Addressing inequalities: Key insights from Young Leaders to leave no one behind

Special Event
Wednesday, June 19, 2019
16:30 to 18:00

All EDD closing ceremonies are a special moment – but this edition’s might be even more so. As a cycle draws to a close, it will be a time for reflection; it will be a time for celebration; but most importantly, it will be a time for gathering and enjoyment.

The session " Addressing inequalities: Key insights from Young Leaders to leave no one behind" will be built around the crucial role of youth to make the world a more inclusive place. Three Young Leaders invited to partake in the High-Level Panels will deliver their views on how change can be mainstreamed at a global scale, in a two-way dialogue with representatives of the civil society and international organisations. 

Moderated by Director-General Stefano Manservisi, this session will bring together familiar faces in the development and cooperation world and the new global generation of change-makers. Guests will feature Arancha González,

Key points

  • European Development Days have grown in popularity.
  • Young people are key to reducing inequalities and should be included in decision-making processes.
  • EU cooperation with other actors such as the World Bank must be protected.
  • Creating decent jobs can alleviate inequalities.
  • Public-private partnerships work well and should continue across the African Union.


A number of metrics from European Development Days (EDD) 2019 were presented in this closing session. There were 8,700 more registrations than last year, 180 journalists attended and 50 media partnerships were established, creating even more awareness of the issues at hand. In addition, the high level of debate and enthusiasm indicated that this year’s theme of inequality was of great interest to participants. It was pointed out that 42 % of the world’s population is under 25 years of age, while 64 % of young people in Latin America are living in poverty. It is clear that creating decent jobs for this younger group is the key to combating inequality and poverty. Global inequality was expertly illustrated through a number of shocking photos, which show what is happening in India, Brazil and South Africa. These images are important as they can speak louder than words and spur action from the top. A growing number of young people and the most vulnerable want to, and should, be included in the decision-making process. They are in a unique position of finding the path to equality. Young people are already part of the process. Today’s youth, for example, are demanding unprecedented action on climate change, reminding politicians that there is an emergency and they want action and accountability now. It was pointed out that young people will have to change jobs throughout their lives – much more so than previous generations. As a result, learning new skills will be crucial. Another area highlighted was partnerships, not only with government but also with the private sector, which are vital for infrastructure projects in poorer regions. The session featured a music interlude from a project that took place last year in Addis Ababa, the Ethiopian capital. Called MAISHA, which means “life” in Swahili, the project brought together 12 musicians from the African Union and the EU to co-create music, helping to reduce inequalities through the art of music. The strength of the EU’s partnership with the World Bank, UN agencies, the International Monetary Fund and other financial institutions was emphasised and must be cherished, it was maintained. Finally, there was a snapshot of EDD since its inception in 2006. A lot has been achieved and the future is in great hands.


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Organised by


Stefano Manservisi
European Commission - DG for International Cooperation and Development
Margaret Orech
Uganda Landmine Survivors Association
Neven Mimica
European Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development
European Commission
Samuel Yirga Mitiku
Arancha Gonzalez
Executive Director
International Trade Center
Rejoice Namale
Young Leader - Malawi
Mwala Mooto
Young Leader - Zambia
Leticia Pinheiro Rizério Carmo
Young Leader - Brazil
Magic System
Alicia Bárcena
Executive Secretary
Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean