Brussels, 28 November 2013 - European Development Days 2013 has helped to bridge gaps and close loops in the international development agenda. With its emphasis on a comprehensive and coherent approach, it has reinforced the growing trend towards seeing development as an issue for every country, and every citizen on an agenda for the whole of humanity.
When he opened EDD13 on Tuesday, José Manuel Barroso, President of the European Commission, remarked on the need to bridge gaps in development, with the ambition "to construct a reinforced world-level partnership, based on solidarity with the poorest people, and an acceptance that the world of the 21st century is unquestionably interdependent and destined for integration".
The recurrent theme among the dozens of plenary sessions, workshops and panel discussions over the last two days has been this interdependence – between issues, and between players. The challenges are universal, interrelated and need to be addressed together by all countries. The discussions have repeatedly highlighted links – between climate change and the limits of natural resources, between poverty, conflict and migration, between gender equality, equity and justice, and between education and inclusive and sustainable growth. EDD13 has presented a panorama of global issues that demand global engagement, a forward-looking development agenda and true international cooperation. It has contributed to a vision of a world where every man, every woman, every child lives in dignity and prosperity. As Barroso said, "it is both a human imperative and a matter of strategic intelligence".
There was general agreement that that there should be a comprehensive and universal framework bringing together developed and developing countries. At the closing session, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, President of Liberia, noted a consensus on the need for a post-2015 global agenda. MDGs were presented as a unifying force: "Now we should come together on a new agenda", she said, emphasising the importance of involving civil society and the private sector too. The focus, she suggested, should be on combating poverty, education, but also protecting the planet, sustainability, youth unemployment, empowerment of women, infrastructure development. "The most difficult part in getting the consensus necessary will be the negotiation among countries, ensuring that each region feels it is engaged. The way to do it is through gaining support for the idea of one humanity". "This time we're talking about mutual responsibility –it’s a different ball game – we all commit to common goals for common humanity".
Jan Eliasson, Deputy Secretary General, United Nations, said it was time to prove that multilateralism works. "A good international formula for facing migration, climate and these issues is to persuade every nation that a solution is in its national interest. It requires accepting universality".
Dr Debapriya Bhattacharya, Chair of Southern Voices on Post-MDGs at the Centre for Policy Dialogue, noted the risk of a participation deficit, including among the developing countries, often for lack of money, resources and expertise. He suggested that the developed world might also be guilty of an ambition deficit. "We will need an inclusive outcome, but the processes must be transparent too". Winnie Byanyima, Executive Director of Oxfam International, highlighted the importance within any partnership approach of ensuring that change was aimed at eliminating inequality – particularly income inequality. "This is not just morally repugnant, but also bad for economic and social progress", she said.
The need for wide engagement and closer links across different issues was reflected repeatedly in earlier sessions. Flavia Pansieri, Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights, United Nations, told the meeting: "We are all players: as governments, as institutions, as individuals. We all have a moral responsibility to make sure that the work we do is inspired by principles of respect for the dignity of others." El Khidir Daloum, Director of Programmes at Saferworld, underlined the need to establish an environment in which development – and investment in development – is possible: "Security and development are clearly twins; they are inseparable and indivisible". And making progress in development is not just a matter for governments, said Sufian Ahmed, Minister for Finance and Economic Development, Ethiopia. "Without the private sector we cannot sustain economic growth." Similarly, as Dr Pacificah Florence Okemwa, Lecturer on Gender and Development Studies, Kenyatta University, Kenya, explained: "Enabling African youth to obtain education is not just about safeguarding their human dignity, but also working towards ensuring sustainable development." As Heidi Hautala, former Minister for International Development, Finland & President, Green European Foundation, said: "Much less will be achieved if we do not pay attention to the development impact of all policies."
There has been progress. The proportion of the population living on less than 1.25 dollars a day has fallen from 43 % in 1990 to 22 % in 2010. The number of people without access to drinking water has been halved over the same period. Primary school inscriptions in developing countries are up by an average of 90 %, with young girls having almost the same chance of going to school as boys. Children are at much less risk of fatal disease or malnutrition. EU aid has helped provide qualified health professionals who have assisted at 7.5 million births.
