“Addressing inequalities: building a world that leaves no one behind” was the motto of the European Development Days (EDD) in 2019 that ended yesterday in Brussels, where EUROsociAL+ proposed and shared its horizontal cooperation model based on exchange, dialogue, trust and reciprocity.
This was most probably the highest profile, representative EUROsociAL+ Programme event in a very long time (and believe me, I know something about this, since I have a master’s degree in EDD, and am on my way to a PhD).
Numerically, we had almost 100 people in the Project Lab (more would have liked to have been included), around 400 people in the High Level Panel and endless visitors to the Stand – considered one of the best designs at the event, which included directors of cooperation agencies: FIIAPP, Expertise France, AECID, APC-Colombia, AUCI Uruguay, AGCI Chile; intergovernmental organisations such as IILA, SISCA and EULAC Foundation; the vice president of the Dominican Republic; much of the G2 and other units at DG DEVCO – in addition to NEAR, ECHO and SOCIAL, at the European Commission; Ambassadors to the EU from Peru and Guatemala, as well as representations from Honduras, Chile, Uruguay, Colombia, Cuba (some may have slipped my mind); the European External Action Service and European Economic and Social Committee; regional programmes of the European Union in Latin America, EUROCLIMA+, ADELANTE, EVALUA, SOCIEUX+, Bridging the Gap, LAIF, AL INVEST 5.0 – with which we have great reciprocal affection; organisations such as OECD, ECLAC and IDB, civil society, cooperation consultants and many friends of the Programme, and I am sure that there are more that I have forgotten to mention.
We also shared the Practitioners’ Network Stand and the theme debated by the High Level Panel “Making Visible the Invisible”, in pure EDD community networking style.
Thematically and conceptually, EUROsociAL+ has been at the centre of the EU-LAC dialogue at the world’s largest development event. High quality in the forum on inequalities in the labour market (really HLP level), organised by the Social Policies area in coordination with the Gender Equality Policies area; and a genuine reference, when they appointed us, and when they did not, to the High Level Panel devoted to the role of international cooperation in inclusive growth: Development in Transition.
Yesterday, we drew a line under EDD19 (we are already thinking about 2020), but we never stop. As the director of EuropeAid, Stefano Manservisi, said at the end of his speech, “wanderer, there is no road, the road is made by walking…”. We already have all five senses focussed on the 2nd Meeting of the EUROsociAL+ Programme in Cartagena de Indias. Three busy weeks and one key word: TRUST.
The cultural spirit imbued the two-day event, which is why, in reference to one of the most oft-repeated slogans, “Culture for the Future”, and in the spirit of a quote from Manservisi, I will say goodbye in verse:
“Wanderer, your footsteps
are the road, and nothing more;
wanderer, there is no road,
the road is made by walking.
By walking one makes the road,
and upon glancing behind
one sees the path that never
will be trod again”
Cantares, by Antonio Machado, poet.
By Enrique Martínez, EUROsociAL communication and visibility officer.