01 october 2014
On 1 September, Dóchas submitted the National Activity Plan for the European Year 2015 to the European Commission Representation.
In April 2014, the European Union’s Foreign Affairs Council designated 2015 as the European Year for Development. The motto of the year will be “Our world, our dignity, our future”. It is the first time that the EU has dedicated a thematic year to an “external” policy area.
The European Years have been organised since 1983 to increase understanding, promote debate, and positively change attitudes on certain issues at the European level. For instance, 2013 was designated as the European Year of Citizens, and 2012 was named the European Year for Active Aging.
The EU says that the aims of the Year of Development (EYD2015) are:
1. To inform European Union citizens about the EU’s and the Member States’ development cooperation
2. To foster direct involvement, critical thinking and active interest of EU citizens and stakeholders in development cooperation
3. To raise awareness of the benefits of EU development cooperation.
Dóchas has been chosen to coordinate the Irish action plan for the European Year of Development. As a membership organisation of over 60 Development NGOs, and as active member of CONCORD, Dóchas is uniquely placed to help achieve the overall aims of the European Year (EYD).
Following consultation with members, other NGOs and the Department of Foreign Affairs, and taking into consideration the Irish National context, Dóchas has decided that the he national priority in Ireland for EYD2015 will be: “To establish a new development narrative in Ireland that shifts beyond aid and charity to address issues of universality, solidarity, engagement, individual and collective responsibility, and global solidarity”.
Our proposed work plan for EYD 2015 is based on the premise that the current development narrative in Ireland lacks a focus not only on results but also on how development processes work, and how meaningful societal change happens. Dóchas believes that by highlighting the progress being made in developing countries, and by giving greater attention to the voices and actions of people experiencing extreme poverty, we can change public attitudes to poverty and development, as well as create new spaces and opportunities for discussion of overseas aid and development.
Also read: President Michael D. Higgins announces partnership with NGOs on his Ethics Initiative (22 September). From the speech:
“Dóchas, the umbrella organisation for overseas development agencies, has resolved to seize the opportunity of the European Year for Development in 2015 to conduct a reflection on the meaning of ‘development’.”
Speaking at the launch of a new Society of St Vincent de Paul report in Dublin, President Higgins said that the Ethics Initiative, launched in November 2011, will now partner with organisations such as Dóchas, the Society of St Vincent de Paul, The Wheel, the National Women’s Council of Ireland and the Irish Congress of Trade Unions, to invite the viewpoints of broader sections of the Irish public on the ethical connection between politics, economy and society.
We are honoured that the President has chosen Dóchas as one of the organisations to be associated with the next phase of the Ethics Initiative.
The announcement ties in with the designation of 2015 as the European Year for Development, a year in which European countries will aim to ask members of the public for their suggestions of what ‘sustainable development’ should mean.
The President’s Ethics Initiative is enabling a public discussion on what it means to live ethically, and what values we want to promote as a nation. And such reflections should include a global context, too. We all know that our prosperity is irrevocably linked to global forces, but we may have lost confidence in our ability to shape those global forces. That is why Dóchas is delighted that the Ethics Initiative will partner with civil society and development organisations at a time when the European Year for Development will bring individual engagement and involvement on global issues to the fore.