But huge and urgent problems remain. Millions remain trapped in poverty. Too many women and babies struggle to survive childbirth. Stable access to nutritious food remains a luxury for millions. Youth unemployment, soil erosion, unequal access to healthcare and many other problems persist. To overcome them, development aid remains as vital as ever.
Eliasson stressed the need for action now in his remarks to the closing session. "We should speed up implementation on MDGs – particularly on issues such as sanitation. And there is a need for new instruments for financing development – with more involvement of the private sector," he said. And many speakers in earlier sessions highlighted the urgency of action. Florence Chenoweth, Minister for Agriculture, Liberia, cautioned that "Our world is becoming a less predictable and more threatening place for the hungry and most vulnerable." Noting that many people are still suffering from hunger and malnutrition, Dr Shenggen Fan, Director General, International Food Policy Research Institute, said: "We cannot wait. We must take urgent action."
With only two years to go before the deadline that was set for completing the MDGs, EDD13 has helped to build consensus around its central theme of ‘A vision for the post-2015 agenda’. "They shaped national policy," said Andris Piebalgs, EU Commissioner for Development, as he closed the EDD13. "It is important to build on that to define a single robust framework", he said. "But we have to convince every nation that the framework is in their national interest."
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02 December 2013 - PDF versionMore informations
Brussels, 28 November 2013 – "We will not obtain the development and growth we need in the 21st century if we don't take account of climate change", predicted Connie Hedegaard, EU Commissioner for Climate Action, at EDD13. Fresh in from the COPS 19 international climate change talks in Warsaw, and in a direct reference to the catastrophic Haiyan typhoon in The Philippines, the Commissioner warned: "If we don't get this right, then what gets washed away is development".
Now, in the wake of the Warsaw conference, the EU is starting to prepare its position, she went on. "We can do better in linking climate change and development", she said."We are doing our homework ready to deliver next year. "In mid-January the Commission will present its targets in time for a discussion at the summit of EU leaders in March".
"We need to break away from the old ways of thinking", she said. It is no longer appropriate to work in terms of separate responsibilities for environment or finance or energy. "We have to think things through across the board, and take a more coherent approach to defining our development strategies." She also stressed the need for coherence among a wide range of stakeholders. It was important to employ a bottom-up as well as a top-down process, she said. "If we are going to be effective in climate change we must involve all sectors", she said, suggesting that the results of the Warsaw meeting showed that "bottom-up efforts had not been big enough".
Her view was widely supported by other members of a panel entitled "Poverty eradication & climate change: Friends or foes?". Adriana Dinu, Deputy Executive Coordinator, Global Environment Facility, United Nations Development Programme said "There is no doubt that climate change threatens poverty reduction efforts worldwide". She warned that for the 1bn who live in extreme poverty, "any gains will be impossible if we do not address climate change".
Thijs Berman, a Member of the European Parliament's committee on development, also shared the opinion: "It is impossible to define a development policy that isn't linked to climate change", he said.
Aisa Kirabo Kacyira, Deputy Executive Director of the United Nations Human Settlements Programme, UN-Habitat, not only endorsed the need for a stronger link between the two subjects, but also expressed impatience at the lack of progress in turning words into action. "We have been talking for years", she said. There has been economic growth, but it has not eased the situation for many people – particularly the urban poor in the developed world, crammed into slums in eco-fragile areas such as swamps on the edge of cities, because the slums grow faster than the policy actions that could alter the underlying circumstances for the existence of slums. "Trying to combat poverty without operating in terms of development is doomed to failure", she said.
Ibrahim Thiaw, Deputy Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme also recognised that "We are slow at dealing with the mess we have created". Despite ample evidence about climate change and its negative impact on the world's poorest, "How is it that we know we can fix it but we don't act quickly enough to curb the problem?" he asked. "If you want to solve problems in countries with many people living in poverty, you have to factor in climate change", he said.
Frédéric Bontems, Director for Development Policies and Global Public Goods at the French Foreign Ministry pointed out that poverty and climate change "used to be thought of as different subjects", but "We have to see them as a common problem now". He saw the spirit of climate change talks taking on an increasing awareness of the needs of the poorest and of the most vulnerable.
