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The 13th edition of European Development Days (EDD) took place in Brussels on June 18 and 19. Organised by the European Commission (EC), the EDD brings the development community together each year to share ideas and experiences in ways that inspire new partnerships and innovative solutions to the world’s most pressing challenges.


Under the main thread of, ‘Addressing inequalities: Building a world which leaves no one behind' the EDD 2019 agenda was framed around three major themes: Why inequalities matter for sustainable development, Understanding the structural causes of inequalities and Working better together through more effective policies to address inequalities. The event was attended by over 8,000 delegates, 5 heads of States, 30 Ministers, and other stakeholders in development, politics, diplomacy, and business. In his keynote address, EC President, Jean-Claude Juncker, maintained that “I have always believed that the European commitment to the world and in the world, should not be about charity. The era of charity is over. What we need is a partnership between equals that can provide and create mutual benefits.” 


Mr. Jean-Claude Juncker  delivering the keynote during the opening ceremony of the EDD 2019.


Other speakers, including Her Majesty the Queen of Belgium, His Excellency, Carlos Fonseca, President, Republic of Cape Verde, His Excellency, Dr. Lotay Tshering, Prime Minister, Bhutan; all hailed the choice  of the conference theme and tasked delegates to pursue meaningful deliberations that will help in addressing inequalities around the world.


Lyonchhen Dr. Lotay Tshering speaking at the EDD 2019.



The Asia-Pacific office of ICA was represented by Mr. Mohit Dave, Program Manager for the ICA-EU Partnership. He discussed with potential partners on the EC’s collaborative platform for the international development community, where cooperative organisations could join the discussions, access resources and learn from peers. He interacted with AVSI on the Aamal Project in Lebanon which is focused on employment opportunities for refugees, with the help of cooperatives. He also had an opportunity to explore synergies in Timor Leste on a project supported by GIZ and Thailand International Cooperation Agency (TICA), the national focal agency in international development cooperation.


Cooperatives Europe Development Platform’s (CEDP) projects and the ongoing #coops4dev activities were showcased at stand 7 in the EDD village. Participants were able to discover projects implemented by cooperatives worldwide and meet cooperators from the field, particularly through the CEDP projects WOPRE (We Effect), fighting for women’s political representation in Kenya and S.P.R.IN.G (Legacoop), working at strengthening civil society organisation’s participation for responsible and inclusive agriculture growth through the development of rural cooperatives in Iran. Among others, participants also had the opportunity to discover the documentaries, including Bhabishya Nirman Sana Kishan of Nepal. Mr. Dave also met with the CEDP representatives to discuss potential collaboration with ICA members in the Asia-Pacific region and develop a regional platform to promote cooperatives in international development.


Members of the CEDP Platform.



A participatory programme, EDD started in 2006 as a European Commission initiative and has been referred to as the “Davos of Development”.  Please click here for a short video on this year’s highlights.