Title: Reporting from the European Development Days on the Sustainable development Goals in Action
Author: Mohamed Yassin
Date: 07-03-2016, 02:22 PM
02:22 PM July, 03 2016
Sudanese OnlineReporting from the European Development Days on the Sustainable development Goals in Action: Our World, Our Dignity, Our Future
By: Mohamed Yassin
On the 15th to the 16th of June 2016 in Brussels, the beating heart of the European international development cooperation concluded the 10th Edition of the European Development Days (EDD), a gathering of the International development community focusing on the European desire and motivations to be a leading player in the international development cooperation domain. The EDDs is a very interactive platform in which one can meet, talk, debate, challenge, solve, establish and share links with several key figures and personalities of pioneering roles in the international development and cooperation policies, head of states and assisting teams, executive directors of important global institutions, banks, foundations, academia, INGOs, CSOs, youth leaders, gender advocates, commissioners, artists, media outlets and the list is long to be mentioned all. The 2016 EDD focus was prioritized on the macro-theme of the Sustainable Development Goals in Action: Our World, Our Dignity, Our Future. i.e. The SDGs and its 5Ps (Peace, Prosperity, People, Planet and Partnership.). This annual gathering has mobilized almost 6.000 concerned persons to Brussels, ranging from the Secretary General of the United Nation Ban Ki-moon, the president of the World Bank Group Jim Yong Kim, invited Presidents of Kenya; Mauritius; Burkina Faso; Central African Republic; Prime Ministers of Ethiopia; Timor-Leste and Samoa; in addition to the European Parliament, Coalition of European NGOs led by CONCORD Europe, Action Aid International, Oxfam and the UNSG advisor on the 2030 Agenda, Voice of Libyan Women, the EU commissioners, the Queen of the Belgians, the Vice-President of European Commission, High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy as well as the President of the European Commission and my self as humble academic. Key speakers and moderators articulated and guided the two days event in major sessions, project labs and multi-stakeholders presentations and debates. The EDDs was integrated and enriched by artistic laboratories, photo expo, exhibitions, cultural programs and performances, an EDD global village in addition to two important fora, which played a complementary and decorative part of this development summit. The global village was intended to be a crossroads for interaction, innovation and networking central space for showcasing successful projects and groundbreaking reports from around the globe rotating on the 5Ps. The Inclusive Exhibitions featured the Withered Flowers; Goals for Girls Post-2015; Culture Under Attack; 60 Solutions; Freddy Tsimba, and Congo Eza, while the Performances have featured the Dadili; Jumping Village; Shakespeare Hip Hop; François Bamba (Storyteller); Graffiti Art and The Nile Project. The EU resilience forum which is series of dialogues between donors, civil society organizations, think tanks, and partners countries aiming at the promotion of concerted practical actions on local risk management and vulnerability reduction to support the seventeen objectives of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the World Humanitarian Summit 2016. The debate was ignited on the resilience on the ground especially where there are protracted displacement and chronic vulnerability in fragile settings. Another important forum was the EU-Africa Business forum as a follow-up workshop. This forum was a part of the Joint Africa-EU Strategy (JAES) aiming at discussing the engagement of the private sector in development and mobilization of resources to stimulate growth and contribute to the achievement of the SDGs in Africa and Europe. It was bi-session forum debated the impact of investing in Africa as well as the role of the public-Private-Partnerships in the Sustainable Energy. Vivid discussions were initiated by the Africa Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) secretariat on the coming revival of EU-African partnership Agreements and its fairness and special debate on the Post-Cotonou Agreement. Strong rejection and concerns were raised over the intended collaboration of the EU with certain African Regimes and the interconnected potential and possible vulnerability to violate basic human rights, refoulment of refugees, and diversion of development resources and ODA to address the migration crises. The EDDs was live streamed on social media at the hash tag #EDD16, on twitter @EuropeAid and on the facebook page of Europe Aid as well as the singular media outlets of the diverse participating stakeholders such as the EuroNews and AfricaNews and my personal invented and innovative social media connections.
The topics discussed, debated and tackled were inaugurated by high level introductory leadership panel on the major theme which is the sustainable development goals in action: our world, our dignity our future; followed by rich sessions on trade, growth and sustainable development; inclusive, sustainable and resilient cities; science, technology and innovation; water-energy-food nexus; circular economy / sustainable consumption and production; climate change; inequalities; gender; leave no-one behind; inclusive and peaceful societies; migration and refugees; working with fragile states; engaging the private sector, means of implementation; EU-Africa business forum follow-up workshop; post-Cotonou debate; ensuring accountability: a shared commitment; EU resilience forum and concluded with a closing high level panel entitled from commitment to action.
Doubtless, the EDD16 is an important milestone following the 8 MDGs era and sailing with the overarching framework flag of the 17 SDGs, this is a key event which has remarked the first global gathering of reflection on the implementation mechanism, follow-up and reporting process. Should our world affirm its noble will to turn the endorsed commitments and transform it into concrete actions and achieved developmental reality, such gatherings should be more frequent at local and global levels engaging everyone, it should engage and involve deep thinkers with critical and analytical capabilities. The SDGs came last year after long debate with tireless efforts and successive summits from Addis Ababa Agenda for Action, to post-MDGs summit at the UN HQ in New York, continuing to COP21 in Paris, these summits were not merely public relations events as some criticize, but were medium and long term planning for our coming 15 years to go. Furthermore, it is happening within the digital revolution and its yielding digital era, which is deepening and widening the understanding of the development dilemma, its linkage with the interconnected, interlinked and interdependent global security, humanitarian crises and planetarium prosperity and the future we want. The EDDs is integrated part of these global events such as the concluded World Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul and the coming general assembly of the United Nation.
Basing on my post graduate studies, activism and working with esteemed European Universities and excellence research centers, active dual citizenship, political engagement and representation, I am privileged to regularly attend the European Development Days since 2010, and gradually be involved and engaged in the successive editions. This allowed me to gain knowledge, share experiences, build enlarged networks, report to those who are left out or those who can’t afford to be in, and standing on that I am glad to disseminate for them what I have gained from my active and interactive participation. Personally, I see the European Development Days as a fantastic, growing, innovative and vivid networking platform, which is keeping the spirit and desires for international inclusive development at the forefront of the international policy. Such wonderful event should be for everyone, everyday and everywhere, especially where development is imperatively and desperately needed. The transition from the smart millennium development goals to the transformative sustainable development goals is a humanity challenge to be addressed by the human collectivity to efficiently and effectively leave no-one behind.
Mohamed Yassin is a Sudanese and Italian Agricultural Economist, holding post-graduate degrees in International Development Cooperation and Millennium Development Goals Study Team. He is reachable on twitter @MohamedSMYassin and/or through the institutional e-mail: mailto:[email protected]@uniud.it or the private e-mail: [email protected]