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28 November 2013 - PDF versionMore informations
Brussels, 27 November 2013 – Women in positions of political influence have a major role in advancing gender equality in developing countries, but the successor targets to the MDGs must promote change within society as a whole, too, a high-level panel recognised today in a discussion at EDD13.
Portia Simpson-Miller, serving her second term as the Prime Minister of Jamaica, said that although women now take a more prominent role in Jamaica in politics, and the country now provides equal pay for equal work, "we still need to move forward". Women "have always been the backbone of Jamaica, they have always found a way to feed their families and to push their men", she said. "But we still need to push for policies for women". Key improvements that are needed, in her view, are better financing for women's issues ("political will is not enough"), and greater change among boys. Women are more numerous in the West Indies university, she pointed out: "We need our boys to be educated too, so that our better educated women can find themselves suitable mates!"
Julia Duncan-Cassell, Minister for Gender and Development of Liberia – a country that has re-elected a woman president – said: "Even if we have a strong president in our country, we need to work on all levels. So it is vital that there are targets assure the rights of women and girls to live free from violence and in a world full of opportunity".
Contrasting the central role of women in Jamaican society to the experience in Liberia, where women were abused and maltreated through many years of civil war, Duncan-Cassell said: "In gender equality, there is no one-size-fits-all solution". Men have long held the upper hand, and it was only when women "played a pivotal role in bringing an end to civil war" that they began to gain any leverage. Even now, women are still only thinly represented in politics, and "we have to work three times harder because men have the money". "Having a woman as head of state doesn't solve everything", she concluded.
John Hendra, Deputy Executive Director, United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women, agreed that it was imperative to focus on the role of men and boys. It was, he said, necessary to anchor the understanding that development and growth require effective enforcement of gender equality. He cited survey data suggesting that high incidences of male violence against women were associated not only with issues of status, poverty, or alcoholism, but also with a sense of impunity. "We have to resocialise men and rethink masculinity", he said.
"We need new goals to ensure we get rid of structural constraints and power relations that are the root causes of gender inequality", said Hendra. "We must focus on violence, on unequal access to resources, on getting women more fully involved in decision making in the private as well as the public sector".
Joanna Maycock, President of the European NGO Confederation for Relief and Development – CONCORD – argued that since "inequality is not an accident, but is something that men and women have created", it was necessary to work together to remedy that. But she saw hope for change not only through innovative approaches to business and to economic empowerment of women, but through other novel factors, such as a generation of young women who connect with one another through social media in new forms of activism. "This can unleash the power of women", she said.
Ismat Jahan, Vice-chairwoman of the UN Commission for the Elimination of Discrimination against Women, said: "Women unfortunately face discrimination due to the mindset of traditional attitudes that need to be changed". Jahan is from Bangladesh, which has a woman prime minister, a woman leader of the opposition, and many women in government – but she admitted that the status of women in public life is not fully reflected at grassroots level. "We have work to do to mobilise women who are poor", she said.
Ambassador Mara Marinaki, Managing Director for Global and Multilateral Issues in the European External Action Service remarked that although the MDGs may not have been perfect or perfectly accomplished, "they did put gender quality on the map". "Now we have to make them equal parties in society", she said.
For further quotes of high level speakers, please visit: http://eudevdays.eu/press/quotes
You can follow EDD13 live on: http://eudevdays.eu/audiovisual/web-streaming
27 November 2013 - PDF versionMore informations
The recognition that development is a common challenge for the entire world was the dominant message from the opening session of the EDD13. „a clear vision of an interdependent world, in which problems in one place affect us all“ was how Ellen Johnson sirleaf, president of Liberia, summarised the ambition.
Sharing a platform with prime ministers and presidents from developing countries, she spoke of negotiating the future "not as north, south, east, west, poor, rich – but as members of one humanity with a common destiny".
The message found its echo in the remarks of senior European union figures. José Manuel Barroso, president of the European Commission, said "the fight against poverty and the fight for sustainability" are "two sides of the same coin - one cannot be achieved without the other". He went on: "Together I believe we have what it takes to [...] succeed in our fight against poverty, for sustainability, for human dignity – because development is also a matter of human rights".
Taking the example of climate change, "probably the most pressing global issue – the defining challenge – of our time", Barroso underlined that since "by definition it does not respect borders, we have a fundamental shared inter- est in tackling it together."
Andris Piebalgs, EU Commissioner for Development, added: "The global challenges we face require global an- swers and global actions."
EDD13 is providing a forum for bringing together a wide range of ideas to help create a vision for the post-2015 agenda. it is the EU‘s contribution to seeking a coherent and comprehensive response to the universal challenges of poverty eradication and development that is sustainable in economic, social and environmental terms.
Stressing the need for joint efforts in tackling the challenges of development, Mahamadou Issoufou, President of Niger, said he welcomed this "opportunity to share our experiences“.
Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, Chairperson of the African Union Commission, also urged a move towards "inclusive development", expressing the ambition that this EDD13 will lead to a word "where human beings live in dignity, equality and prosperity".
José Maria Pereira Neves, Prime Minister of Cape Verde, spoke of the need for sustainable solutions and a common approach. "Cape Verde and africa need partnerships with the international community [...] This is a win-win situation – it’s in both of our interests."
The emphasis was on a shared agenda, in acknowledgement of the necessity to shift from viewing development as an issue for poorer countries to a challenge for the entire world.
Sirleaf took a strategic view of the challenge: "Where does africa want to be 30 years from now, and where does the world want to be 30 years from now?", she asked – expressing the hope for "a new world of true partnership".
The challenges remain. Sirleaf noted that for all the progress towards meeting some of the MDGs: "Two years from the 2015 deadline, africa’s progress remains uneven".
Portia Simpson-Miller, Prime Minister of Jamaica, pointed out: "We still live in a world divided by power and wealth", but she too recognised an "emerging global reality".
For further quotes of high level speakers, please visit:http://eudevdays.eu/press/quotes
You can follow EDD13 live on: http://eudevdays.eu/audiovisual/web-streaming
27 November 2013 - PDF versionMore informations
Tackling poverty in developing countries should be one of the main priorities of the European Union, according to 66% of EU citizens. Seven out of ten people (69%) believe that helping these countries is also good for the EU, benefiting its citizens. These are some key results from a Eurobarometer survey to be published today at the European Development Days in Brussels (26-27 November).
Despite the economic crisis, more EU citizens are now willing to pay more for groceries and products that support developing countries (48% of respondents, which represents an increase of 4 percentage points since 2012). 83% of respondents, meanwhile, think that it is important to help people in developing countries and 61% are of the opinion that aid should be increased.
European Commissioner for Development, Andris Piebalgs, commented: "I am very encouraged to see that EU citizens support global solidarity and believe that together we can make a real difference in overcoming poverty. Big challenges lie ahead of us: ensuring that we achieve the Millennium Development Goals and make poverty a thing of the past. For the way forward we all need to work together - the global community should agree on an ambitious joint agenda for the eradication of poverty and sustainable development. Today’s survey has a clear message: Europeans stand ready to play their role in this.”
EU citizens think that future development policy should focus on employment (44% of respondents), health (33%), economic growth (31%) and education (30%).
The Special Eurobarometer "EU Development Aid and the Millennium Development Goals" is to be presented by Commissioner Piebalgs at the European Development Days (EDDs). The event is bringing together Heads of State and Governments from Africa with EU institutions, EU ministers, representatives of UN institutions, civil society, academia and the private sector. Discussions are focusing on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and the need for a strong European position to addressing global poverty and sustainable development after 2015. The event provides a unique opportunity for stakeholders, donors and key players in development to come together to contribute to the EU vision for development, post-2015.
Main EU trends
Personal commitment to development is growing. 48% of Europeans are willing to pay more for groceries and products that support developing countries, an increase of 4 percentage points since 2012. Large increases can be found in some countries that were hit hard by the economic crisis: Ireland (47%, +12), Latvia (27%, +8) and Spain (+7).
Support for development and aid remains high. 83% think that it is important to help people in developing countries, compared to 85% last year. In contrast, the number of people who are in favour of the EU increasing its aid remains stable, at 61%.
Young people feel particularly concerned by development issues and committed to resolving them. Young people in particular think that they can play a role as an individual in tackling poverty in developing countries. While 61% of 15-24 year-olds believe this, only 45% of people aged 55 and over take the same view.
