European Year for Development launches amidst growing public support for aid

2015 is set to be an important – and hopefully transformational – year for international development. Over the next 12 months countries around the world will come together to agree the development framework to replace the expiring Millennium Development Goals. Last month the UN Secretary General released his ‘Road to Dignity’ synthesis report, which outlines 17 goals and proposed framework that will form the basis for intergovernmental negotiations later this year. You can read Malaria Consortium’s response to this report here.

To compliment this process, 2015 has been designated European Year for Development. The aim of this campaign is to raise awareness of the EU’s role in international development, showcase Europe’s commitment to eradicating poverty and educate citizens about the importance of foreign aid. Throughout the year a range of events will be held across the 28 member countries of the EU to involve people in the debate around development and encourage their participation through volunteering. Furthermore, charities, universities and other stakeholders will share their success stories from the field to highlight the long-term impact that foreign aid can have through a range of media.

With numerous activities planned for 2015, it is therefore encouraging that at the start of the European Year for Development a new Eurobarometer survey indicates that international development and foreign aid is widely supported by EU citizens. 67 percent of people surveyed support increasing the EU’s aid budget, an increase of six percent compared to 2013. 74 percent believe that tackling poverty contributes to a more peaceful and equitable world and 64 percent of citizens believe that alleviating poverty should be a main priority of the EU. Health is considered to be the most important area of international aid by 39 percent of survey respondents, followed by peace and security (36 percent) and education (34 percent).

During this critical time for development, the European Year for Development offers us the opportunity to build on already high levels of public support and engage the people of Europe further about the importance of eradicating poverty, disease and inequality in this generation.

Each month during the European Year for Development has been assigned a theme – April is the month for ‘health’. Considering that EU citizens view health as the most important area of development, this offers an excellent opportunity to refocus EU attention upon the critical importance of tackling malaria, neglected tropical diseases and childhood illnesses, with World Malaria Day on 25th April providing the perfect occasion to do so. Malaria Consortium will be organising activities in Europe and across the world to widen the discussion about global efforts to eliminate malaria and engage European policy makers on how the EU can increase its role. All Malaria Consortium events and activities can be found listed in our new events calendar.

For more information about the European Year for Development, see the dedicated EU website. You can also follow the latest news and event information about the European Year for Development via Twitter, at @EYD2015.