Climate change and development
Climate change is hitting the poorest countries hardest. And yet those countries are contributing next to nothing to the process of climate change. That is why climate change mitigation and adaptation are key policy focuses for the Development Ministry.
Responsibility for our planet
“Responsibility for our planet – climate and energy” is one of the core areas of the work of the German Development Ministry. The BMZ assists people in developing countries in making headway on climate change mitigation and dealing with the consequences of climate change. To that end, the Ministry works together with its partner countries across the world, helping to foster implementation of the Paris Agreement and the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
Industrialised countries like Germany are the main contributors to the already perceptible change in the climate. That is why these countries must now set a good example and reduce their greenhouse gas emissions.
The industrialised countries have also pledged to help the developing countries and emerging economies, which are often particularly affected by climate change, in their efforts to implement the Paris targets for climate change mitigation and adaptation. These efforts will not only help to protect the climate but will also open up new opportunities for economic development and social progress in our partner countries. If the Paris Agreement is to be implemented, it is crucial that climate action is undertaken in emerging economies and developing countries too, for they now produce around two thirds of global emissions.
In concrete terms, the BMZ's activities are geared towards reducing greenhouse gas emissions – for example through climate-neutral energy generation, forest conservation and climate-friendly mobility – and towards adaptation to climate change – for instance through improved water resource management, climate-resilient agriculture, climate risk analyses and insurance against climate-related damage. In this way, the BMZ is contributing towards international climate financing and towards making international financial flows climate neutral.
The BMZ assists developing countries in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and addressing the consequences of climate change with a view to implementing international climate and development goals. To that end, a number of climate initiatives of international significance have been launched and supported by the BMZ and its partners.
They include the NDC Partnership, which seeks to help countries implement, and increase the ambition of, their Nationally Determined Contributions under the Paris Agreement, and the InsuResilience Global Partnership for climate risk insurance. The BMZ also supports the expansion of renewable energy generation and reforestation in Africa, and forest conservation worldwide. Other BMZ initiatives focus on sustainable urban transport and climate-neutral transport.
During its G7 Presidency, Germany has made a start on developing a Global Shield against Climate Risks, a move which has been unanimously supported by the G7. The Shield gathers activities in the field of climate risk finance and preparedness together under one roof.
Another way in which the BMZ is combining development and climate action measures involves the voluntary offsetting of emissions by non-governmental entities, for example enterprises. By creating the Development and Climate Alliance (External link) in 2018, the BMZ provided a platform for such efforts. In 2020, the Alliance was converted into a foundation with its own governing board. The Alliance already has more than 900 supporters who are striving to become climate neutral by avoiding or reducing emissions and offsetting any remainder.
The BMZ itself is also setting a good example: at the end of 2019, the BMZ became the first federal ministry that counts as climate neutral. For a detailed description of our path to climate neutrality, see our report “Klimaneutrales BMZ 2020” (in German) on making the BMZ climate neutral by 2020.
“Responsibility for our planet – climate and energy” BMZ Core Area Strategy
Fighting global warming and supporting adaptation to climate change have long been important areas of Germany's development policy. The BMZ's Core Area Strategy on “Responsibility for Our Planet – Climate and Energy” provides a framework for the BMZ’s activities in this field. The Core Area Strategy is the pilot strategy for the “BMZ 2030” reform process, in which the BMZ defined five long-term “core areas” on which it will concentrate.
It focuses on approaches that support the social, environmental and economic transformation that is needed to achieve the 1.5 degree target and the goals of the 2030 Agenda. Through strategic cooperation on climate action with selected partner countries, the BMZ wants to achieve a new quality of cooperation.
The Core Area Strategy deepens the BMZ's approach in three areas of intervention:
The BMZ also systematically promotes environmentally sustainable and climate-compatible development in other relevant sectors, in particular in relation to nutrition systems, forest conservation, biodiversity and water. The relevant strategies and their relevance to the issue of climate change are explained in the respective core area strategies, in particular in the core areas “Protecting Life on Earth – The Environment and Natural Resources” and “A World Without Hunger”.