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European Development Days Recognize Development as Common Challenge

European Union 28 November 2013: The European Development Days (EDD13) Forum, organized by the European Commission (EC), brought together over 5,000 government officials, UN agencies, development experts and others to discuss a vision for the post-2015 development agenda. EDD13, which took place from 26-27 November 2013, in Brussels, Belgium, under the theme ‘A decent life for all by 2030-Building a consensus for a new development agenda,' represented the EU's contribution to seeking a coherent and comprehensive response to poverty eradication and sustainable development.

Participants in EDD13's opening session reflected upon development as a common global challenge. Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, President of Liberia, called for negotiating the future “as member of one humanity with a common destiny.” José Manuel Barroso, EC President, identified climate change as "probably the most pressing global issue – the defining challenge – of our time." Noting that climate change "does not respect borders,” Barroso emphasized humanity's shared interest in tackling it together. Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, African Union Commission (AUC) Chairperson, urged "inclusive development" in a world "where human beings live in dignity, equality and prosperity."

Participants also recommended: finding a common approach and a shared agenda; strengthening partnerships; and sharing experiences. In a panel on 'Poverty eradication and climate change: Friends or foes?' speakers called for urgently addressing poverty eradication and climate change. Connie Hedegaard, EU Commissioner for Climate Action, cautioned that “we will not obtain the development and growth we need in the 21st century if we don't take account of climate change," and recommended  a coherent, integrated approach to development involving all sectors and employing a bottom-up and top-down approach.

Adriana Dinu, UN Development Programme (UNDP), warned that tackling extreme poverty "will be impossible if we do not address climate change." Aisa Kirabo Kacyira, UN Human Settlements Programme, (UN-HABITAT), said any effort "to combat poverty without operating in terms of development is doomed to failure.”

EDD13 included 80 interactive sessions to discuss, debate and brainstorm best practices for mainstreaming sustainability and poverty eradication. Discussions revolved around four themes: scaling up work towards basic living standards, including education, food security, nutrition and resilience and health; upholding human rights and ensuring equity and justice, including fragile states, peace and security, gender equality and women's empowerment; human rights and democratic governance; promoting drivers of inclusive and sustainable growth, including land, livelihoods and sustainability, employment and decent work, inclusiveness, equity and social inclusion; and towards a new partnership for development, including climate change, trade and the private sector, and financing beyond official development assistance (ODA).

Participants also discussed the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) and climate-smart agriculture.  The UN Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) organized events on: private sector development; trade capacity-building; green industry; food security and agribusiness; productive work for youth; and energy. [EDD13 Website] [EDD13 Press Releases] [EDD13 Video] [UNIDO Press Release] [IAEA Press Release]