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2015 is a special year as the Millennium Development Goals reach their deadline and the negotiations for the post-2015 framework will take place. Development cooperation will therefore receive more attention at the international level. The European Commission takes this opportunity to inform the general public about its achievements and those of the EU member states under the umbrella of the European Year for Development (EYD2015). Together, the European Commission and the EU member states are the world's largest donor of development assistance. Central concerns are education, human rights and democracy, as well as global responsibility for climate and natural resources. Responding to the growing social inequalities in many parts of the world and promoting sustainable concepts for worldwide trade, agriculture and consumption is becoming increasingly important.
The aim of the EYD2015 is to inform citizens about EU activities and development policy. According to a recent Eurobarometer survey, while more than 80 percent of those questioned are in favour of their country's commitment to development cooperation, 44 percent have no knowledge about where their country's development aid goes. In this context, it is seen as imperative to inspire a public debate about the significance of a global development agenda and to showcase the benefits of development cooperation both for people in partner countries and people living in Europe.
We can all contribute to making the world a little fairer: paying attention to the origin of consumer goods and sustainable conditions of production is a first step. Globalisation also has positive effects: it has become easier to discover the world – online or in the form of international deployments. This can open up new perspectives. Diverse education and encounter programmes, for example, build bridges between people of different origin in Austria, Europe, and beyond. They represent a sustainable contribution to building trust, promoting peace and democracy, and respecting human rights.
In Austria, the European Year for Development launched on the 26th of January with an event designed for the youth: in the centre for disaster relief of the Austrian Red Cross in Inzersdorf, young people got the chance to pose their questions to Austrian Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz and European Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development, Neven Mimica. Afterwards, students had the opportunity to learn about and engage with a broad spectrum of development organizations whose work ranges from humanitarian assistance to sustainable development cooperation.
Additionally, many Austrian civil society organisations offer a diverse programme of educational activities, film festivals, discussions, and information events over the course of the EYD2015. Many of these programmes are co-funded by ADC under the budget line Development Communication and Education in Austria. Other stakeholders - such as ministries, federal authorities or the media - also actively participate in the EYD2015. For further information, please visit http://europa.eu/eyd2015/en.