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close this bookGATE - 3/91 - Impact - A Neglected Dimension of AT (GTZ GATE, 1991, 52 p.)
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German development scene

Development Aid Concerns Society as a Whole

On the occasion of this year's Spring Meeting of the World Bank Development Assistance Committee, Carl-Dieter Spranger, the German Federal Minister for Economic Cooperation, reviewed the first 100 days of his term of office, stating that they had focussed on drawing up the key programmes for development policy for the coming four years. Mr. Spranger stressed the high priority to be given to development policy even in the future. The crux in coming years will be to successfully match tried and tested approaches with the new challenges of development policy, in continuity with the development policy guidelines of the German Federal Government.

He continued: "A country can only achieve growth and prosperity when domestic political, economic and social conditions are appropriate. The greater the progress made by a developing country along the road to a free, market-oriented economic order, to political stability, to democracy and respect for human rights, the greater chance it has to assure socially balanced developments and effective poverty alleviation through its own resources. For if the state suppresses the development of self-initiative, development aid from outside has little chance to impact. We will give priority assistance to those countries striving to create such conditions conducive to development.

Development policy is a policy for peace. Development aid cannot replace political solutions. In the optimal case it can only provide short term relief to the impacts of armed conflicts. From those demanding our solidarity in development cooperation we also expect solidarity in preserving peace. The expediency of developing countries' expenditures on armaments will therefore be taken into account in our decision-making on future cooperation. We are aware that developing countries also have legitimate security interests and close attention must be paid to a country's particular defence policy situation and the region in which it is placed.

Long-term priorities

Global challenges are increasingly profiling German development policy priorities in the long term:

Poverty alleviation

Combatting poverty in developing countries will continue to be a key priority area of German development aid in the coming decade.

· This means securing the food basis

· This continues to mean special efforts in promoting private initiative

· An important task of cooperation is therefore to alleviate poverty by helping people to help themselves

· In combatting the causes of poverty, particular attention must be paid to controlling population growth which in many developing countries is a major factor hindering social and economic progress, and also leading to over-exploitation of natural resources.

Education

Alleviating poverty also means: stepping up investments in human resources. Education is the chief capital asset. Basic education for the masses is a decisive precondition for development. High priority must be given to this sector.

Environmental protection

Development policy will form an integral part of international cooperation to overcome global challenges in the nineties - international environmental protection is particularly significant in this context. Worldwide environmental problems will shape international cooperation in the coming years.

Protecting the earth's atmosphere and avoiding climatic damage can only be achieved through world-wide cooperation between industrialized and developing nations. This task presents a special challenge for the financial and technological resources of industrialized nations.

The first all-German development aid budget clearly indicates: unified Germany continues to be a reliable partner for the Third World.

1991 Budget

Despite the strained financial situation, we have raised funding for the Third World again in 1991. The total volume of just under DM 855 billion is an increase of 7.9% compared to 1990's budget - an increase for above the average rate for the overall German Federal budget. Compared to the development aid contributions of the former Federal Republic of Germany and the former German Democratic Republic in 1990, the rate of increase still amounts to 3%.

The budget also proves that our development aid policy is shaped by integration into the international donor community and by global challenges which also require multilateral answers. Over 30 % of funding is for multilateral assistance. The largest items are contributions to the European Development Fund amounting to DM 855 billion, participation in the International Development Organization of the World Bank amounting to almost DM 928 million, over 100 million to the African Development Bank and its Development Fund. And for the first time the development aid budget plan No.23 also contains Germany's contribution to the World Bank's new global environment facility.

Focus on internal conditions

I have already mentioned the importance of internal conditions for effective development aid. The various general work units within the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation (BMZ) have developed indicators on the basis of the findings of a report by the scientific council, designed to assist in integrating the political and sociocultural framework conditions in the given partner country as criteria for planning the scope, form and content of future development cooperation. The indicators are being tested as to their applicability together with the implementing organizations. These approaches have been incorporated into planning for the current year wherever possible.

We must take care not to relieve developing countries' budgets through measures in the welfare sector, for example, whilst at the same time those countries are spending excessive amounts on armaments. Taking account of unjustifiably high expenditures on armaments as a criterion for allocating aid funds is a very important theme in my work. . .

Strategies

Over the past weeks we have defined the objectives for each of the above key areas - poverty alleviation, promotion of education and conservation of the environment, we have stipulated the steps necessary to achieve these goals and issued directives to initiate the appropriate action.

Poverty alleviation:

· The goals are, for example, to raise the proportion of self-help oriented poverty alleviation measures in bilateral aid and to mobilize the productive forces via private-sector structures.

· Together with non-governmental development organizations - the participation of church organizations was particularly intensive- the Federal Government has drawn up a strategy for alleviating poverty through help towards self help and started its implementation.

· The goal is to reduce the imbalance between the demographic figures and the resource base. We want to strengthen our assistance to Third World countries in designing, financing and applying effective population strategies and programmes. We have therefore drawn up a concept to promote population policies and family planning programmes.

· In order to implement this concept it has been decided to strive for a 100% increase in funding allocations for bilateral cooperation in this area.

Education:

· The goal is to raise educational assistance as a whole and particularly contributions in the field of basic education.

· In particularly disadvantaged countries such as in the Sahel, for example, where the State is becoming increasingly unable to guarantee basic education for the population, development aid will continue to also assist basic education via financial cooperation in the long term, although still for a defined period.

· Basic training and upgrading will continue to be major elements of German development aid. Vocational training focussing on the dual system will be maintained and developed as the key approach in this sector. We are also examining the potential for training and consultancy services to support people working in the informal sector.

· Funding allocations for vocational training and upgrading measures have been raised from DM 134 to 195 million in 1991 - also due to the assumption of training and upgrading obligations already entered into by the former GDR. We intend to maintain this allocation for the coming years.

The environmental sector:

· The aims are, for example, to continue developing the tropical forest programme of the Federal Government and intensify cooperation with German environmental associations. The large percentage of environmental projects - making up 20 % of bilateral Technical Cooperation projects in 1990 planning - will be consolidated.

· We will continue to provide soIidarity and support to developing countries in their efforts to ensure environmentally sound development.

· Environmental impact assessments continue to be a major decision-making basis for all projects -even in other sectors.

· In addition to bilateral and multilateral measures to protect and conserve tropical rain forests we will intensify efforts to upgrade environmental authorities in developing countries and to assist in drawing up and applying national independent environmental policies."

The BMZ Minister Mr. Spranger's speech stressed that development aid is not just an issue for the state but also for the community as a whole. He mentioned in this context the, as he put it, exemplary commitment by the churches, non-governmental organizations and political foundations.