The Latvian Foreign Ministry’s Parliamentary State Secretary for EU Affairs, Zanda Kalniņa-Lukaševica, took part in the Closing Ceremony of the European Year for Development 2015 in Luxembourg on 9 December and presented awards to the winners of the “Shining Stars of Europe” video contest.
The aim of the Shining Stars of Europe Video Contest announced in Riga was to shine a light on what young people perceive as meaningful development results and give them a creative space to highlight how they see the future priorities in development.
“European youth of today are among our closest allies in fostering development cooperation and achieving the 2030 Agenda. Two thirds of all young people believe that tackling poverty in developing countries should be one of the main priorities of the European Union. Moreover, young Europeans are not only calling for our action but are ready to get involved – an absolute majority of young people believe that they can play a role in tackling poverty in developing countries. And we have to let young people channel this energy for positive change. With almost two billion young people in the world today we have an unprecedented potential for innovation, cooperation and progress,” Zanda Kalniņa-Lukaševica emphasised.
She also stressed that “by empowering and engaging the youth, we create the necessary conditions for reaching the goals of the 2030 Agenda for sustainable development. The achievement of their aspirations in the years to come will be a good indicator for us that the Sustainable Development Goals are fully implemented”.
The contest was announced by the Latvian and Luxembourg Presidencies of the Council of the EU and the European Commission Permanent Representation in Luxembourg at the Opening Ceremony of the European Year of Development in Riga on 9 January. Four videos were submitted from Latvia. According to the decision of the panel of judges, two of Latvia’s representatives made it to the finals and were awarded a trip to Luxembourg with participation in the Closing Ceremony of the European Year for Development. Those are Jānis Jurčenko with a video entitled “The Future depends on us” (Myusu nuokūtne ir atkareiga nu myusim) (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2VsFtCHtjbI)and Rūta Krolle with a video, “Human”(Cilvēks)(https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ah9X1mz6qBA).
At the Closing Ceremony, the representatives of the European Parliament, the European Commission and the Council of the European Union also signed a Joint Declaration on “Legacy of the European Year for Development 2015”. The declaration is a commitment to take forward the legacy of the European Year for Development to boost the EU's efforts towards the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. It was also decided to engage citizens in meeting the sustainable development challenges.
The Closing Ceremony took place in the presence of His Royal Highness the Grand-Duke Henri of Luxembourg. The participants included Luxembourg’s Prime Minister Xavier Bettel; the European Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development, Neven Mimica; the President of the European Investment Bank, Werner Hoyer; the Chair of the European Parliament’s Committee on Development, Linda McAvan; the EU Member States’ Ministers for Development Cooperation; and members of NGOs. The ceremony was held as part of the Informal Meeting of the EU Ministers for Development Cooperation.
The aim of the European Year for Development was to raise the awareness of the general public on the development cooperation policy pursued by the EU and its Member States and on the results of that policy, as well as explaining the benefits to all stakeholders.
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