Stockholm gets ready for European Development Days

Between 22 and October 24 around 4,000 people from 1,500 organizations are expected to participate in a conference that will  present the European Union's efforts to promote development, especially regarding the fight against climate change and recession.

"Citizens and development" is the general theme on which the European Development Days will focus this year. This event, that will take place in Stockholm (Sweden) among 22nd and 224th October, will address the consequences of the recession and global warming on the poorest countries, which, paradoxically, are usually least to blame.

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 fixed by the United Nations. 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 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 theLorenzo 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. The winners of the "Music against poverty" contest, Ensemble pour la paix, will sing their song "Let's join together"

The European Union is the main contributor to global development aid: its only contribution in 2008 accounted for 60% of world aid. Anyway, according to 2005 data, more than one billion people around the world living in poverty.