View of a ditch in the Kutupalong refugee camp, Cox Bazar in Bangladesh

Transitional development assistance Overcoming crises, strengthening resilience, creating new prospects

From the Sahel region to Yemen and all the way to Iraq: crises like violent conflicts, natural disasters and epidemics have increased dramatically across the globe. The number of people living in regions that are affected by protracted, complex and recurrent crises is increasing.

Poor population groups in particular are often defenceless in the face of violent conflicts and natural disasters. When their livelihoods are destroyed they are often unable to rebuild them without assistance. In addition, the governments in the affected regions often lack the will or the capacity to protect the people and facilitate reconstruction. The impacts can also spill over into neighbouring countries, for instance when they result in a refugee influx.

In such contexts, the BMZ draws on a quick and flexible instrument for recovery, namely: transitional development assistance. Its purpose is to help strengthen the resilience of people who are particularly hard hit and of local structures in a sustainable way so that they will be able to deal with existing crises themselves and reduce the risk of new crises. Transitional development assistance thus makes an important contribution to crisis prevention.

The new strategy on transitional development assistance, which was published by the BMZ in July 2020, lays out a clear and internationally recognised strategic framework for continuing to respond to the diverse challenges of the multidimensional crises around the world.

Still from the video "From crises to prospects – with Transitional Development Assistance"
Video: From crises to prospects – with Transitional Development Assistance
Cover: Crisis management in practice
Cover: Crisis management in practice

BMZ Newsletter of the Refugee and Migration Sub-Division; Crisis Prevention and Management; Refugee Policy Officer
Issue 1 (March 2021)

BMZ strategy papers

cover strategiepapier en

Strategy on Transitional Development Assistance

File type PDF | Date of status 07/2021 | File size 814 KB, Pages 24 Pages | Accessibility Accessible
Cover factsheet Strengthening resilience. Creating new prospects.

Strengthening resilience. Creating new prospects.

File type PDF | Date of status 09/2021 | File size 374 KB, Pages 4 Pages | Accessibility Accessible
Cover product sheet resilience analyses

Resilience analyses

File type PDF | Date of status 12/2021 | File size 1 MB, Pages 2 Pages | Accessibility Accessible

German and French versions

Strategie der struktur­bildenden Über­gangs­hilfe

File type PDF | Date of status 07/2020 | File size 613 KB, Pages 24 Pages | Accessibility Accessible

Resilienz stärken. Perspektiven schaffen

File type PDF | Date of status 09/2021 | File size 359 KB, Pages 4 Pages | Accessibility Accessible

Resilienzanalysen

File type PDF | Date of status 12/2021 | File size 384 KB, Pages 2 Pages | Accessibility Accessible

Stratégie d'aide de transition pour le développement

File type PDF | Date of status 07/2020 | File size 819 KB, Pages 24 Pages | Accessibility Accessible

Renforcer la résilience. Créer des perspectives.

File type PDF | Date of status 09/2021 | File size 369 KB, Pages 4 Pages | Accessibility Accessible

Analyses de résilience

File type PDF | Date of status 12/2021 | File size 1 MB, Pages 2 Pages | Accessibility Accessible

What do we want to achieve? Promoting reconstruction and peaceful coexistence, reducing poverty

The transitional development assistance provided by the BMZ creates links between short-term humanitarian assistance and long-term development cooperation and also makes a contribution to peacebuilding. This close dovetailing ensures that even the very first support measures promote social recovery and peaceful coexistence in a sustainable manner and reduce poverty. It is the only way for people to be able to improve their prospects by their own efforts and not be repeatedly dependent on external help.

Transitional development assistance always builds on existing structures and the knowledge of the people on the ground and is implemented in cooperation with experienced partners. That includes German non-governmental organisations, the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), KfW, the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) and the World Food Programme of the United Nations (WFP).

The BMZ sets out binding rules for its partner organisations, thus creating a framework for their work and ensuring the effectiveness of its transitional development assistance.

In order to address crises effectively transitional development assistance focuses on four key areas:

  • Food and nutrition security
  • Rebuilding basic infrastructure and services
  • Disaster risk management
  • Peaceful and inclusive communities

Transitional development assistance is rooted in a comprehensive approach that links different areas so as to improve the livelihoods of affected people as effectively as possible.

