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2014

Newsletter 1 | 2014


German Development Minister Gerd Müller and the two new Parliamentary State Secretaries, Christian Schmidt (left) and Hans-Joachim Fuchtel (right), during the handover ceremony at the Development Ministry
Federal President Joachim Gauck hands Development Minister Müller his letter of appointment.
German Development Minister Gerd Müller being sworn into office in the German Parliament
German Development Minister Gerd Müller during his speech at the handover ceremony at the Development Ministry

Current development policy
News from the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development



Dear Readers,

On 17 December 2013, Dr Gerd Müller became the new Federal Minister for Economic Co­op­er­a­tion and De­vel­op­ment. In his work, he is being supported by two Parliamentary State Secretaries, Hans-Joachim Fuchtel and Christian Schmidt, and by State Secretary Friedrich Kitschelt.

Meet the new BMZ leaders in this newsletter.

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Dr Gerd Müller, Federal Minister for Economic Co­op­er­a­tion and De­vel­op­ment

German Development Minister Dr Gerd Müller

"It is our humanitarian duty to help the poorest of the poor"

On 17 December 2013, Dr Gerd Müller became the new Federal Minister for Economic Co­op­er­a­tion and De­vel­op­ment.

58-year-old Gerd Müller is a member of the Christian Social Union (CSU) and previously held the position of Parliamentary State Secretary in the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture, where he was responsible, among other things, for de­vel­op­ment projects, world food affairs and rural de­vel­op­ment – issues to which he wants to devote special attention in his new capacity as well, with a view to further reducing hunger and pov­er­ty worldwide.

Gerd Müller has been a member of the German Parliament since 1994 and has always won a majority in his constituency since. His constituency, Oberallgäu, is in Bavaria and includes the districts of Lindau and Oberallgäu as well as the town of Kempten. He lives there with his wife and their two children. "My family is the strong foundation for my work," he says.

Müller's interest and involvement in politics began at an early age. At the age of 25, he began to work at the Bavarian Ministry of Economic Affairs, where he stayed until 1989. His last position there was as a policy officer in the policy division. From 1989 to 1994 he was a member of the European Parliament and Parliamentary Secretary of the CDU/CSU group there.

"I have been passionate about de­vel­op­ment policy ever since I was young," Müller said. This is also evident in his political career. Before he became Parliamentary State Secretary in the Agriculture Ministry, he was the spokesman of the CSU members of parliament for foreign affairs, European policy and de­vel­op­ment policy.


 
The right to food is the fundamental human right.

Gerd Müller
German Development Minister


Interview with the new German De­vel­op­ment Minister

Three questions – three answers

After your first few days and weeks in office, what are your initial impressions of your new Ministry and your new job?

I enjoy my new task very much, and I am truly impressed by this Ministry and its staff. Everywhere, I have been welcomed with open arms. Here and in my first meetings with our implementing organisations and civil society, I have met dedicated, motivated people who have a deep commitment to de­vel­op­ment co­op­er­a­tion. In the past few weeks, I have often read articles which claim that this Ministry is very unimportant. But the truth of the matter is that de­vel­op­ment co­op­er­a­tion offers us enormous, im­por­tant opportunities to give direction to global matters. It is partly up to us to determine what tomorrow's world will look like – so this Ministry is really the ministry for peace and the future.

Which de­vel­op­ment issue is par­tic­u­lar­ly im­por­tant to you personally?

There are still one billion people in the world who are hungry – and the challenge is growing every day. Each day, the global popu­la­tion grows by the number of people living in a medium-sized city – more than 200,000 people. So my main concern is to take decisive action against hunger and pov­er­ty. We will best succeed in that if we significantly scale up our support for rural de­vel­op­ment and use natural assets sparingly. We need to invest in the transfer of know-how, not in food shipments. We must ensure that people in de­vel­op­ing coun­tries will not simply survive but also have prospects for a better life. If we fail to do that, we will have countless refugee tragedies such as those near Lampedusa.

What will be the priorities of Germany's de­vel­op­ment co­op­er­a­tion during your term in office?

Apart from my interest in global food security, I will focus on continued determined action in pursuit of the Millennium De­vel­op­ment Goals. And we are nearing a landmark year for de­vel­op­ment, 2015. For one thing, Germany will have the G8 presidency in 2015. And by that year, we will have to agree on a new global set of goals that will not only focus on de­vel­op­ment but also on sustainability issues. We need to bring the two processes together. In that context, my vision is an environmentally and socially compatible market economy. In the industrialised coun­tries, we first need to live up to our own re­spon­si­bil­i­ty for the integrity of creation before we point our finger at de­vel­op­ing coun­tries and emerging economies. In view of these challenges, which are of a very fundamental nature, it is obvious that I view my task as one which transcends party lines. When we are concerned with issues that determine the survival of human kind, we cannot make any progress by party political point-scoring – this would not be an adequate response to the task we are facing.  This is also why we will work with all relevant stakeholders and organisations to develop – based on an open dialogue – a charter for the future to guide our de­vel­op­ment policy.


 

Photo gallery

Visit our current photo gallery for numerous pictures of Dr Gerd Müller taking office (captions are in German).


Parliamentary State Secretary

Parliamentary State Secretary Hans-Joachim Fuchtel and German Development Minister Dr Gerd Müller

Hans-Joachim Fuchtel

Hans-Joachim Fuchtel, a member of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU), is one of the two new Parliamentary State Secretaries to the Federal Minister for Economic Co­op­er­a­tion and De­vel­op­ment. Fuchtel, who is a lawyer by profession, had previously served as Parliamentary State Secretary in the Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs.

