The European Development Days, organised by the European Commission, is Europe´s leading forum on development that is being held every year since 2006. The event brings together the international development community to share ideas and experiences in ways that inspire new partnerships and innovative solutions to the world´s most pressing challenges.
This year, 8000 people gathered under the title “Addressing inequalities: building a world which leaves no one behind“.
For a tenth consecutive year, the European Network of Political Foundations (ENoP), took part in the event through sharing the stance of political foundations on democracy support, sustainable development; as well as exchanging best practice examples.
ENoP took part in the panel on ’’How electoral processes can promote inclusivity and build stronger alliances’’. The panel focused on the role of Election Observation Missions (EOMs) as litmus checks for democratic governance. In this context ENoP representatives highlighted the importance of more democracy-related actions beyond EOMs due to the limitations of the latter, provided the need of consent of national government to accept the Mission, as well as the election frequency every (4-5 years). Democracy actions need to happen throughout the entire electoral cycle and in-between elections with the active participation of civil society. Furthermore, human rights and democracy are interdependent and thus it is important to have a democratic enabling environment in order for human rights to thrive. SDGs and Agenda 2030 should strive to achieve sustainable democratic development.
Democratic governance and sustainable development go hand in hand. However, in order for both to prosper, there is the need for enabling environment for political actors and civil society. One of the main components of enabling environment is the presence of freedom of assembly and media pluralism. In this context, the panel on journalism for development, part of the Lorenzo Natali Media Prize. Shada Islam, panellist in the session, identified several rules for journalists, working for sustainable development to follow, namely:
– Rely on facts, bring emotion and empathy
– Bring people from the local communities to the table
– Invest not only funds, but also efforts
– Abstain from using a patronising narrative
– Do not turn people into victims, but speak about them as empowered
– Show good stories rather than only bad ones
-Address poverty, but keep the dignity of people
Commissioner Neven Mimica, a patron of the event, said: ‘’Inequalities penetrate all aspects of life and all countries. Behind every number, there are real people’’. In his strong speech, he highlighted the importance of addressing those issues jointly and in creating positive journalism that contributes to overcoming cleavages in society.
Queen Mathilde of Belgium also addressed inequalities from a different angle, including special attention to disadvantaged groups, women, LGBTI, youth and mentally challenged people.
The event brought to light existing gaps in the work towards attaining the SDGs, but it also showed positive examples and determination form the development community and partner countries. It is clear that developmental challenges can only be addressed and overcome through working together and creating lasting partnerships of equals!