Exterior view of the German Parliament (Reichstag) in Berlin

Structure Development policy in Parliament

The German Bundestag (Parliament) addresses development policy in various ways. These include debates on the fundamental principles of development policy, debates on topical issues or specific regions and the decisions taken by the Committee on Economic Cooperation and Development (AwZ) or other committees and bodies.

The debates are based on reports produced by the federal government, current political events or international conferences. Parliamentary questions and motions on relevant issues are also debated in the Bundestag. Every autumn the draft budget presented by the federal government for the coming year is debated.

Since the 14th legislative period (1998 to 2002), policy statements on development have been an integral part of the debates of the Bundestag. Increasingly, development policy concerns are also being taken into consideration in crisis management and prevention, foreign trade and foreign policy.

Parliament The Committees

The Committee on Economic Cooperation and Development

Like all committees of the German Bundestag (Parliament), the Committee on Economic Cooperation and Development (AwZ) is responsible for preparing parliamentary negotiations and decisions, and following them up in depth. It considers items of business referred to it, can request the opinion of other committees, and then returns the motion to the plenary for final deliberation and decision. The AwZ also looks at other issues concerning German and international development cooperation on its own initiative, and conducts public hearings in this regard.

The Budget Committee

The decisions and recommendations of the Budget Committee are crucial in determining the volume and general structure of the BMZ budget, since the Budget Committee prepares all the decisions the German Bundestag (Parliament) takes concerning the budget. The other specialised committees of the Bundestag submit their comments to the Budget Committee in the form of specialist reports. The Committee on Economic Cooperation and Development (AwZ) does so for the field of development policy. However, the volume of funds actually allocated to the BMZ budget is determined by the German Bundestag (Parliament), irrespective of the recommendations made by the Budget Committee.

Other bodies

The Committee on Human Rights and Humanitarian Assistance of the German Bundestag (Parliament) was upgraded for the first time from a subcommittee to a fully fledged committee in the 14th legislative period (1998 to 2002). It also looks closely at human rights issues in developing countries. The current focus of its work includes developments in Afghanistan, Sudan, Iraq, the Middle East and other crisis regions, as well as respect for human rights in Islamic countries.

Development policy topics are also dealt with by the Foreign Affairs Committee. This is a very important body, in which German foreign policy is discussed, formulated, and monitored.

Alongside the committees, the Bundestag also has various study commissions looking at areas relevant to development policy. They are set up to do the groundwork for the Bundestag when decisions have to be made on complex topics with a wide scope. They are made up of members of the Bundestag and external experts.