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European Development Days seeks to empower women

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The European Development Days (EDD), Europe’s leading forum on international cooperation and development, will take place in Brussels on June 5–6, 2018.

In its 12th year, EDD 2018 will focus on gender equality and the empowerment and engagement of women and girls in sustainable development.

Since 2006, EDD has established itself as a key fixture in the world’s development calendar and is now widely considered as the “Davos of Development”

The forum is a project of the European Commission.

The title of this year’s forum will be: “Women and Girls at the Forefront of Sustainable Development: protect, empower, invest.” The forum has three main themes: Physical and psychological integrity of women and girls; Socio-economic rights / empowerment of women and girls; Voice and participation for women and girls.

These topics has become a recent focal point for the European Union. One important issue at EDD will be enforcing the legal and policy framework tackling all forms of sexual and gender based violence.

In 2017, the European Union and the United Nations embarked on a major global initiative to eliminate all forms of violence against women and girls. It is called the Spotlight Initiative and it places the issue at the center of efforts to achieve gender equality and women’s empowerment. An initial investment of EUR 500 million was made, with the EU as the main contributor.

“Violence against women and girls is omnipresent and persistent – affecting all nations, generations, and every corner of our societies. One in every three women – that’s one billion – have reportedly suffered violence or abuse in their lifetime. The real magnitude can easily be higher as we know that abuse is usually underreported, thriving in silence,” Neven Mimica, European Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development, said when the initiative was launched.

She will be one of the key participants of EDD 2018.

“The recent #MeToo campaign has triggered a global chain reaction, emboldening millions of people –especially women – around the world to speak out and to inspire others,” she added.

“With the #SpotlightENDViolence we also want to spark a global movement. We want to work hand in hand with everyone from the grassroots levels to the highest offices: men and boys; women and girls, politicians and CEOs, survivors and activists. We have put our money where our mouth is, and now we’re calling on all partners to join us and help transform women’s lives to the better,” she said.

Other topics to be discussed at EDD 2018 include access to education and jobs, entrepreneurship, as well as social issues ranging from girls’ and women’s human rights to climate change.

There is also a social media campaign connected to EDD 2018. #SheisWe shows that empowering and investing in women has benefits all of us. The campaign emphasizes stories of people across the world, and engages renowned personalities, activists, and members of the development community. This campaign is organized by EuropeAid for EDD.

The Lorenzo Natali Media Prize 2018 award ceremony will also take place at EDD. The prize, established in 1992, rewards outstanding reporting on the economic, social and environmental dimensions of sustainable development. In line with the EDD 2018’s general theme, a Special Prize is dedicated to work focused on the elimination of violence against women and girls.

Carbon offsets will be used to reduce the impact of forum on the environment.

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