European Development Days 2010

Highlights by Dag Ehrenpreis, NAI

European Development Days (EDD) is Europe’s foremost platform for dialogue and discussion on development issues—a jamboree of European development policy makers, analysts, advocates and practitioners including academics, journalists and other observers. European institutions and member governments as well as civil society and NGOs were represented and several leaders of developing countries participated. Among the speakers were Sweden’s Minister for International Development Cooperation, Gunilla Carlsson, and Norway’s State Secretary for International Development, Ingrid Fiskaa. Overall, about 7 000 people attended EDD 2010.

Last year, the event took place in Stockholm during the Swedish Presidency of the European Union. This year’s event was the fifth edition of EDD, organized jointly in Brussels 6-7 December by the European Commission and the Belgian Presidency of the European Union. It came at a decisive moment in European development policy-making. The Lisbon Treaty put new emphasis on poverty eradication, aid effectiveness and policy coherence. EDD was held less than two months after the UN High Level Summit on the Millennium Development Goals, one week after the formal creation of the EU’s ‘Foreign Ministry’, the European External Action Service, and during the consultation period on the Green Paper “EU development policy in support of inclusive growth and sustainable development – Increasing the impact of EU development policy".

The overall theme was how to more efficiently and effectively deliver aid for economic and social development, addressing issues such as food security, water, health, education, human rights, democracy and good governance including domestic accountability. EDD 2010 also focused on the special needs of the least developed countries and on global health policy, especially the problem of fake medicines.

One EDD panel examined the advantage of considering children's rights in development policy. A related seminar on the exchange of best practice examined the plight of children working in the cacao industry.

Another panel outlined the evolution of the EU's development policy and its role in supporting democracy in developing countries. Discussions on how to combat poverty through promoting gender equality were held, along with a debate on decent work and women’s rights.

Aid effectiveness from the perspective of local authorities was another panel theme. A high level panel discussed better service delivery through improved governance.

A special focus area this year was policy coherence towards the good governance of natural resources and its contribution to sustainable development. Several events were held including a high-level panel on the new Natural Resources Charter[1] for shared responsibility and mutual accountability and on the Revenue Watch Index, promoting good governance by revenue transparency.[2]

A series of reports and studies, including the European Report on Development 2010 (ERD), were released during the forum and discussed in separate panels. The ERD 2010[3] , “Social Protection for Inclusive Development—A New Perspective in EU Co-operation with Africa”, was produced in collaboration with NAI through Senior Economist Göran Holmqvist, who contributed a background paper[4].

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