53% of 15-24 year-olds are ready to pay more for products if this helps developing countries, compared with 45% of respondents aged 55 or above. Younger respondents are also more likely to think that tackling poverty in developing countries should be one of the main priorities both of the EU and of their national government.
The EDDs will give the floor to a number of youth ambassadors from all corners of the European Union and the world who will be invited to challenge the event's panellists with questions.
More results of the Special Eurobarometer
While most respondents (66%) think that tackling poverty in developing countries should be one of the main priorities of the European Union, only 48% think that it should be one of the main priorities of their own national government.
Only a small number of respondents (6%) have heard of or read about the MDGs and know what they are. When given a list of MDGs, Europeans believe that the most difficult ones to achieve over the next decade are eradicating poverty, achieving gender equality and stopping the spread of HIV/AIDS.
Around one respondent in ten (12%) correctly estimates the number of people in the world who live on less than $1 a day (between 500 million and 1 billion).
For further information
The Special Eurobarometer, including country-specific fact sheets for all EU Member States can be found at:
Website of the European Commissioner for Development, Andris Piebalgs:
Website of EuropeAid Development and Cooperation DG:
Website of the European Development Days:
26 November 2013 - PDF versionMore informations
Education, employment and health are key in fight against poverty, say world’s youth
Young people from Latvia, Brazil, Croatia and russia, aged between 13 and 24 have scooped top honours in a global online vote.
The four young people were crowned winners of the European Commission’s prestigious ‘Young Voices against pov- erty’ video contest today, which was organised in the run-up to the European Development Days 2013 (EDD13), to be held in Brussels on 26 and 27 november.
participants from 57 countries weighed in as to what they would change in the fight against poverty and the high levels of interest were testament to the engagement of young people in what is a crucial period for the future direc- tion of global development cooperation.
The contest took place against a backdrop of global discussions and debates on a post-2015 follow-up framework to the millennium Development Goals and the European union’s vision and commitment to ensuring a decent life for all by 2030; the focus of this year’s European Development Days.
many of the two-minute video submissions asserted that education, employment and health were key to ending pov- erty, while others called for increased solidarity and inclusiveness. some entries included passionate calls to action, while others made use of creative images and music.
andré from Brazil thinks that the key is to ‘teach people how to live in society’, and provide them with the knowledge to develop better economic practices, while nina from Croatia believes in generosity, saying that the rich are not the ones who have a lot, but the ones who give a lot. ‘small acts are significant’, she asserts. anastasija from Latvia also stresses that access to free medicine, education and employment will help to eradicate poverty, while Evelina from russia calls on us to open our eyes to those in need and insists on the notion of sharing.
Klaus rudischhauser, Deputy Director General of the European Commission’s Directorate General for Development Cooperation – Europeaid calls it a collective victory: “We are delighted with the number of participants, the number of nationalities represented and the variety of creative submissions on show. although only four winners were chosen through the online public vote, everyone who has taken part in this contest can consider themselves to be a winner and i urge them to continue the fight against poverty and to continue to have their say and make their voices heard. it is their generation’s future at stake, after all.”
The winners are:
Evelina, ufa, republic of Bashkortostan, russian Federation
Anastasija, Daugavpils, Latvia
André, Fortaleza, Brazil
Nina, Zagreb, Croatia
They will attend the European Development Days on 26-27 november, held at the ‘Tour & Taxis’ venue in Brussels, where they will join world leaders, donors, key stakeholders and decision-makers in the field of development.
For more information about the winning videos, please visit: http://eudevdays.eu/content/young-voices-against-poverty-what-would-you-change-have-your-say-1
For the latest news, views, announcements and information on European Development Days 2013 in the run-up to the forum, visit: http://eudevdays.eu/
Organised by the European Commission, European Development Days is Europe’s premier forum on international af- fairs and development cooperation. Over the years, European Development Days has been one of the fastest-growing international forums and has become a landmark event in the development calendar. Launched in 2006, its scope and scale has increased each year, as links with new networks are made, relationships with new partners are forged and new platforms are created.
14 November 2013 - PDF versionMore informations
Organised by the European Commission