“Our world, our dignity, our future.”

April 21, 2014

It has just been announced that next year will be designated as the ‘European Year for Development’. Following approval of the EU’s Foreign Affairs Council, the last step in the EU decision-making procedure, it was also decided that “Our world, our dignity, our future” become the motto for the year.

As the world’s largest donor of development assistance – the EU provides more than half of official aid worldwide – it may come as no surprise that the issue of development would gain such a position of importance.

Indeed, a Eurobarometer report, published in October 2012, revealed that 85% of Europeans believe it is important to help people in developing countries. A statistic which has changed little since 2009 – despite the economic uncertainty that has dominated European concerns – the report also concluded that more than 60% Europeans think that aid to developing countries should be increased.

Given that up to 20 million EU citizens are involved in the work of development NGOs – whether professionally or as volunteers – and approximately 130 million EU citizens make at least one financial donation each year to an organisation helping developing countries, it would seem that development is a belief upheld by many within the union.

Development Commissioner, Andris Piebalgs, stated that the development focus for 2015 will provide “an unparalleled opportunity for us to engage with EU citizens, to showcase our strong commitment to eradicating poverty worldwide and to inform them how every euro of support helps to make a difference in the lives of so many, in some of the world’s poorest countries.”

The development focus is particularly important as it represents the conclusion of the 2015 Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) – and will provide a framework, and a boost, for deciding their replacement targets.

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