Human rights in practice
BMZ Information Brochure 7|2010e, December 2010, 28 pages
- Download - new window, PDF 1.5 MB, accessible: Human rights in practice PDF, 1.5 MB, accessible
"For Germany to make headway, particularly in terms of securing the rights of the poorest people in our world, a constructive stance is necessary."
Including people with disabilities, education, climate protection, gender equality, children’s rights, desertification, development funding, the volunteers service, health, rural development, the reform of German development cooperation – the topics dealt with by the BMZ in November 2010 were as varied as German development policy itself.
Read more about these topics and about other news relating to the BMZ's work during the past few weeks in this Newsletter.
Your BMZ Internet Editors
A report commissioned by the BMZ from external experts has confirmed that the merger set in train by the BMZ of the three German implementing organisations GTZ, DED and InWEnt to form one organisation, the Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), makes economic sense. According to the report the entire costs of the merger will have been recovered by 2014, with annual savings being realised as early as 2012. State Secretary Hans-Jürgen Beerfeltz gave an assurance that "the BMZ will make sure that an optimum outcome is achieved." The resources saved as a result of the merger will remain in the BMZ budget.
Moreover, the Association for Learning and Helping Overseas (AKLHÜ) has declared itself willing to transfer its share of five per cent in the DED to the federal government. This was another important step towards the merger, because the awarding of government contracts to the new GIZ is only legally possible if it is wholly owned by the federal government.
The main focus of the second Round Table on the Inclusion of People with Disabilities in Development Cooperation was on the implementation in development policy of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. More than 30 organisations, foundations, government ministries and companies accepted the BMZ’s invitation to come to Bonn in order to look for ways to improve the inclusion of people with disabilities in development projects. "The inclusion of persons with disabilities is a human right and an important goal of the German Development Ministry," Parliamentary State Secretary Gudrun Kopp declared. She emphasised that the issue of disability would be addressed more strongly than hitherto in bilateral government negotiations with partner countries.
At a parliamentary evening organised by the Christoffel Mission for the Blind, State Secretary Hans-Jürgen Beerfeltz also emphasised that the BMZ had set itself the goal of placing greater emphasis than hitherto on the rights of people with disabilities within development cooperation.
The Convention on the Rights of the Child was adopted by the United Nations 21 years ago. Speaking on the anniversary of the adoption of the Convention, Parliamentary State Secretary Gudrun Kopp said, "Children and young people are especially important for German development policy. They account for up to 70 per cent of the population in developing countries and in just a few years they will have significant responsibility as adults and decision-makers for political decisions and social development in the countries in which they live. The BMZ expressly acknowledges in its policy Germany’s commitment to the comprehensive implementation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child."
In November, the 2010 Human Development Report was presented by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). The Report points out, among other things, that countries can use innovative approaches to improve their health and education systems quite significantly at a relatively low cost. Parliamentary State Secretary Gudrun Kopp sees the policy of the German government as confirmed by the Report: "We have made education one of our priority areas because it is the foundation of all development. If we want to promote sustainable development and reduce poverty, we must work with the developing countries to expand their education sectors. Developing countries have achieved important successes in the education and health sectors. In order for these successful efforts to be safeguarded and continued, the German government is working for inclusive, sustainable growth."
On the occasion of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women on 25 November, Parliamentary State Secretary Gudrun Kopp underlined the huge importance of UN Security Council Resolution number 1325. The Resolution calls on conflict parties to protect the rights of women and to include women as equal partners in peace negotiations, conflict talks and reconstruction efforts. "This is a crucial contribution towards overcoming gender-based violence against women and the basis for peace and sustainable development in our partner countries," said Kopp.
Gudrun Kopp also called for women’s involvement to be improved when she spoke at the first International Businesswomen’s Forum in Berlin, an event organised by the Association of German Businesswomen with the support of the BMZ. "Equal access to economic activity for women and men is a human right and a prerequisite for a competitive economy," she said.
Climate protection was the topic of a meeting between German Development Minister Dirk Niebel and Luc Gnacadja, the head of the Secretariat of the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD). On the one hand desertification processes are accelerating climate change, on the other hand climate change will have a particularly strong impact on the people living in the world’s driest areas. That is another reason why rural development and food security are priorities of the BMZ’s work. Germany is supporting the efforts of its partner countries to combat desertification – and the protection of natural resources in rural regions plays a central role in that connection. Without soil protection and sustainable land management, it will not be possible to produce food for a growing world population and thus push down the levels of hunger in the world, said Dirk Niebel. The BMZ will continue with its huge involvement in this area the Minister promised.
