President Michael D. Higgins to launch the EU Year on Development on 22 January

16 december 2014

The first details of the Irish programme of work under the European Year for Development 2015 were disclosed today during a presentation by Irish NGOs to the Oireachtas Committee on EU Affairs. President Michael D. Higgins will launch Ireland’s participation in EYD 2015 at a major conference that will mark the beginning of a year long of awareness raising activities to place across the country and also the 28 EU member states. 

Sharan Kelly, CEO of Tearfund Ireland and Chairperson of the sector’s umbrella group Dóchas, said that the coming year will be “seminal” in terms of expected events and decisions. 

“During the year, two United Nations summits will effectively define the future of humankind. In September, the UN will agree new goals – a new “Sustainable Development Framework” – to tackle poverty, inequality and environmental destruction. And in December, the Climate Change summit in Paris will set new climate action targets, to replace the Kyoto Protocol. These summits will have binding consequences for Ireland’s own development in a number of policy areas, including energy, transport, agriculture and environment.”

Irish NGOs will use the Year to spread awareness of the importance of these global decisions, and to encourage people in Ireland to take action, and to think of themselves as change makers. 

The members of Dóchas presented a series of projects and initiatives to be rolled out during 2015, which will allow people in Ireland to get involved with the European Year, and – crucially – to get inspired to take action themselves. 

Key events during the Year include:

  • Launch conference on 22 January at Dublin Castle 
  • IIEA Development Matters lecture series 
  • BT Young Scientist Awards in January 

Full details will be available at from 17 December 2014. 

“ ‘Development’ is not just about overseas aid,” said Sharan Kelly. “It is not about “what we give” but about “how we live”. It is about creating a change in people’s lives, and there are many ways in which you can do this. The breadth of global issues is such that there is scope for myriads of initiatives.”


Media Contact

Hans Zomer, Dóchas Director, Tel: 085 728 3258 /01 405 3801 Email: 

Notes to the Editor

  • On 15 January, members of the public are invited to take part in a call-to action by making a #NewYearNewWorld resolution and committing to this resolution through social media. More information on EYD are available through @EYD_Irl , Facebook and shortly at
  • 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. 
  • Dóchas is the Irish Association of Non-Governmental Development Organisations. It provides a forum for consultation and cooperation between its members, and a platform for them to speak with a single voice on development issues. Dóchas has been chosen to coordinate the Irish action plan for the European Year of Development. For more information, visit: