European Development Days

3 – 4 June 2015. Launched in 2006 by the Council of the European Union, European Development Days, fosters knowledge sharing, creative thinking and real innovation by facilitating meetings, networking and brainstorming for key players in development. The event represents an unparalleled opportunity to share ideas, benchmark best practices and learn from latest innovations that improve the impact and effectiveness of international aid.

This year the agenda, included over 130 sessions on 12 topics with a variety of debates, brainstormings and project or report presentations which are in line with the EYD motto: ‘our world, our dignity, our future’.

Extract of the programme:

Small-scale farming and sustainable food systems

Moderator: Seb Dance, Member of the European Parliament (SandD)
Seb Dance, Parliament

  • Dr Shenggen Fan, Director General, International Food Policy Research Institute
  • Jima Gobena, Project coordinator, Vicariate of Meki, Ethiopia
  • Jean-Pierre Halkin, Head of Unit for Rural Development, Food Security, Nutrition, Directorate-General for Development and Cooperation – EuropeAid
  • Adriana Opromolla, International Advocacy Officer, Caritas Internationalis
  • Abdelghani Sourji, Senior Consultant, Agriculture and Rural Development, Caritas

Key points:

  • Small-scale farming should be protected and supported and considered as a key model for improving food security in the developing world.
  • Local communities must be given training and support so they learn how to manage themselves.
  • The cooperative system has to be strengthened to organise, teach and support the local farming community.
  • Women must have equal access to and control over resources underpinning food production.
  • Agriculture must change to a nutrition-based system, with fewer inputs.
  • In response to a question from PAEPARD on the IFPRI efforts to combat aflatoxin,  Dr Shenggen Fan estimated that the number of deaths due to agricultural generated diseases is 2 million persons every year. 

Moderator: Bernard Rey, Deputy Head of Unit, Rural Development, Food Security, Nutrition, Directorate-General for International Cooperation and Development, European Commission


  • Chris Addison, Senior Coordinator on Knowledge Management, Technical Centre for Agriculture and Rural Development (CTA)
  • Barthélemy Boika Mahambi Yela, Natural Resources Network (RRN)
  • Luc Christiaensen, Senior Economist, Office of the Chief Economist, Africa Region, The World Bank Group – Moderator
  • Michael Hailu, Director, Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA)
  • Fleur Wouterse, Regional Farmers Organisations Project
Key points:

  • African agriculture is changing rapidly and this tests the relevance and accuracy of data collection. Rising investments and policy interest in Africa’s agriculture demands an up-to-date picture of the reality on the ground.
  • The possibilities are immense. But regular checking and fine-tuning facts is critical to ensure that renewed investments and policies supporting Africa’s agriculture and food security are well directed.
  • Big data – information from different sources ranging from high-tech connected devices to sensors and GPS to community-based knowledge gathering and management tools – offers enormous potential for developing innovative products and services.
  • Using big data and blending it with community-generated information is the key. New insights gleaned from collating such data should complement official statistics, survey data and information generated by early warning systems.

Joining forces to make undernutrition history

Moderator: David Nabarro United Nations Secretary-General’s Special Envoy on Ebola and Special Representative for Food Security and Nutrition

  • Melinda Gates, Founder and Co-Chair, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation
  • Neven Mimica, EU Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development
  • Thomas Silberhorn, Parliamentary State Secretary to the Federal Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development, Germany
  • Zouera Youssoufou, Chief Executive Officer, Dangote Foundation

Key Points:
  • With top billing at European Development Days, nutrition is finally getting the attention it deserves.
  • Malnutrition, in addition to the personal tragedies it engenders, weakens the entire society, as people are unable to live up to their potential.
  • The EU as well as many individual countries and many leading donors are backing up their rhetoric with hard cash.
  • Women’s empowerment must be a leading component of the drive.
  • Linkages need to be made among agriculture, health, sanitation and other areas to tackle malnutrition.

Value chains for value gains: Multi-stakeholder partnerships to boost agricultural growth

Moderator: Isolina Boto, Manager, CTA

  • Viwanou Gnassounou, Assistant Secretary General – ACP Secretariat
  • Jean-Pierre Halkin, Head of Unit for Rural Development, Food Security, Nutrition, Directorate-General for Development and Cooperation – EuropeAid
  • Apollo Owuor, Director for Agriculture and Corporate Affairs, Europe-Africa-Caribbean-Pacific Liaison Committee

Key points:

  • The Small Farmers Big Business (SFBB) partnership’s common vision is that sustainable development must go hand in hand with the engagement of the private sector, especially when it comes to achieving food and nutrition security in African Carribean and Pacific (ACP) countries.
  • SFBB was founded in 2012 by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit GmbH, COLE-ACP (Europe-Africa-Caribbean-Pacific Liaison Committee), the SNV Netherlands Development Organization, and the United Nations Industrial Development Organization. SFBB and the Technical Centre for Agriculture and Rural Development are working together to reach this goal.

Smallholder farmers powering global development

Moderator: Janny Vos, CABI Strategic Partnerships Director


  • Martin Busobozi, Agricultural Officer and Plant Doctor, Rwandan Agricultural Board
  • Jean-Pierre Halkin, Head of Unit for Rural Development, Food Security, Nutrition, Directorate-General for Development and Cooperation – EuropeAid
  • Paulus Verschuren, Founder of WorldFed; Formerly Special Envoy for Food and Nutrition Security for the Dutch government
Key points:

This session debated the missing links to sustainable agricultural knowledge and explored how programmes, such as the CABI-led Plantwise initiative, are empowering countries to build networks of smallholder support in policy and practice. These networks are putting knowledge into the hands of farmers to improve their food security.

