strasbourg, France. EDD08 was held at a key moment – just a few weeks before the Doha Conference on Financing for Development, and in parallel with the G-20 Summit in Washington, D.C. EDD08 allowed hundreds of speakers to interact, debate, and exchange views on a whole range of subjects. The main theme – the local dimension of development – placed at the heart of the debate the issues of local governance, decentralised cooperation, and the role of local authorities and civil society – those closest to citizens – in development. The Millennium Development Goals, the issue of ‘Media and Development’ and the sub-theme ‘Youth and Education’ were also the subjects of high-level discussions.
EDD08 also represented a key moment in the endeavour to sustain the high-level presence at the European Development Days: despite the clash with the G-20 Summit in Washington, D.C. which triggered many last-minute cancellations, the forum attracted a dozen heads of state or government and Nobel laureates. Prominent figures in attendance included Mrs Wangari Maathai, winner of the 2004 Nobel Peace Prize ; Mr Jean Ping, Chairperson of the African Union Commission ; the leader of the Movement for Democratic Change of Zimbabwe, Morgan Tsvangirai ; Angélique Kidjo, singer and activist from Benin ; and Aminata Traoré, Malian essayist and activist.
The programme was very intense with, at times, up to nine sessions running simultaneously. EDD08 served as a showcase for the diversity of development stakeholders, thanks to an open and inclusive organisation process. Everyone had the possibility to organise a High Level Panel, a network meeting, or to set-up a stand. Nearly 40 High Level Panels and workshops were held in a spirit of multi-player dialogue and partnership. In addition, more than 50 bilateral or network meetings were also organised and the 125+ stands in the Development Village gave hundreds of organisations – one tenth of which heralded from the South – the opportunity to present their projects, ideas, and visions.
The European Development Days continued its tradition as a world-leading environmentally-friendly forum by achieving 15 % carbon offset on the basis of voluntary contributions.
15-17 November 2008 (3 days)
4 500 delegates
• 100 twinning agreements were signed between European and partner local authorities.
• The launch of the French charter on decentralised cooperation paved the way for Platforma: the European charter on decentralised cooperation (http://www.platforma-dev.eu/).
• EDD08 allowed local authorities to meet with their partners within the European Commission to strengthen mutual dialogue and laid the foundations for the creation of the Assises de la cooperation décentralisée (March 2011).
• The forum was 15 % carbon offset on the basis of voluntary contributions.
• There were 115 exhibitors in the Development Village.
• UNDP seized the opportunity presented by the European Development Days to unveil
its Human Development Report.
• The award ceremony for the Lorenzo Natali Journalism Prize proved a rewarding and much-appreciated addition to the programme.
•Prime Minister of Zimbabwe, Morgan Tsvangirai, delivered a memorable address at the closing ceremony.