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Development for Peace

Levels of action: international, regional and local


The United Nations General Assembly before a meeting. Copyright: BPA / KühlerVio­lent con­flicts can have many causes and there is no ready-made so­lu­tion to them. In order to build peace and se­cu­ri­ty, a compre­hen­sive and ho­lis­tic approach is there­fore required, along with co­op­er­a­tion among all stake­holders.

The German govern­ment pursues its secu­rity poli­cy within an inter­na­tional frame­work. One prio­rity in this con­text is its support for peace ope­ra­tions, inclu­ding those led by the Euro­pean Union, the Orga­ni­za­tion for Se­cu­rity and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), the Uni­ted Nations and NATO. Along­side the politi­cal and mili­tary com­ponents, compre­hensive development policy contri­butions usually form part of the German effort as well: around two-thirds of the countries in which international peace ope­ra­tions are currently taking place are partner countries of German development cooperation.

In its peacebuilding activities, the BMZ deploys its full range of instruments at all levels: international, regional and local.

The international level: global cooperation for global security

Global security requires global action: the opportunity to avert crises is greatest when the international community gets involved. The United Nations plays a vital role in this context. The Peacebuilding Commission set up in 2005 in particular aims to ensure that security and development policy aspects of peace­building are coordinated and implemented by the international community in a coherent strategy.

Germany takes an active part in the United Nations programmes by providing support and finance. Germany also participates in peacekeeping operations and was involved in establishing the International Criminal Court in The Hague.

Germany is also active in the field of crisis prevention within the European Union (EU). These activities are based among other things on the partnership agreement known as the Cotonou Agreement concluded in 2000 between the EU and the members of the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States (ACP States), in which both sides commit to engage actively in peaceful conflict resolution. The launch of the Stability Instrument in 2007 has strengthened the EU's civilian intervention capabilities: this new instrument is designed to allow a swift and flexible response to crises and also addresses global and transregional challenges to security. It is intended to close the gap between short-term measures undertaken within the framework of the Common Foreign and Security Policy and long-term development policy measures.

With the BMZ as lead ministry, the German government has substantially intensified its cooperation with the Development Assistance Committee (DAC) of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and made this coope­ra­tion more systematic. Joint standards have been devised on ways of mainstreaming crisis prevention in development cooperation, and the experience gained in joint projects is analysed, evaluated and published on a regular basis. In order to optimise cooperation in the peace policy field, the BMZ plays an active role in the DAC Network on Conflict, Peace and Develop­ment Co-operation (CPDC) and the Fragile States Group (FSG).

The regional level: promoting regional organisations

Regional organisations play an important role in crisis prevention and therefore receive support from German development cooperation. A key partner is the African Union (AU), which is working to establish an independent crisis prevention and conflict management role for Africa. The German government provided funding for the establishment of the African Union's Department of Peace and Security from its development cooperation budget. Germany also supports the development and provision of civilian training content at various African institutions such as the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre in Ghana, which prepares civilian and military personnel for participation in peace operations.

Germany is also working within the G8 to support the African countries’ efforts to develop an independent African security architecture. For example, the G8 countries are working with the AU to devise strategies for the development of an early warning system. Training is also being provided for the civilian experts who are essential for the successful implementation of peace operations. A post-conflict strategy will, it is hoped, offer countries and regions new prospects for their development after surviving crises and for avoiding a relapse into conflict.

Other regional organisations focus – with German assistance – on specific problems, such as the management of resources. One example is the river commissions established by the Nile riparian states. The risks posed by the illegal proliferation of small arms can also be tackled more effectively through regional approaches than would be possible at national level alone. Germany supports the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and the East African Community (EAC) in developing and implementing measures for small arms control.

The local level: combating the causes of conflicts

Crisis prevention has been mainstreamed in all projects undertaken within the framework of German development cooperation in conflict countries. Acting on behalf of or with the support of the BMZ, the implementing organisations and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) in the field work to identify and help eliminate the structural causes of conflict.

In addition, peacebuilding and crisis prevention can be agreed as priority areas of development cooperation with partner countries. This means that all measures in this area complement each other and coalesce into a coherent programme.

Peacebuilding is an extremely challenging area of work. In order to prepare German development workers for their deployment in conflict countries, specialist training programmes and seminars have been developed.

For detailed information on this subject, see
Civilian Peace Service.

BMZ glossary

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