Food security, resilience and structural change in West Africa

Moderator: Jean-Pierre Elong-Mbassi, Secretary General, United Cities and Local Governments of Africa (UCLGA)


  • Thomas Allen, Economist, Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD)
  • Issa Martin Bikienga, Coordinator, AGIR Technical Unit, Sahel and West Africa Club,

    Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD)

  • Philipp Heinrigs, Senior Economist, SWAC/OECD
  • Maryam Soumaré, Principal Programme Officer, Food Security Analyst, NEPAD Agency (excused)
  • Philippe Thomas, Head of Sector, Food Crisis, DG DEVCO
  • Alain Sy Traoré, Director of Agriculture and Rural Development, ECOWAS Commission  (excused)
Key points:

Organised by the Sahel and West Africa Club (SWAC/OECD), this session engaged the audience in an interactive presentation and give a voice to African institutions working on food security and resilience, in particular within the framework of the Global Alliance for Resilience (AGIR) – Sahel and West Africa. At this occassion, SWAC presented the 2010 update of Africapolis, an harmonised and comprehensive dataset on urbanisation in West Africa.

Addressing food security: The power of collaboration

  • Taryn Barclay, Corporate Responsibility Manager, Cargill
  • Priyanka Gouthaman, Senior Corporate Partnerships Executive at CARE
  • Adolfo Pacheco, Project Manager at CARE Honduras
Key points:

This session focused on how NGO-private partnerships can help find sustainable solutions to alleviate hunger and ensure safe, nutritious and affordable food for all. The session will explain how CARE and Cargill teamed together in 2008 in their quest to fight global poverty, which is the primary cause of food insecurity.

Land tenure in Africa: Lessons learnt and the road ahead

Moderator: Gavin Adlington, Former Global Lead for Land and Geospatial, The World Bank Group
  • Felicity Buckle, Land and Gender Specialist, DAI
  • Clive English, Land tenure and resettlement expert
  • John Leckie, Systematic Registration Advisor on the DFID-funded Land Investment for Transformation (LIFT) programme in Ethiopia
Key points:

Development actors are intensifying their support for land-related programmes around the world and the international community has increased efforts to promote responsible behaviour with regard to land tenure.

Mobile agriculture for development: Enhancing agricultural productivity and farmers welfare through ICT

Moderator: Catherine Flouvat, Head of CSR AMEA, Orange, France

  • Amadou Brah Adamou, Project Manager, mAgri, Orange
  • Jean-Pierre Halkin, Head of Unit for Rural Development, Food Security, Nutrition, Directorate-General for Development and Cooperation – EuropeAid
  • François Laureys, Country programme manager for Mali and Burkina Faso, mFarm project manager, International Institute for Communication and Development (IICD)
  • Ken Gemma Brice Lohento, Programme Coordinator, ICT for Agriculture, Centre Technique de Coopération Agricole et Rurale (CTA)
  • Tegan Palmer, mAgri Business Intelligence Manager
Key points:
  • Focusing on Africa, speakers draw on concrete examples of services for farmers developed through multisector partnerships. Two main challenges weree debated with the audience: how to adapt solutions to local farmers’ needs and how to make them sustainable.
  • It’s been more than three years since the GSMA mAgri Programme launched the mFarmer Initiative in 2011 with the ambition to support the development and launch of Agri Value Added Services (VAS) at scale.

Growing agriculture, growing jobs: The private sector on the spot

Moderator: Veronica Rubio, Senior Strategic Issues Manager, Business Social Compliance Initiative



  • Céline Charveriat, Director of Advocacy and Campaigns, Oxfam International
  • Patrick I. Gomes, Secretary General of the African, Caribbean and Pacific group of States (ACP Group of States)
  • Roberto Ridolfi, Director for Sustainable Growth and Development, Directorate-General for International Cooperation and Development, European Commission
  • Victor Rodriguez, Future Leader
  • Akin Sawyerr, Executive Secretary, Agricultural Fresh Produce Growers and Exporters Association of Nigeria (AFGEAN)
  • Bert Sercu, Chief Sustainability Officer and Director, Durabilis
  • Thomas Silberhorn, Parliamentary State Secretary to the Federal Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development, Germany

Key points:

  • Numberous challenges standing in the way of creating decent jobs in agriculture.
  • Triangular cooperation gives developing countries the chance to access another country’s expertise.
  • Through ‘conscious capitalism’, businesses can be vehicles for societal improvement.
  • Job prospects for the young generation should include processing of agricultural goods, thereby adding value.

Feeding the planet together session

  • Patrick Caron, Director General for Research and Strategy, Agricultural Research for Development (CIRAD)
  • John Alistair Clarke, Director for International Affairs, Directorate-General for Agriculture and

    Rural Development, European Commission

  • Nouhon Coulibaly, Director, Ministry of Agriculture, Ivory Coast
  • Phil Hogan, EU Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development
  • Dr Agnes Kalibata, President, The Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA
  • Catherine Mloza Banda, Future Leader
  • Barbara Noseworthy
Key points:
  • The private sector has an important role to play in boosting the world’s food supply.
  • Climate-smart interventions will be needed to meet the challenge of assuring food security while not damaging the environment; such interventions must take account of local needs.
  • Information and technological innovation and, to a lesser degree, mechanisation can play a part in boosting food production.
  • The EU is promoting food security through its development and trade policies and through its Common Agricultural Policy (CAP).

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