Newsletter 4 | 2014

German Development Minister Gerd Müller (right) presents the joint action plan of the Textiles Alliance together with (from left to right) Christiane Schnura, coordinator of the Clean Clothes Campaign (CCC), Antje von Dewitz, CEO of VAUDE Sport GmbH & Co. KG and Reiner Hoffmann, president of the Confederation of German Trade Unions (DGB).
German Development Minister Gerd Müller with refugee children at Baharka IDP Camp in the Kurdish autonomous region in northern Iraq
Construction of winterproof shelters for displaced families in Kharkiv
German Minister Gerd Müller meets Nechirvan Barzani, the Prime Minister of the Kurdish regional government.

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

Dear Readers,

We are currently witnessing the worst refugee disaster in decades. For the first time since World War II, there are more than 50 million displaced people worldwide.

According to UNHCR data, more than three million people have so far been displaced to neighbouring countries by the civil war in Syria. Since the beginning of the crisis in Syria in 2012, Germany has made available a total of approximately 614 million euros to the countries in the region.

Since January, 1.8 million people have been displaced from their homes in Iraq, roughly half of them children. Almost 900,000 internally displaced persons have sought refuge in the Kurdish autonomous region in northern Iraq, which is already hosting refugees from Syria.

In early October, German Development Minister Gerd Müller visited northern Iraq in order to learn about the current situation there. The Minister called for further assistance for the region. He said, "Unless action is taken soon, thousands will not survive the winter. That would be a disaster – and would cast shame on the international community."

The German government has also launched assistance efforts for internally displaced people in Ukraine. More than 100 trucks took winterproof shelters to the region. Minister Müller spent two days in Ukraine to talk to government officials and get a first-hand impression of the situation of displaced people.

Apart from the refugee challenges, the BMZ's work in recent weeks has also been dominated by the Ebola epidemic in West Africa. In view of the rapid spread of this virus disease, the Development Ministry has once more increased its support for the regions affected, making available an additional 50 million euros.

With a view to improving social and environmental standards in the textiles and garment industry, German Development Minister Müller launched the Partnership for Sustainable Textiles on 16 October. So far, 35 companies and organisations have signed up to the Partnership.

Another major issue on the agenda of the BMZ in the past few weeks was the UN climate summit in New York.

Read more about this in this newsletter.

Your BMZ Internet Editors

Northern Iraq

German Development Minister Gerd Müller talking to displaced people at Baharka IDP Camp in the Kurdish autonomous region in northern Iraq

Assistance for refugees from Syria and from Iraq

More than two million people fleeing IS terrorists in Iraq and the civil war in Syria have found refuge in the Kurdish autonomous region in northern Iraq. In early October, Minister Gerd Müller visited Erbil, the capital of the autonomous region, in order to learn about the current situation and about the status of implementation of German assistance.

"The aid agencies on the ground are doing a very good job. But they only have money for another six to eight weeks at most. Then they will need to start rationing food for the needy. I therefore promised that I would be pursuing this issue with vigour in the European Union," Müller said. He called on the EU to appoint an emergency refugee commissioner and to make available an extra one billion euros for refugees in northern Iraq.

He noted that in addition to infrastructure, there was also a need for psychosocial care for the refugees. At least one camp is to be set up in northern Iraq with German support before the winter comes. That camp will primarily house women and children who have experienced torture or rape.

In August, the BMZ quickly responded to the worsening situation in Iraq, making an additional 20 million euros available for immediate support measures to help the refugees there.

"The communities and people in the Kurdish region deserve our deepest respect for the outstanding support they are providing to the huge number of refugees. They are helping to ease the refugees' plight and are saving their lives. The international community must not leave the Kurdish regional government to deal with this challenging situation on its own. We need to prevent destabilisation in northern Iraq," Müller said.

Aid convoy

Minister Gerd Müller in front of a truck of the German convoy bringing winterproof shelters to eastern Ukraine

Winterproof shelters for refugees in Ukraine

The German government has increased its support for Ukraine for this year to a total of about 70 million euros. It is now also reaching out to internally displaced persons. In view of the coming winter and the plight of many people, the German government has also sent an aid convoy with winterproof shelters to eastern Ukraine.

More than 100 trucks brought mobile housing units, mobile kitchens, generators, hot water boilers, supply tanks for water and diesel, hygiene kits, medical equipment and consumables. Additional goods were purchased in Ukraine and loaded into the trucks. The relief supplies shipped are worth around ten million euros in total. They were headed for the cities of Kharkiv, Sloviansk, Mariupol, Zaporizhia and Dnipropetrovsk.

In mid-October, Development Minister Müller visited Ukraine in order to get a first-hand impression of the situation of displaced people from eastern Ukraine and to consult with government officials.

