Information and education work

Cooperation with federal states (Länder), and local authorities in the field of education

Students involved in an ENSA school exchange report on their experience. Copyright: Birgit MitawiThe German federal states (laender) and local authorities are im­por­tant actors in the field of de­vel­op­ment information and education. Some states were quick to respond to the UN Decade of Education for Sustainable De­vel­op­ment with their own action plans. Schleswig-Holstein, Lower Saxony, Hamburg, Bremen and Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania have pooled forces to form a North German Partnership to Support the UN Decade of Education for Sustainable De­vel­op­ment (2005-2014).

The federal states also see de­vel­op­ment-policy issues as an im­por­tant part of school education and offer relevant concepts and materials, as well as in-service training for teachers. In order to mainstream the whole philosophy of sus­tain­able de­vel­op­ment, and to get across to students the importance of the Millennium De­vel­op­ment Goals, the BMZ and the Standing Conference of the Ministers of Education and Cultural Affairs of the Länder in the Federal Republic of Germany together drew up guidelines for the subject area of global de­vel­op­ment in 2007. Over and above this, some federal states support local and regional networks of non-governmental organisations active in de­vel­op­ment education. The state agencies for political education too provide information and organise de­vel­op­ment-related events.

Local authorities, which are closest to the people, are par­tic­u­lar­ly good at raising the awareness of citizens of the need for sus­tain­able, en­viron­mentally sound de­vel­op­ment. More than 260 twinning arrangements with local authorities in de­vel­op­ing coun­tries make an im­por­tant con­tri­bu­tion to Germany’s de­vel­op­ment policy. These direct contacts with the representatives of local communities, social facilities and civil society are used not only to pass on the expertise of local authorities. The direct contacts make the problems of de­vel­op­ing coun­tries much more tangible for the people in Germany, raising their acceptance of de­vel­op­ment co­op­er­a­tion.

The central institute responsible for supporting municipal level de­vel­op­ment work is the Service Agency Communities in One World, a division of En­gage­ment Global. The Service Agency offers communities information, advice, networking and training, for instance on North-South town twinning schemes, fair procurement and municipal de­vel­op­ment co­op­er­a­tion.

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