No one in the world should be left behind

The European Development Days focused on tackling inequalities

Photo: EU Jean-Claude Juncker

The development community around the world held its vibrant get-together in Brussels on 18 and 19 June at the 13th edition of the European Development Days, known also as EDD. Launched in 2006 and hosted by the European Commission, EDD became the leading global forum on development cooperation.

Tour&Taxis was the venue that sheltered for these two days over 8,000 participants from 154 countries, among them presidents and prime ministers. The debate this year was dedicated to the topic 'Addressing inequalities: building a world which leaves no one behind'. Indeed, this is the 10th of the UN Sustainable Development Goals for 2030.

Saying that he is deeply convinced that Europe cannot and must not be a fortress with its back turned to the world, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker emphasised that solidarity and equality are not just nice words in the treaties “they are a duty that each and every one has”.

“We are one, because all individuals living on our planet have the same right to a life of dignity.” He also pointed out that the EU and its Member States are the main providers of aid for development. What we need is a true partnership between equals, creating mutual benefits, President Juncker asserted.

We need to reduce the gap between the richest and the poorest in the world and to promote inclusion of marginalised groups in society, Her Majesty Mathilde, Queen of the Belgians, stressed.

Paul Kagame, President of the Republic of Rwanda, underscored that “It is more important than ever that developing countries take more effective lead of their general development agenda".

Pointing out that during the legislature which is coming to an end the Parliament has placed a strong emphasis on sustainable and inclusive growth and development, EP President Antonio Tajani underscored that since the beginning of his mandate he has been advocating a real Marshall Plan for Africa backed by massive private sector investment.

A score of seminars, conferences and debates accented on why inequalities matter for sustainable development, understanding the structural causes of inequalities and working together better through more effective policies to address inequalities. And nowadays inequalities have different dimensions. It's a paradox, but as one of the participants recalled, in Africa one person out of two has a phone, but only one in three has access to water.

For Mbeka Mbumba Joelle, sculpture artist of Congo, and Bernard Yves Nanfack of Cameroun, it was a useful experience and a chance to talk with colleagues from the development community around the globe. Mbeka is running a foundation dedicated to education and preparing the young people for the labour market. Bernard Yves dedicates his efforts to helping people with disabilities in Cameroun to tackle the challenges they experience in their daily life, but also helping them to find a suitable job. He hopes that the application procedure for EU funding will be simplified for the people with disabilities in order to be more accessible for them.


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