In brief

Federal Minister Gerd Müller in conversation with a Syrian refugee family in Mafraq (Jordan), February 2014

Refugees in Jordan
Germany supports municipalities' efforts to enhance infrastructure

Jordan is hosting far over 600,000 Syrian refugees. In September, Minister Gerd Müller committed further grants of 38 million euros for the country. German support for Jordan focuses on municipal drinking water supply, the construction of water pipes and wastewater treatment plants, and waste management. The flow of refugees is putting severe strain on local infrastructure, which had been weak even before.


Final ceremony of the government negotiations between Ethiopia and Germany

Refugees in Ethiopia
Germany will assist Ethiopia

Germany will support Ethiopia in the current refugee crisis. This commitment was made by Parliamentary State Secretary Thomas Silberhorn at the Ethiopian-German government negotiations in Addis Ababa. Ethiopia is currently hosting some 630,000 refugees from neighbouring countries, mainly from South Sudan, Eritrea and Somalia.



Ebola epidemic

Medical personnel in Guinea putting on protective gear against Ebola

BMZ increases assistance for affected regions in West Africa

Every day, the Ebola epidemic in West Africa is claiming more victims. In the period up to 17 October, more than 9,000 people have been infected with Ebola according to WHO data; more than 4,500 have died so far.

In view of the dimensions of the disaster, the BMZ is providing assistance to affected regions in the areas of food security, prevention and health care. It has made available an extra 50 million euros for this purpose. The Budget Committee of the German Parliament has approved the funding.

The BMZ will make some of the funds available to non-governmental organisations that are active on the ground. Part of the funding goes to the World Food Programme (WFP) and UNICEF to support their work in the regions in question. The BMZ is also providing 10 million euros in support of WHO's Ebola crisis response plan.

This brings the total assistance provided by the German government to about 101.7 million euros.

At present, Germany's development cooperation with the countries concerned is only operating on a very limited scale due to the Ebola crisis. In Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone in particular, staff of Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) and KfW Development Bank are assisting with the implementation of practical aid – in other words prevention, education and procurement.

In addition to the BMZ, other German federal ministries are also active in the countries affected by Ebola. The German government has appointed a Special Representative who directs the ministries' cooperation on their Ebola response.

Social standards

German Development Minister Gerd Müller with Kailash Satyarthi from India, Nobel Peace Prize laureate 2014

BMZ launches Partnership for Sustainable Textiles

On 16 October, German Development Minister Gerd Müller was joined by representatives from the private sector, trade unions and civil society as he presided over the launch of the Partnership for Sustainable Textiles. The aim of the Partnership, launched one-and-a-half years after the collapse of the Rana Plaza factory building, is to achieve tangible improvements in social and environmental standards in the textiles and garment industry.

So far, 35 companies and organisations have signed up to the Partnership. "Our fairness alliance is a concrete manifestation of development policy. However, I respect the decision of various associations and companies that want to take more time before deciding whether or not to join the Textiles Partnership. Our doors are open for them to participate in the process and join the Partnership at any time," Müller said.

He was able to find one prominent supporter for his cause at an event organised by Robert Bosch Foundation. This year's winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, Kailash Satyarthi, congratulated the Minister on the Textiles Partnership and spontaneously offered his support.

Satyarthi, who has devoted his life to the fight against child labour, said he was convinced that he would live to see the end of child slavery and child labour. He said that the Development Minister's initiative would make an outstanding contribution to this. He noted that, in addition to better labour standards, education was a key factor in liberating children and their families from the vicious circle of poverty.

Efficient climate action is a vital issue for the survival of humankind.

Gerd Müller
German Development Minister

UN climate summit 2014

Minister Müller attends the UN Climate Summit 2014 as the representative of the German government.

"Climate action as an element of development policy makes good sense"

German Development Minister Gerd Müller and German Environment Minister Barbara Hendricks represented the German government at the UN climate summit in New York in September. Together, they called for more action on climate change and climate finance.

"Climate action as an element of development policy makes good sense. With every euro that we invest in climate-related measures we are saving four euros that we would have to spend in the future to address environmental damage. We already know that it is people in developing and emerging countries who will bear the brunt of climate change," Müller said in his speech at the United Nations.

Between 2005 and 2014, Germany increased its contributions towards international climate action fourfold, from 470 million euros to more than 1.8 billion euros. Germany has also been pushing hard for the Green Climate Fund to be set up as a mechanism that the international donor community can use in the future to finance global projects to protect the climate. Germany has pledged 750 million euros towards this new fund.

Speech at UN General Assembly

Bundesentwicklungsminister Dr. Gerd Müller bei einem Statement vor der Generalversammlung der Vereinten Nationen am 22. September 2014 in New York

On 22 September, German Development Minister Gerd Müller spoke at the 29th Special Session of the United Nations General Assembly on population and development, where he called for a new global partnership. "We need a new way of thinking and stronger action to resolve the challenges that threaten the survival of humankind", Müller said. The Minister pointed out that the rich industrialised nations should assume more responsibility and do more to foster the development of poorer countries.

An audio file of his speech can be found here

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