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Eschborn -The AT Forum NGO-GTZ (see our series on page 22) is in favour of a organisational link between German disaster relief and the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation (BMZ). In a letter to Chancellor Helmut Kohl, the association of 17 German development NGOs and GTZ argues in favour of a new relationship between development cooperation and emergency ala services m cases of disasters. Up to now, German state-run disaster relief has been coordinated by the foreign office.
"The current disaster relief, which comes into effect in very acute situations, often treats only the symptoms, albeit in a very media- effective way, without dealing with the real causes", it was argued in a discussion paper which was presented by the AT Association in Bonn at the meeting of the AT Forum in November in Eschborn. It is necessary to search for a joint strategy between development organisations and emergency aid services. In cases of disasters, appropriate technology must be used to a far greater extent than at present. The AT Association setup a working group, in which other members of the AT Forum would also like to take part.
In their third meeting, the members of the AT Forum stressed in an interim report that cooperation on specific issues in the year-and-a-half since the Forum was established has been successful. The NGOs increasingly use the technical knowledge of the GATE Information Service on Appropriate Technology (ISAT). On the other hand the GTZ needs the critical monitoring of its work by NGOs, explained Peter Baz, representative of the GTZ in the AT Forum and responsible for the area "Dissemination of Appropriate Technology". Other members also welcomed the cooperation of government and non-governmental organisations with regard to the tighter funding situation for development cooperation.
The objective of the Forum, to embody the appropriate technology approach into German development cooperation, is being promoted by a touring exhibition which provides information about the participating organisations and the purpose of the AT Forum. An exchange of experiences on appropriate medical technology is on the Forum's agenda, through a meeting of experts in January, while work also continues on an "advice database" on appropriate technology.