Yesterday, marked the closing of the 12th European Development Days (EDDs). This conference attracts over 8,000 participants from over 140 different countries.
The two-day conference focused on gender equality and the empowerment and engagement of women in sustainable development. SB OverSeas attended a number of panels focusing on those pertaining to migration and gender-based violence. We had the opportunity to hear from those who are in the forefront of their profession.
We heard from Mabel van Oranje, Chair of Girls Not Brides who talked about the widespread practice of child marriage and its consequences.
‘Let’s make sure that girls can be girls and not brides.’
Mabel van Oranje, Chair of Girls Not Brides
We were also granted the opportunity to hear from Meghla Akter, who told us her story of escaping her arranged marriage. She is now working in her community to stamp out this harmful practice.
‘We would like to enjoy our childhood. We want to live our lives in freedom’
Meghla Akter – Speaker, World Vision, former child bride
In between conferences, we had the opportunity to talk to stand-holders to learn about their work.
We are in our third year of advancing the Sustainable Development Goals. The goal of eliminating child marriage by 2030 has been set. With over 40% of Syrian refugee girls in Lebanon married before the age of 18, it is imperative that this is on the agenda in order to reach this goal.
The European Parliament has called on the European Commission to make ending child marriage a key objective in its development policy and creating a year against child marriage.