The fields of action of transitional development assistance
The fields of action of transitional development assistance
Cover factsheet Building peace strengthening resilience

Factsheet: Peaceful and inclusive communities

File type PDF | Date of status 09/2021 | File size 1 MB, Pages 4 Pages | Accessibility Accessible
managing disasters mitigating risks

Factsheet: Disaster risk management

Managing disasters. Mitigating risks. Strengthening resilience.

File type PDF | Date of status 05/2022 | File size 664 KB, Pages 4 Pages

German and French versions

Factsheet: Friedliches und inklusives Zusammenleben

File type PDF | Date of status 07/2021 | File size 911 KB, Pages 4 Pages | Accessibility Accessible

Fiche d'information: Coexistence pacifique et inclusive

File type PDF | Date of status 09/2021 | File size 1 MB, Pages 4 Pages | Accessibility Accessible

Factsheet: Katastrophen­risiko­management

Katastrophen bewältigen. Risiken mindern. Resilienz stärken.

File type PDF | Date of status 05/2022 | File size 670 KB, Pages 4 Pages

Practical examples of transitional development assistance | COVID-19 pandemic Rapid response to current crises

In Somalia, the population is being informed about the coronavirus through awareness campaigns.

In Somalia, the population is being informed about the coronavirus through awareness campaigns.

In Somalia, the population is being informed about the coronavirus through awareness campaigns.

In crisis contexts, the Corona pandemic has sometimes had particularly catastrophic effects and continues to pose an existential threat to the livelihoods of many people. 

The BMZ’s transitional development assistance provides rapid and flexible support to reduce the spread of the virus and to mitigate its negative consequences.

The implementing partners of transitional development assistance are adapting their programmes in the four fields of action to the pandemic situation and the respective local contexts.

See also

They are building capacities in the health sector, training specialised personnel, disseminating information through campaigns, securing training and income opportunities, and ensuring access to water, sanitation, and hygiene services. Since the beginning of 2020, partners have also been able to use their funds in particular for this purpose.

Transitional development assistance aims to prevent the negative consequences of the pandemic and enables people to adapt to the situation. The measures support local structures and sustainably strengthen the resilience, in particular of mothers, children, displaced people, host communities and other affected persons.

Regional focus

Transitional development assistance is mainly employed in countries affected by multiple crises and where the state on its own is incapable of supporting the people and communities affected by crises and disasters. It is engaged primarily in countries in the Middle East, East and Central Africa and the Sahel region.

The following factsheets provide more specific insights into the transitional development assistance and show how and why the BMZ supports crisis management in countries of these regions. Why, for instance, is transitional development assistance being implemented in Iraq, Somalia or the Sahel region? What are the local communities’ needs and how are they being met?

Factsheets on the regional engagement

Cover: Die strukturbildende Übergangshilfe im Sahel

Transitional development assistance in the Sahel

File type PDF | Date of status 01/2022 | File size 7 MB, Pages 4 Pages | Accessibility Accessible
Cover factsheet Somalia

Transitional development assistance in Somalia

File type PDF | Date of status 09/2021 | File size 4 MB, Pages 4 Pages
Transitional Development Assistance in Iraq

Transitional Development Assistance in Iraq

File type PDF | Date of status 12/2019 | File size 433 KB, Pages 4 Pages

German and French versions

Die strukturbildende Übergangshilfe im Sahel

File type PDF | Date of status 01/2022 | File size 7 MB, Pages 4 Pages | Accessibility Accessible

Die strukturbildende Übergangshilfe in Somalia

File type PDF | Date of status 04/2021 | File size 1 MB, Pages 4 Pages | Accessibility Accessible

Die strukturbildende Übergangshilfe im Irak

File type PDF | Date of status 05/2022 | File size 910 KB, Pages 3 Pages

L'aide de transition pour le développement dans le Sahel

File type PDF | Date of status 01/2022 | File size 7 MB, Pages 4 Pages | Accessibility Accessible

Practical examples of transitional development assistance | Food security Achieving food security and creating income opportunities in the Sahel region

In Chad, the local population is supported in growing vegetables needed for children's school meals.

