5-6 JUNE 2018 / Tour & Taxis / Brussels

European Development Days 2018

The European Development Days (EDD), Europe's leading forum on international cooperation and development, took place in Brussels on 5 and 6 June 2018. In its twelfth year, EDD 2018 focused on gender equality and the empowerment and engagement of women and girls in sustainable development.

The overarching title of this year's forum was: "Women and Girls at the Forefront of Sustainable development: protect, empower, invest". The event was structured around 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.

Journalists attending EDD 2018 had a unique opportunity to hear and meet key personalities of the women's rights movement, Heads of States, business leaders, policymakers, entrepreneurs, youth, as well as non-governmental organisations and academia. Each year, the forum attracts more than 6000 participants from over 140 countries, representing 1200 organisations from the development community.

In 2017, the European Union (EU) and the United Nations (UN) embarked on a major global initiative to eliminate all forms of violence against women and girls (VAWG) - the Spotlight Initiative. Spotlight places the issue at the centre 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.

Topics discussed at EDD 2018 include access to education and jobs, entrepreneurship, enforcing the legal and policy framework tackling all forms of sexual and gender based violence, as well as social issues ranging from girls' and women's human rights to climate change.

EDD 2018 continued to host the Young Leaders Programme. This programme invited exceptional youth representatives to speak at the high-level panels of the forum and bring fresh perspectives from the new generation. This year, 15 young people from across the world who have demonstrated their expertise and leadership on one of the EDD 2018 topics were invited to the EDD in Brussels. They shared their views and experiences with Heads of States and governments and the development community.

The Lorenzo Natali Media Prize 2018 award ceremony also took 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 was dedicated to work focused on the elimination of violence against women and girls.

Dedicated media facilities and support were available, including a press welcome and registration desk, press packs, press conferences, fully equipped working room, help in securing interviews and liaising with the speakers' own press team.