In 2011, the sixth edition of European Development Days took place in Warsaw, Poland. A fantastic venue (Warsaw’s Copernicus Science Centre) and a well-organised forum awaited participants despite its restricted size. The European Development Days took place a year after the first wave of civil unrest and protest swept the Arab world, leading to revolutions in Tunisia and Egypt and civil war in Libya.
Organised by the Polish Presidency of the Council of the European Union in conjunction with the European Commission, EDD11 focused on development and democracy as a major theme, but also took in other sub-themes including human rights, the European Commission’s Agenda for Change, and the transition from an aid effectiveness to a development effectiveness paradigm.
Held in Warsaw, this year’s edition of Development Days was particularly poignant as many countries which were former recipients of development aid – such as the host, Poland – stepped-up to become integral parts of the development community as donors. In addition, many European countries as well as some from Central Asia shared their invaluable insights into making the transition from closed and controlled economies and societies, to increasingly transparent, capitalist alternatives.
Eminent speakers, including former President of the Kyrgyz Republic, Roza Otunbaeva, provided food for thought as to the inability of tyranny to withstand the democratic aspirations of the young generation. This observation was particularly relevant considering the backdrop of revolutions and tumult across the Arab world, against which EDD11 took place. Several representatives from these regions attended EDD11 to share their experiences and challenges, as well as the hopes and dreams of citizens living in societies on the brink of democracy. As such, special addresses were given by Mohamed Beji Caid Essebsi, Interim Prime Minister of Tunisia, and Mustafa Mohammed Abdul Jalil, Chairman of the National Transition Council of Libya.
With 19 High Level Panels organised, a number of special addresses, and the photo contest ‘Lens on Development’ accompanying the main programme, participants had a range of stimulating and useful opportunities to engage with each other and drive the development agenda forwards.
The European Development Days continued to promote low-emission practices and to strive to ensure a carbon netural forum.
15-16 December 2011 (2 days)
2 000 delegates
• More than 2 000 committed development stakeholders from over 139 countries came together.
• The photo contest ‘Lens on Development’ – which aimed to highlight global development issues through the medium of photography – considered more than 800 entrants from all over the EU, and the award ceremony coincided with EDD11.
• European Commission President, José Manuel Barroso announced a 40 % increase in funding to promote democracy and human rights.
•The World Bank’s, World Development Report 2011 which focuses on gender equality for the first time in 30 years, was discussed in a special HLP entitled ‘Supporting Change through Advocating More Power to Women’.
•Poignant special addresses from the Arab world included speeches given by Mohamed Beji Caid Essebsi, Interim Prime Minister of Tunisia, and Mustafa Mohammed Abdul Jalil, Chairman of the National Transition Council of Libya.