Earlier this month, the European Commission (EC) held its tenth ‘European Development Days’ (EDD) forum at the Tour & Taxis in Brussels. The stated aim for this annual gathering is to, “bring the development community together each year to share ideas and experiences in ways that inspire new partnerships and innovative solutions to the world’s most pressing challenges.” Recognizing a connection between this goal and the United Nation’s (UN) 17 newly adopted Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs, also known as the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development), the EC made the 2030 Agenda this year’s focus.

The UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon was invited to give the opening remarks and I was on hand with my press pass and camera to cover his address.  He observed that the forum was “timely and influential,” and adding that, “[t]he UN counts on your ideas and your partnerships to build a better future for all humanity, for people, planet, peace, and prosperity.” Those four final ‘P’ words, along with ‘partnerships’ make up the 5 ‘areas of critical importance for humanity and the planet’ which the goals target.

Mr. Ban had been introduced by Federica Mogherini, the High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs and Security Vice-President of the European Commission. Someone I’ve had the chance to hear and photograph in the past. I was again left admiring her poise and grasp of the broad and ever challenging issues involved in foreign relations.

Following Mr. Ban’s address were reflections by world leaders and representatives from international organizations. Below are some of the people that I had the opportunity to hear and photograph. Also included are photos of interactive displays for participants, such as the virtual reality setup by the United Nations Regional Information Center (UNRIC) which allowed participants to see the world through the eyes of a refugee. UNRIC is also an organization I have worked for in the past and still shoot events with from time to time.


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—All images and text are Copyright © Michael Durickas, All Rights Reserved.

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