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There is no Plan B because we do not have a Planet B.

Ban Ki-moon, UN Secretary-General from 2007 to 2016, at the UN climate conference in Marrakesh in 2016

Climate change and development

Germany is very active in international climate policy. The work done by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) plays a crucial part in these efforts, because climate change and development are inextricably linked.

In 2015, the international community created a political framework for a global transformation by adopting the Paris Agreement and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The goal of that transformation is climate-friendly and climate-resilient development. In the Paris Agreement, parties set themselves the goal of keeping global warming well below two degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels and limiting it to 1.5 degrees Celsius if possible.


Germany helps developing countries and emerging economies implement climate targets

12 December 2018 | The Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development and the Federal Environment Ministry announced at the Climate Change Conference in Katowice that Germany will be supporting the global partnership for implementing NDCs with a further 68 million euros. 48 million euros will come from the budget of the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development and 20 million from the budget of the Federal Environment Ministry. More

COP24 – Poland 2018

The 2018 Global Climate Conference was held in Katowice under the presidency of Poland from 2 to 14 December 2018. It was the 24th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) – and is therefore abbreviated as COP24. More than 20,000 representatives from the realms of politics and civil society took part.

What did the conference achieve?

The Paris Agreement was adopted in 2015. The next step was to identify the details of implementation. At the end of COP24, a rulebook was adopted to ensure that the Agreement is implemented in an effective and transparent manner. In addition, policymakers and civil society presented their climate initiatives and projects.

You can find more information at www.bmu.de/en/german-climate-pavilion.

Logo: COP24


German Pavilion

In parallel with the official negotiations, representatives of governments, academia, the private sector and non-governmental organisations met in the exhibition and events area in order to exchange ideas on the latest topics and developments.

At the German Pavilion, the German government and non-governmental organisations, together with numerous partners, presented the broad range of activities they pursue in the area of climate change mitigation and adaptation.

Programme of events

Events at the German Pavilion focused on seven thematic challenges:

  • How can we strengthen coalitions for climate action?
  • How can we achieve a just transition?
  • How can we achieve climate neutrality across key economic sectors?
  • How can we enable further innovation towards a climate-neutral and resilient economy?
  • Raising ambition: How can we improve NDCs?
  • How can we ensure a climate-resilient future?
  • How can we align finance flows with the goals of the Paris Agreement?

BMZ events at COP24

Thursday 6 December


Climate resilient development: Comprehensive climate risk management strategies to secure livelihoods for all

Further information


Aligning finance with the Paris Agreement: The role of development banks

Further information

Friday 7 December


Getting to the point: The relevance of wetland ecosystems for increasing NDC ambition

Further information

Saturday 8 December


Mobility transition in our cities: Prioritising people – decarbonising transport

Further information

Monday 10 December


Local climate finance: More, easier and faster – how finance reaches the sub-national level

Further information

Tuesday 11 December


Climate-resilient urban infrastructure: The G20 work on adaptation

Further information


Green people's energy for Africa: Empowering people to generate their own renewable energies

Further information

Wednesday 12 December


Pursuing 1.5 degrees: Opening up new opportunities for the economy and development, implementing the SDGs

Further information

Explained in brief: The UN Climate Conference

Logo: United Nations Climate Change

The Conference of the Parties to the Framework Convention on Climate Change

The Conference of the Parties is the top decision-making body of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). In this international convention, all industrialised countries have made a commitment to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions and take action for adaptation to climate change.

The decisions taken at the global climate summits under the eyes of the international public have great political impact. This was very evident, for example, at COP21 in Paris. For the first time, the Parties were able to agree on a climate agreement that laid down commitments for all countries.

Logo of the UN climate conference COP21 in Paris 2015

Paris Agreement

In December 2015, the international community came together at the Paris Climate Conference (COP21). They reached a historic agreement on climate change mitigation and adaptation. The states pledged to hold the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels and pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C.

The contract is considered a historical turning point – for the first time, almost every country in the world, 195 signatories in total, has committed to making specific contributions to climate change mitigation.

Just a few months before the Paris Climate Conference, the international community adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development with 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The Paris Agreement explicitly references these goals, thereby acknowledging the close link between sustainable development and climate action.

The political framework has thus been created and most of the signatories have already submitted their climate goals. Now the phase of implementation has begun. It is time to intensify individual efforts in order to achieve these goals, and to set new, more ambitious goals.

You can read more about how the BMZ is contributing to achieving the goals of the Paris Agreement on our web pages dedicated to this topic.

Logo of the UN climate conference COP21 in Paris 2015

Nationally Determined Contributions

At the core of the 2015 Paris climate agreement are the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs). Both developed and developing countries have set their own climate targets and committed to undertake concrete measures in the interest of climate change mitigation and usually also climate change adaptation.

However, the Nationally Determined Contributions defined by countries so far will not be sufficient to reach the 1.5 degree target. In order to encourage countries to make their NDCs more ambitious, the Talanoa Dialogue was launched in 2017 – an open, inclusive dialogue among the Parties to the Conference and also with non-governmental organisations, which saw its first peak in Bonn at COP23 and was finalised in Katowice.