In Chad, the local population is supported by the Sahel Resilience Initiative of WFP and BMZ in growing vegetables needed for children's school meals.

In Chad, the local population is supported by the Sahel Resilience Initiative of WFP and BMZ in growing vegetables needed for children's school meals.

Almost five million people in the Sahel region are affected by protracted food insecurity. The region is characterised by recurrent droughts, political instability, limited access to basic services and high population growth.

Together with the World Food Programme of the United Nations (WFP), the BMZ developed the initiative for resilience in the Sahel to bring about sustainable improvements in the food and income situations of people in Burkina Faso, Chad, Niger, Mali, and Mauritania.

The support ranges from providing school meals to rehabilitating agricultural land. People work for cash on a temporary basis. The influx of cash strengthens local markets. So far, 1.4 million people have benefited from these measures.

Recently, the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) has also begun supporting children and young people in the Sahel in cooperation with WFP, working in the areas of education, food security, improving water and sanitation, and child protection. By 2022, a total of 3 million people will have been reached in Niger, Mali and Mauritania, 1.9 million of them are children.

Example Niger Jointly strengthening peaceful and inclusive communities 

The joint programme in Niger by the World Food Programme (WFP) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) of the United Nations strengthens people’s resilience and promotes social cohesion.  

Attacks by the Boko Haram militia, weak state institutions and intensifying conflicts over natural resources are leading to hunger, insecurity, and displacement in Diffa in Niger. Social ties within families, between generations and ethnic groups have been severely strained or torn apart by violence, extreme poverty, and human rights violations. 

The World Food Programme supports communities in improving their access to land and water resources, for example through restoring cultivable land and irrigation systems. Meanwhile, UNICEF supports communities in health care, family planning and nutrition for their children, for example by distributing nutritious food. Girls additionally benefit from cash transfers which provide for their basic needs. This enables them to go to school instead of working at home to support their families. In the joint programmes, the population groups help plan services in their community. The programme supports young people to engage in intergenerational dialogues that promote peace. 

Graphic: Example of a joint programme of the World Food Programme, UNICEF and BMZ in the context of transitional development assistance.

Graphic: Example of a joint programme of the World Food Programme, UNICEF and BMZ in the context of transitional development assistance.

Graphic: Example of a joint programme of the World Food Programme, UNICEF and BMZ in the context of transitional development assistance.

BMZ’s transitional development assistance increasingly commissions United Nations organisations with so-called "joint programmes". The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and local partners also contribute their expertise and experience. These complement each other and enable synergies. In the joint programmes, measures from different sectors are linked with each other to increase the sustainability of the programmes. 

Practical examples of transitional development assistance | Inclusive living Developing infrastructure and promoting peaceful communities in Iraq

In northern Iraq, the reconstruction of destroyed infrastructure and peaceful and inclusive coexistence are being promoted.

In northern Iraq, the reconstruction of destroyed infrastructure and peaceful and inclusive coexistence are being promoted.

In northern Iraq, the reconstruction of destroyed infrastructure and peaceful and inclusive coexistence are being promoted.

The Syria crisis and the expansion of the so-called Islamic State led to a massive influx of refugees into northern Iraq. More than 1.4 million internally displaced persons and some 235,000 refugees from Syria are pushing the infrastructure of host communities to its limits, making it impossible for everyone to be provided for at the same time. Thanks to transitional development assistance both the refugees and local communities now have improved access to safe water, basic medical services and psychosocial counselling. More than seven million people are benefiting from these measures. Support is also being provided to returnees to help them develop new prospects in destroyed areas that have been liberated from the so-called Islamic State. Schools and hospitals, for instance, are being rebuilt and support is being provided to revive agricultural production.

The comprehensive approach of transitional development assistance also includes measures to reduce the risk of conflict between local people and refugees. The measures contribute as well to promoting peaceful communities and dialogue between all the religious and ethnic groups in the region. This approach follows the recommendations of the World Bank's Building for Peace report.

The examples show that the BMZ's transitional development assistance focuses not on the weaknesses but on the strengths of people and institutions. It safeguards livelihoods, creates opportunities, and promotes peaceful and inclusive coexistence.

Still from the video "Building infrastructure for peace"
Video: Building infrastructure for peace