European Year for Development 2015: A year of discussion and action in Europe on global development: our world, our dignity, our future.

More than 130 participants took part in one-day conference on the European Year for Development 2015 -organized by CONCORD and DEEEP- at the European Economic and Social Committee on May 16th.
Representatives from European Institutions, Members States, CONCORD’s network members, local and regional authorities, and development education experts were brought together to join the discussion and help set up the architecture of the first year devoted to external action.
The event kicked off with a presentation by Marius Wanders, CONCORD Board member and World Vision International EU Director. This presentation included a brief overview of the previous European Years, critical success factors for European Years and the slogan decided by the EU for the year (“Our World. Our Dignity. Our Future”). Marius also introduced and ‘brought to life’ the key target audience for our messages in EYD2015: the Average Joes and Plain Janes living as citizens in EU countries. He included the key messages that CONCORD proposes to engage and mobilise citizens like Joe and Jane in the EU during the Year.
Marius concluded by highlighting some megatrends that are changing the face of the development sector and identifying some strategic shifts needed to take account of such megatrends. ‘We need to engage the best thinkers within and beyond our sector in reflecting what the world will look like in the next 20-30 years and how we as actors for development need to change accordingly’, he said.
According to Andris Gobins, the European Economic and Social Committee representative, now it’s the time for inspiring, participative, coherent and global synergies. ‘We need a mix of all the players in order to reach decisions that will impact development’, he added.
Stina Soewarta, Head of Unit Communication and Transparency at European Commission – Development & Cooperation encouraged civil society to play an active role in giving ideas for the year and taking part in 2015’s activities and events.
‘EYD2015 is an emblematic year’ and should be seen as both a challenge and an opportunity, said Laszlo Vizi, Ambassador and Senior Advisor of Hungary’s Foreign Affairs Ministry.
Concord’s proposed key messages for the year to come were also introduced:
Universality: Global challenges need global answers, in Europe and
everywhere / Think globally at local level.
Solidarity: All need to act, not for others but with others.
-Engagement: Join us on the march towards “Our World, Our Dignity, Our Future”
Support for real change: The EU supports change agents, and you can be one, too!
-Responsibility: It is not about “what we give” but about “how we live”
The European year for Development should act as a catalyst for raising awareness, including through political debate and development education: empowering actors that work for a sustainable world: both North and South and ensuring that the EU is supporting those actors in their work.
Background Info
EYD2015 is a timely choice, as 2015 will be the year when the Millennium Development Goals come to their target date, and the decision on a follow-up global development framework will be taken.
Furthermore, climate change discussion will meet a cumulating point with the COP21 in Paris in December 2015. There is a great chance to put development and global justice prominently in the public debate, and to make this year the biggest development education activity in Europe ever.
CONCORD EYD2015 Task Force is chaired by Inese Vaivare, Lapas Latvian National Platform Director and Stefan Grasgruber-Kerl, member of the Austrian National Platform. Marius Wanders (from World Vision International), Tobias Troll (from DEEEP) and Marco Boaria (from ALDA) are the members of the Steering Group.