To help developing countries reach their climate and development goals quickly and effectively, there is what is known as the "NDC Partnership". It was initiated by Germany together with Morocco and the World Resources Institute and officially launched at the 2016 climate conference in Morocco with more than 50 founding members.

You can find more information on our web pages dedicated to this topic.

Development achievements in jeopardy

Logo of the UN climate conference COP21 in Paris 2015
Logo of the UN climate conference COP21 in Paris 2015

Many regions of the world are already feeling the effects of climate change. More frequent and severe storms, heat waves, extremely heavy rains and droughts are just some of the many negative impacts of climate change. The countries that are particularly hard hit by these impacts are the developing countries – in other words, those countries of the world that lack the resources and capacity to launch effective measures and to adapt to climate change.

The effects of climate change are putting the achievements of sustainable development policy at risk. They are already causing hunger, growing poverty, displacement and armed conflict.

But if we make a determined effort, we can halt global warming, protect developing countries from the direct consequences of climate change, and at the same time foster innovation, economic modernisation and – ultimately – sustainable development.

The work being done to expand the use of renewable energies, for example, is not just helping to protect the climate. Since renewable energies are accessible even to people in remote areas, they open up opportunities for people to enjoy a better standard of living and find new sources of income.

Explained in brief: The challenge of climate change

Logo of the UN climate conference COP21 in Paris 2015

Climate change

Climate change is one of the greatest challenges of our time. According to the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change), the global mean temperature has increased by 1.0°C since the industrial revolution, mainly as a result of human activities. The impacts can already be clearly felt: extreme rainfall, drought, melting glaciers and rising sea levels.

Climate change threatens to undo development achievements, especially in developing countries. That is why the BMZ is supporting the efforts of its partners to deal with the consequences of climate change and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Read more about our activities on our detailed web pages on climate change.

Logo of the UN climate conference COP21 in Paris 2015

Adaptation to climate change

Climate action can limit, but not reverse climate change. The climate has already been irreversibly changed as a result of excessive greenhouse gas emissions over many decades: heat waves in Europe, hurricanes in Asia and periods of drought in Africa are some of the impacts of climate change already in evidence today. Many impacts, on the other hand, will only be visible to the full extent over time.

To protect above all the poor and especially vulnerable from the risks of climate change, measures to adapt to these impacts are essential. They must be embedded in all areas of the economy and society – for example in agriculture, forest management, water use, the health care sector, construction and transport. The Paris Agreement reflects the importance of these measures: it defines climate change adaptation and mitigation as equivalent goals.

The BMZ is supporting its partners in the planning and implementation of concrete adaptation measures. These include, for example, modified farming practices, adapted resource management and more effective coastal protection. In this way the BMZ is helping to ensure that poor and vulnerable sections of the population are better equipped to handle the impacts of climate change. Germany is also helping its partner countries with comprehensive climate risk management and with funding for insurance that covers the remaining risks, such as building damage or livestock losses, under the InsuResilience Global Partnership.

An overview of the BMZ's commitment to climate change adaptation can be found in our publication Adapting to Climate Change (PDF 5 MB).

You can find more information on our activities relating to climate change adaptation on our web pages dedicated to this topic.


Logo of the UN climate conference COP21 in Paris 2015

Lowering emissions

The growth of the economy and the population has brought about a rapid increase in global greenhouse gas emissions since the beginning of the industrial revolution. These emissions are mainly produced by the combustion of fossil fuels such as coal and oil for energy production. According to the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change), the global temperature has already increased by an average of 1.0°C as a result.

Prevention is better than cure: climate change can only be contained if emissions are reduced, for example through climate action measures and the expansion of carbon sinks like forests. Global warming must be limited to well below 2°C and to 1.5°C if possible to keep the effects to a manageable level – this is the political goal to which the international community committed in the Paris Agreement in 2015.

It is possible to achieve this goal, but the trend toward ever-increasing greenhouse gas emissions must be reversed as quickly as possible. The BMZ is therefore supporting its partners in creating access to climate-friendly energy, designing sustainable cities, expanding climate-friendly transport networks and preventing deforestation.

You can find more information on our mitigation activities on our web pages dedicated to this topic.

Practical examples

Bangladesh: New propects for the displaced

Bangladesh is struggling to cope with the effects or climate change. Large parts of the country are situated in the Ganges-Brahmaputra Delta, the world's largest river delta. One fifth of the country could be left permanently under water as sea levels rise. Germany provides support to the city's authorities to help them manage the influx of people relocating there in order to escape the effects of climate change.

Bangladesh: Facilitating access to climate finance programmes

Bangladesh is one of the first countries in the world that have been forced to respond to climate change with concrete measures. To achieve this, the country needs access to international climate finance measures, as the country cannot cope with the consequences of salting the groundwater, extreme drought periods or stronger hurricanes by itself. The Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) is helping the country to create the necessary framework conditions for this.

Rwanda: Rwaza small hydropower plant provides clean energy

Germany is assisting Rwanda in implementing its energy strategy. With German support, the Rwaza small hydropower plant is being built on the Mukungwa River in northern Rwanda, not far from the city of Musanze. The plant is to be ready for operation at the end of 2018. It will then produce 20 gigawatt hours a year, or 2 per cent of total electricity output in Rwanda. This will cover the annual power needs of 20,000 Rwandan households.

