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Gonçalo Lobo XavierDear participants,

For the 9th successive year, the European Economic and Social Committee is organising its dedicated seminar for communication and press officers from civil society organisations across Europe. Now one of the Committee's main annual communications events, this year the seminar will focus on the topic Communicating European Development Policy.

As we approach the end of the 2015 European Year for Development, we will reflect on the achievements of the year and see how its added value and learnings, particularly in the communications area, can contribute to the world's next development challenge – the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals.

Development policy should be regarded as an investment: an investment in the future of developing and developed countries alike through reducing poverty in the world, ensuring sustainable economic, social and environmental development and promoting democracy, the rule of law, good governance and the respect of human rights. Development policy cannot be left to individual States or to EU institutions alone: it needs the support of all civil society actors and citizens. And to secure public support we need effective communication tools and strategies. 

This one-and-a-half-day seminar will take a close look at the communication strategies and tools that different actors – institutions as well as NGOs, journalists and photojournalists - have been using to communicate on development. Our first panel will take us through the European Year for Development 2015 (EYD2015) and analyse the communication strategy that the EU institutions and other actors have used to promote the year. We will look at the highlights of the EYD2015, at the use of storytelling and much more.

The next panel will focus on NGOs and media working in the field in developing countries and examine what tools they are using to raise awareness, generate public interest and obtain public support for their work.

The third panel will look forward to the recently adopted Sustainable Development Goals. Our panellists will give insight into the communications strategies being developed to communicate the recently adopted SDGS, with special focus on goals such as labour conditions and the environment.

The seminar will strive to identify the most successful strategies and to explore new ways to communicate European development policy and thus win the support of EU citizens for development policies and the effective implementation of the SDGs. It will also be an excellent opportunity to get in touch with the tremendous work that is done by the Committee's members to fulfil Europe’s goals.

I look forward to welcoming you to the seminar and hope that you will engage in some of the stimulating discussions on effectively Communicating Development.

Gonçalo Lobo Xavier

EESC vice-president in charge of communications