He has been involved in de­vel­op­ment policy for a long time, so he is familiar with the topic. From 1991 to 2009 he was a member of the German delegation of eight to the Assembly of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU); from 2008 to 2009 he served as IPU rapporteur on climate change, sus­tain­able de­vel­op­ment models and renewable energy.

Until 2009, he was a deputy member of the parliamentary Committee on Economic Co­op­er­a­tion and De­vel­op­ment. Until that same year, he also was a member of the board of the Helfende Hände (Helping hands) association, which provides targeted, direct humanitarian assistance in Mauritania and was set up at his initiative in 2003.

In his capacity as president of the German association for the Federal Agency for Technical Relief (THW) from 1998 to 2010, he did significant work in relation to civil protection and disaster relief, both nationally and internationally. Until 2010, he was also the chair of the board of the THW Foundation.

Hans-Joachim Fuchtel was born in Sulz in the federal state of Baden-Württemberg. He is divorced and has four children. He has been a member of the German Parliament since 1987, having always won the constituency of Calw/Freudenstadt since. Until he was appointed Parliamentary State Secretary to the Federal Minister of Labour and Social Affairs in 2009, he practised as a lawyer in Nagold.

In addition to his position of Parliamentary State Secretary, Hans-Joachim Fuchtel has been the German government's representative for the German-Greek Assembly since 2011. The Assembly's purpose is to foster Greek-German co­op­er­a­tion at the municipal level.


Parliamentary State Secretary

Parliamentary State Secretary Christian Schmidt

Christian Schmidt

Christian Schmidt was appointed Parliamentary State Secretary to the Federal Minister for Economic Co­op­er­a­tion and De­vel­op­ment in December 2013. Prior to that, Schmidt, who has a degree in law, held the same post at the Federal Ministry of Defence for eight years.

Christian Schmidt is very familiar with the field of de­vel­op­ment policy. From 1990 to 1998 he was a member of the Committee on Economic Co­op­er­a­tion and De­vel­op­ment in the German Parliament. In that capacity he played a major role in shaping German de­vel­op­ment co­op­er­a­tion.

He also brings a wealth of experience from his work at the Defence Ministry that will serve him well in his new position: for example, multi-ministerial co­op­er­a­tion with fragile states such as the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Mali. Moreover, Christian Schmidt was also significantly involved in the de­vel­op­ment of the so-called "comprehensive approach". This approach, which has been used for example in Afghanistan, is of fundamental importance for German de­vel­op­ment co­op­er­a­tion, because there can be no security without de­vel­op­ment and no de­vel­op­ment without security.

As a private individual, Christian Schmidt has been an active proponent of civil society involvement for many years. For example, he has been a volunteer member of the board of Help e.V. for more than 20 years. This association, which is a member of Aktion Deutsch­land Hilft (Germany's Relief Coalition), delivers rapid and effective assistance when disasters or emergencies occur in other coun­tries.

Christian Schmidt was born in Obernzenn on 26 August 1957. He is married and has two children.

His interest in politics began at an early age: he became a member of the Christian Social Union (CSU) in 1973. He has been a member of the German Parliament since 1990 and has always won a majority in his constituency since. He represents the constituency of Fürth, which consists of the town of Fürth and the districts of Fürth and Neustadt an der Aisch-Bad Windsheim.

As a lawyer he specialised in labour and competition law. At present he is not actively working in this capacity.

Schmidt is a deputy chairman of the CSU and chairs the Protestant Working Group of the CSU. He also chairs the CSU working group on foreign, security and de­vel­op­ment policy.

As a Member of Parliament, Schmidt has represented the CSU group of parliamentarians as a spokesperson for foreign, security, European and de­vel­op­ment policy; he has also served as defence policy spokesperson of the CDU/CSU parliamentary group; he has been a member of the Committee on Foreign Affairs, the Committee on Economic Co­op­er­a­tion and De­vel­op­ment and the Defence Committee.


State Secretary

State Secretary Friedrich Kitschelt

Dr Friedrich Kitschelt

Dr Friedrich Kitschelt is the new State Secretary in the Federal Ministry for Economic Co­op­er­a­tion and De­vel­op­ment (BMZ). He has worked at the BMZ since 1989, most recently as head of the Directorate-General "Africa and Latin America; Global and Sectoral Affairs". He is a trained journalist and studied sociology, economics and law.

Dr Kitschelt has held various positions at the BMZ, including head of the Directorate for Asia and South-Eastern Europe, Director for Asia, Special Commissioner for Afghanistan and BMZ Commissioner for Europe. Dr Kitschelt spent some time working at the Federal Chancellery, where he headed the division for North-South relations and human rights policy.

State Secretary Kitschelt has more than twelve years' experience of working abroad in various coun­tries, including Jamaica, India, Kenya and Belgium. Some of these periods abroad were spent working for GTZ – as it was then known – now the Deutsche Ge­sell­schaft für In­ter­natio­nale Zu­sam­men­ar­beit (GIZ). In Kenya he was in charge of German-Kenyan de­vel­op­ment co­op­er­a­tion at the German Embassy in Nairobi and in Brussels he headed the division for de­vel­op­ment policy at Germany's Permanent Representation to the European Union.


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