The eradication of poverty and ensuring that prosperity and wellbeing are sustainable are two of the most pressing challenges facing the world today. These challenges are universal, interrelated and need to be addressed together by all countries.
The European Union (EU) is involved in global discussions on the development agenda after 2015 – the deadline for achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) – placing particular emphasis on building towards an intensive exchange with non-state actors.
Public consultations, dialogue with strategic partners and wide-ranging research have fed into the EU position on an overarching framework. Through its February 2013 Communication ‘A Decent Life for All’ and the ensuing Council Conclusions, the EU states five building blocks for a post-2015 agenda:
- Basic, universal living standards under which no-one should fall. Even if all MDGs are reached, much unfinished business will remain to eradicate poverty and further human development.
- The promotion of ‘drivers’ of inclusive, sustainable growth. Investing in infrastructure or energy, for example, creates growth and decent jobs, whilst boosting human development.
- Sustainable management of natural resources. This is vital if we are to halt environmental degradation.
- Equality, equity and justice. Not only are these values in themselves, but also fundamental for sustainable development.
- Tackling insecurity and state fragility, which impede sustainable development.
Several international processes relevant to the post-2015 agenda are ongoing. Commitments made at the Rio+20 Conference in June 2012 initiated work to develop Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs); a High Level Panel on the post-2015 development agenda recently published its recommendations for the post-2015 agenda; and a broad United Nations-led consultation process is ongoing. Recently, the UN Secretary-General published his report ‘A life of dignity for all’, which builds on these inputs. In addition, an MDG Special Event will take place in New York, USA on 25 September, which will also give recommendations on the way forward towards a post-2015 agreement.
This work will provide further impetus for the development of a framework that would offer a coherent and comprehensive response to the universal challenges of poverty eradication and sustainable development in its economic, social and environmental dimensions.
Against this backdrop, the eighth edition of European Development Days will discuss, debate and foster consensus on the EU’s objective to set a globally-agreed, ambitious framework that addresses poverty eradication and sustainable development, and ensures a decent life for all by 2030.
Under the thread of this year’s edition – ‘A vision for the post-2015 agenda’ – this year’s forum is structured around four themes. Each theme will be composed of three topics and each topic will be highlighted by an auditorium panel and a series of lab sessions.