At the G-20 summit in South Korea, the 14 most successful models for financing small and medium-sized enterprises in developing countries were announced. One of those chosen and also the winner of the people’s prize is the European Fund for Southeast Europe (EFSE), a microfinance fund initiated through German development cooperation. Parliamentary State Secretary Gudrun Kopp was delighted with the result: "With this competition, the G-20 has embarked on a new and innovative path. Germany was actively involved in ensuring that the private sector – the most important player in this regard – was asked to contribute new ideas. And thus Germany is prepared to contribute up to 30 million euros under the mantle of German development cooperation to support the winning proposals."
The German government invited the winners of the G-20 SME Finance Challenge to a follow-up conference in Cologne on 16 November. At the conference intensive talks were held between investors, especially the multilateral development banks and other development financiers, and the winners to discuss possible contributions towards the implementation of the ideas.
At the beginning of November, German Development Minister Dirk Niebel hosted an official send-off for the ten thousandth weltwärts volunteer before the volunteer left for South Africa. Christian Päßler from Zwickau will spend one year working with disadvantaged children and youths in a skate camp in Isithumba near Durban. The development volunteers service weltwärts is aimed at young people aged from 18 to 28 who are interested in working in development projects for between 6 and 24 months either after leaving school or after completing their studies or vocational training. Since its inception in 2008, the programme has gone from strength to strength. Some 240 sending organisations are now involved, with 5,750 volunteers already having returned from their placements in more than 80 countries.
German Development Minister Dirk Niebel was invited by the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom and the Reinhold Maier Foundation to take part in a panel discussion in Stuttgart on Germany’s role in Afghanistan. In the discussion the Minister made particular reference to the BMZ’s support for German non-governmental organisations: "The NGOs’ work is also very important for the development of civil society in Afghanistan. However, I expect organisations that apply to the BMZ for funding, for taxpayers’ money therefore, to work in close consultation with the other German players on the ground, which includes the Bundeswehr. I would like to underline here that there will be no subordinating the civil activities to the military engagement; the primacy of the political will be upheld."
Hans-Jürgen Beerfeltz, State Secretary in the BMZ, joined Justice Minister Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger in opening the 10th German-Chinese Rule of Law Symposium in Berlin on 15 November. The topic of this year’s symposium was "The Law as it pertains to unfair competition". The symposiums, which have been taking place since 2000, are the annual highlight of the German-Chinese Rule of Law Dialogue. In his opening speech, State Secretary Beerfeltz praised the uniqueness of this dialogue and spoke about the decisive contribution that the BMZ is making towards the dialogue with its legal programme that is scheduled to run until 2014. Development cooperation with China in the legal sector first began over 20 years ago. The programmes financed by the BMZ have provided advisory services that have made successful contributions to the modernisation of the Chinese legal system.
At the government negotiations in Bonn in November, Germany and India agreed to concentrate their development cooperation on the energy, and environmental and climate protection sectors, and also on the field of social protection. Progress made on protecting the environment and the climate in India, one of the world’s biggest emitters of CO2, also contributes to global climate protection. Development cooperation in these sectors therefore also serves fundamental German interests.
At the beginning of a conference entitled "Development of rural regions – new partnerships between policymakers, the business community, academia, and civil society", German Agriculture Minister Ilse Aigner and German Development Minister Dirk Niebel stated: "You cannot fight global hunger without rural development. Developing countries’ agricultural sectors in particular offer enormous potential for development which we need to tap and expand. We want to combine our resources even more efficiently and exchange knowledge." Dirk Niebel said, "On the basis of the principle of helping people to help themselves, we are currently making rural development – an issue that has been given too little attention in the past few decades – a key area of Germany's development policy." He called on partner countries to do everything they can to include the population in the development process. In the period from 2010 to 2012, the BMZ will be making available an annual 700 million euros for rural development, agriculture, and food security.
In November, WHO Director General Margaret Chan, attended by German Health Minister Philipp Rösler and German Development Minister Dirk Niebel, presented the 2010 World Health Report "Health systems financing: the path to universal coverage" in Berlin. The findings of the report were discussed at an international ministerial conference with high-level representatives from industrialised, emerging and developing countries. German Development Minister Dirk Niebel emphasised that "Our task as an international community is to coordinate our efforts in support of the strategies pursued by our partners. That is why Germany is a member of the International Health Partnership (IHP) and the Providing for Health Initiative (P4H). Given the wide variety of structures available for financing global health, I support a strong WHO mandate for global coordination."
Human rights in practice
Rural development and food security
The Millennium Development Goals