2015 will be a pivotal year for development cooperation, in the EU and beyond. It is the year by which progress made to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) is to be evaluated. It will also be the year in which a new, UN-led global strategy and new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for the decade to come are to be defined and negotiated.
While according to a recent Eurobarometer survey (January 2015), a large majority (85%) of Europeans across all Member States see it as important to help people in developing countries1, the recent difficult financial and economic times have caused many EU members states to cut development cooperation budgets. At the same time, in the face of high unemployment and public pressure, in some Member States and regions it has become increasingly difficult to justify public spending on development cooperation.
On the other hand, there are positive exceptions to this trend. A substantial number of respondents to the Eurobarometer survey agree that tackling poverty in developing countries also has a positive influence on EU citizens (69%) and is in the EU’s interest (78%). The EU itself has set an example by proposing a substantial increase in EC development funding for the Multiannual Financial Framework 2014-2020. In this context, the European Year on Development provides an excellent opportunity for a broad public debate within all EU member states.
The objectives of the European Year are defined as 1) informing EU citizens about the development cooperation of the EU and its member states, 2) fostering their active interest, critical thinking and direct involvement, and 3) raising awareness of the benefits of EU development cooperation. The motto chosen for the thematic year is "Our world, our dignity, our future”.
In what ways is the EESC involved?
Did you know that the EESC is one of the initiators of the European Year for Development? The idea was developed jointly by CONCORD Europe and the EESC, receiving strong support from the European Parliament. It is the first time that the external dimension of the EU is the subject of a European thematic year.
On this page, you will find a wealth of information on the activities that will be organised and supported by the EESC over the course of the year 2015. These activities will be based around the EESC's main priorities of promoting peace and rules-based conflict resolution, International solidarity and international cooperation, as well as strongly fostering sustainability and involvement of the private sector in the run up to the new Sustainable development Goals (SDGs, to be adopted by the UN general Assembly in September).