European development days, 15-17 November 2008, Strasbourg

European development days, 15-17 November 2008, Strasbourg

Monday, 10 November, 2008

Poverty is the most urgent global crisis

This year’s European development days will focus on the consequences of the financial crisis for development, the local dimension of development and in particular on the role of local authorities, progress toward the millennium development goals, food and hunger, climate change, aid volumes and the media’s impact on development.

The development days are taking place at a strategically important time for Europeans and their partners – as Heads of States from the G20 group meet to discuss the financial crisis in Washington on the 15th of November 2008, and the UN prepares for the Doha review conference on financing for development.

At this time of global crisis, the most urgent crisis is poverty – requiring investment in development. Without it, the outlook is bleak, not just for the South but for countries in the North too. The 21st century needs consensus. The European Development Days opens the floor for debates, reflections and suggestions.

The Speakers and participants at this high-level political forum will include government heads and ministers from North and South, international political decision-makers and NGO leaders:

  • José Manuel BARROSO (president of the European Commission)
  • Jean PING (president of the African Union Commission)
  • François FILLON (French PM – France currently holds the EU presidency)
  • Wangari MAATHAI (Nobel peace prize winner 2004)
  • Jakaya KIKWETE (president of Tanzania, chair of the African Union)
  • Michelle BACHELET (president of Chile)
  • Blaise COMPAORE (president of Burkina Faso, chair of ECOWAS – the Economic Community of West African states – and UEMOA – the West African Economic and Monetary Union)
  • Amadou TOUMANI TOURE (president of Mali)
  • Josep BORRELL FONTELLES (president of the European Parliament's development committee)
  • Noerine KALEEBA (president of Action Aid International)
  • Anna TIBAIJUKA (executive director of the UN Human Settlements Programme)
  • Danny Leipziger (vice-president of the World Bank, poverty reduction and economic management network)

Starting in 2006 (governance) and continuing in 2007 (climate change), European development days have become a high-level fixture in European and international calendars. Each year up to 3000 participants representing some 1200 development and civil society organisations from every continent attend.

The development days provide a natural platform for debate – for public administrations, parliaments, local authorities, civil society, international organisations, academics, development agencies, media and the private sector. They offer an opportunity to tackle major challenges to development cooperation and launch new initiatives.

They also seek to enhance public awareness of . The public is invited to parallel events, including art exhibitions, festivals, concerts and workshops.

Winners of the EU’s youth prize for development will receive a trip to Africa, and the Lorenzo Natali prize will reward journalists from across the world for their commitment to human rights, democracy and development.

The EU is the biggest donor of development aid, accounting for 60% of the global amount (out of €76 billion of all official DAC donors contribution, €46 billion are committed by the EU countries and the European Commission combined – 2007 year figures).

More about the European development days: