Final conference of European Year of Development 2015 in Sofia
On December 4, 2015, at Sofia Grand Hotel in the city of Sofia, a final conference on the European Year of Development 2015 in Bulgaria took place, in which representatives of National Alliance for Social Responsibility (NASO) also participated. The European Parliament and the Council of the European Union suggested 2015 as the European Year of Development under the motto “Our world. Our dignity. Our future”. Together with all member states, Bulgaria participated in that initiative through various activities jointly with the governmental, non-governmental, academic and private sector within the National work program for achieving the objectives of the European Year of Development 2015, elaborated by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Diplomatic Institute, and co-funded by the European Commission. The European Year of Development gave an opportunity for raising the awareness about the development politics of the EU among European citizens, which is one of the key areas in terms of the foreign affairs of the Union. Additionally, it increased the interest as well as the involvement among citizens and encouraged the more active cooperation and feeling of common responsibility and solidarity in a more interdependent world. Within the conference, Bulgaria was represented in the European Year of Development 2015 by state authorities, the non-governmental, academic and private sector. Furthermore, a discussion on the development politics and the cooperation among all stakeholders was held.
The participants were welcomed by Miglena Kuneva, Deputy Prime Minister on Coordination of European Politics and Institutional Affairs of the Republic of Bulgaria. She stated that without any measures related to issues of development and climate, we would face more migrants. Additionally, Mrs. Kuneva pointed out that in 2000, during a conference of the United Nations, eight millennium goals were set, which were to be fulfilled by 2015, and that among them were such as poverty reduction, primary education for all children, reduction of the mortality among children. In September 2015, the United Nations member countries adopted new goals for sustainable development for the next 15 years, among which were eradicating extreme poverty and hunger, gender equality. Moreover, Mrs. Kuneva stressed the need of measuring the progress on achieving the new millennium goals. She also noted that the European development politics were not well-known in Bulgaria. However, in 2015, the information campaigns, competitions and initiatives have contributed to making the Bulgarian citizens more involved and interested. Mrs. Kuneva also reminded that, as part of Europe, we needed to fulfill our commitments and responsibilities, and that although we were perceived as a poor country in Europe, that was not so worldwide.
Maria Pavlova, Director of the United Nations and Cooperation for Development Department at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, stated that the European Year of Development had contributed to realizing the common benefits for all parties involved. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Diplomatic Institute implemented a large-scale program, through which Bulgaria contributed to the objectives of the European Year of Development, whereby the main aim was to promote the success and challenges of development politics and to increase the awareness about the topic among the Bulgarian citizens.