Some 4 000 participants from 1 500 organisations are expected to attend a Stockholm event showcasing EU efforts to boost development.
Under the overarching theme of ‘citizens and development’, this year’s event will focus on the effects of global warming and the recession on poorer countries.
Although they are usually least to blame, these countries are particularly hard hit by both the economic downturn and climate change.
Rising sea levels, desertification and more frequent and severe natural disasters could push millions into poverty and undo past progress on the millennium development goals. And the current economic climate has lead to a reduction in aid donations to developing countries, reducing food security in already vulnerable regions.
By bringing together politicians, civil servants, NGOs, business leaders, academics, researchers and the media, the European Development Days provide an opportunity for networking, sharing experiences and finding new partners for development projects.
The three-day event, starting on 22 October, includes training, discussion forums and workshops. A development ‘village’ gives organisations the chance to present themselves to delegates and the public, and to raise awareness of their aims.
Several development-related prizes will be awarded, including the Lorenzo Natali journalism prize for excellence in reporting on human rights, democracy and development issues. The development youth prize goes to teenagers for posters or videos showing human development in Africa.
On 22 October, the EU will also publish the first-ever European development report. It will form a basis for discussions on the EU’s approach to ‘fragile’ countries in sub-Saharan Africa.
The EU provides more than half of all development aid.