Close the Gap speaks at the European Development Days

Posted on Jun 19, 2019 6:48 AM by

On Tuesday 18th June, Close the Gap's Strategic Partnerships Director Didier Appels gave a presentation at the European Development Days, Europe's leading forum on development that is organised annually since 2006. The next day of the event, he also participated in a panel discussion.

Organised by the European Commission, the European Development Days bring the development community together. The aim of the forum is to share ideas, best practices and experiences in the field of development. The goal is to inspire new partnerships among participants and to ignite innovative solutions to the world's most pressing challenges.

The theme of this year's European Development Days is 'Addressing inequalities: building a world which leaves no one behind'. Central are the ideas of inclusiveness and sustainability. 

On the first day of the two-day event, Didier was part of CIFAL Flanders's brainstorming session “How to make digitalisation SDG-proof?” CIFAL Flanders is part of UNITAR’s network of International Training Centres, dedicated to provide innovative training to strengthen the capacities of government and civil society leaders to advance sustainable development.

During this session, more than 70 participants addressed the challenge of “Bridging the digital divide: managing digitalisation and technology for inclusive growth”. In this session, Close the Gap was invited as one of the four best practices that aim to bridge the digital divide. Others included MolenGeek, HackYourFuture, and Lie Detectors.

The session started with a debate on the digital divide in today's globalising world. Afterwards Didier gave a presentation on how Close the Gap aims to bridge the digital divide both on a local and a global scale.

After all four best practices explained their efforts, all participants were invited to a Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) assessment of these initiatives through a brainstorming session. The brainstorm session then concluded with lessons-learned and recommendations for digital divide projects to combat inequalities in an inclusive way and become SDG-proof.

Didier also attended speeches and keynotes by for example Macky Sall, Senegalese President, Lhotan Tschering, Prime Minister of Bhutan and Antonio Tajani, President of the European Parliament.

On the second day of the event, Didier was also part of a panel discussion. During the day, our Project Coordinator Jon Lambrecht was also present at the European Development Days. He attended several sessions and workshops, all the while networking and spreading Close the Gap's story and mission to bridge the digital divide.