Malawi: Solar-powered lamps improve the lives of many families

In Malawi, only around 12 percent of the approximately 18 million inhabitants are connected to the electricity grid. The remainder of the population relies on firewood, charcoal and plant residues for its cooking and heating needs. For lighting, small kerosene or battery-powered lamps are used, which are dangerous and environmentally harmful energy sources. The energy partnership Energising Development promotes access to small solar devices.

Promoting renewable energy in Uganda

The economy in Uganda is growing — and along with it, the country’s demand for electricity. Up until recent years, the country regularly faced power shortages. In order to respond to the growing demand in a climate-friendly way, the Ugandan government is relying on renewable energies. The potential for renewables is big. The Ugandan government, together with the KfW Development Bank, have developed the GET-FIT Programme which creates incentives for the expansion of renewable energies through private investors.

Nepal: Electricity for rural areas

In Nepal, about one in five people living in rural areas has no access to electricity. The inhabitants of the community of Jalpa in the District of Khotang were, up until three years ago, reliant on kerosene and firewood for lighting. Through the energy partnership, Energising Development (EnDev), the living conditions for the people of Jalpa have improved. The village now has access to electricity from a small hydropower plant.

Sustainable forestry in Laos

For generations, forests have served as a source of food and income for the people of Khangkao, a mountain village in the North of Laos. Yet, more and more areas of forest in Khangkao are being slashed and burnt so that the steep slopes can be used to grow dry rice or maize. This is where the project "Climate Protection through Avoided Deforestation" (CliPAD) commissioned by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) comes in.

Transforming the transport sector

A global transformation of the transport sector is needed. The infrastructure that is put in place today will determine how we move about tomorrow, and how high (or low) the resultant emissions will be. With that in mind, the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), together with a group of international partners, launched the Transformative Urban Mobility Initiative (TUMI).

Documents and links

BMZ issue pages and videos

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The NDC Partnership

The NDC Partnership is a global initiative to accelerate climate and development action – ensuring countries have the support and tools they need to achieve ambitious climate and sustainable development targets as fast and effectively as possible.

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The NDC Partnership in action

In June 2018, Uganda launched the first NDC Partnership Plan for climate action, outlining priorities for implementation of the Paris Agreement to increase coordination and collaboration with national and international partners.

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Renewable energies

The 2030 Agenda and the Paris Climate Agreement have put the world on a new path to achieve a truly sustainable development. Renewable energies play an important role: they help reduce poverty, promote innovation and create jobs. They increase energy security and mitigate climate change.

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Reducing air pollution with e-trikes

In Naga City in the Philippines, a company has specialised in the construction of e-trikes. Air pollution is to be reduced by these electric vehicles. 90 percent of the required materials are supplied from the immediate surroundings, only 10 to 15 percent have to be imported.

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Philippines: Flood management in Naga City

The city of Naga in the Philippines is located in the center of a typhoon area, regularly flooding. With the help of the initiative "Urban Development for Asia" (CDIA), measures for flood control were financed in Naga.

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Kenya: Green Innovation Centre

In Kenya, farmers are given the opportunity to increase their yields. Agricultural training centres, an agricultural school and a centre for agricultural development work closely together to support farmers in the affected areas.

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Drought resilience: Instant responses & long-term solutions

Droughts are devastating natural disasters. They have caused the death of millions, destroying livelihoods across all continents. They are often linked with local conflicts, triggering forced migration of the poorest. And with global climate change progressing rapidly, droughts are predicted to increase in frequency, duration and severity.

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Protecting forests and using them sustainably

Climate change shows how important it is to use global resources responsibly. Forests are a good example: managing them sustainably enables us to preserve them and benefit from them at the same time.

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REDD+: why Germany is involved

REDD+ is a strategy for climate protection through avoided deforestation. This animated film by the BMZ explains how REDD+ works, it shows why forest protection is extremely important and why Germany is involved.

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Pourquoi l’Allemagne s’engage dans l’initiative REDD+

REDD+ est un concept de protection du climat par la conservation des forêts. Ce film d'animation du BMZ explique clairement le fonctionnement de REDD+, pourquoi la conservation des forêts est si importante et pourquoi l'Allemagne s’y engage.

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Sustainable management of tropical forests

In order to protect the rainforest, the BMZ works with people who depend on the forest for their livelihoods, helping them to develop alternative management methods so that they can plant crops of good quality without having to cut down more forest.

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Video: InsuResilience Global Partnership – A platform for action

In order to provide insurance against climate risk for people in developing countries, the InsuResilience Global Partnership for Climate and Disaster Risk Finance an Insurance Solutions was launched at the UN climate conference in Bonn.

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Replenishment of the Green Climate Fund

The Green Climate Fund (GCF) channels finance to developing countries to help them achieve their climate goals – low-emission, climate-resilient development. The GCF Board decided in October 2018 to launch the Fund’s first replenishment, inviting contributors to pledge further investment into the Fund.