The UN Development Programme (UNDP) participated in the European Development Days (EDDs), Europe’s leading forum on development, which in 2018 focused on the role of women and girls in achieving the Agenda 2030 and its Sustainable Development Goals.

Having gathered 8,000 participants from over 140 countries, the forum discussed solutions to the world’s most pressing challenges, and how gender equality and women’s empowerment can contribute to achieving a poverty-free, sustainable and fairer world, where no one is left behind.


“Gender equality and women’s empowerment are essential for the achievement of the 2030 Agenda and part of all that we do at UNDP,” said Randi Davis, Director of UNDP’s Gender Team who was recently named to The Gender Equality Top 100 by Apolitical. “The leadership of the European Union is vital if we are to meet the Sustainable Development Goals. It’s a privilege to participate in the European Development Days and have gender equality where it should be – center stage – in discussions on sustainable development.”


In many countries around the world, UNDP is helping governments to advance women’s economic empowerment, strengthen women’s political participation, combat violence against women, and support gender equality and women’s empowerment in areas affected by conflict or crisis. For example, we work closely with the Ministries of Defence in the Western Balkans to advance gender equality in the defence reforms while in Bangladesh, Tanzania and Uganda we help women access labour market through local and public investments. Through the Joint Task Force on Electoral Assistance, the EU and UNDP promote women’s participation as both voters and candidates.


UNDP’s Gender Equality Seal Certification Programme which certifies private sector companies to meet gender equality standards in the workplace was showcased during several panels at the EDDs. Piloted in Latin America, the Gender Equality Seal is now expanding globally, with more than 600 companies having been certified since 2009. A panel discussion organized together with the International Union for Conservation of Nature(IUCN), the European Investment Bank (EIB) and UN Environment focused on the impact of climate change on women and how international agreement on biodiversity and the Paris Agreement presented new opportunities for engaging women and accelerating equitable action. The three Women’s Resource Centres, supported by the European Union and UNDP in Azerbaijan, trained 900 women to access jobs and provided equipment to start their own business. The results of the project were showcased as part of the Global Village at EDDs.


The EDDs featured prominently the Spotlight Initiative, a major global initiative to eliminate all forms of violence against women and girls (VAWG), launched by the European Union and the United Nations in 2017. As one the three core agencies involved in this Initiative together with UN Women and UN Population Fund, UNDP is currently working on launching programmes to tackle the issue of femicide in five countries of Latin America.

UN SDGs stand at EDDs featured UNDP’s first virtual reality film made about and with the Roma community “I Am Fatmira” which was premiered in the European Parliament in the framework of the EU Roma Week in April this year. In the film, Roma activist Fatmira Dajlani takes the viewer into the Roma community through her eyes. Fatmira’s life story reflects common issues that Roma face, like lack of education, lack of employment, discrimination, early marriage and migration.