In mid April 2012, the aid organisations terre des hommes and Welthungerhilfe presented “The Reality of Aid 2012”, their 20th Report on German development policy. Their impression is that while there are good intentions, measures are not really appropriate.
The aid organisations terre des hommes and Welthungerhilfe have called on the German Federal Government to refocus its international co-operation. Presenting “The Reality of Aid 2012 – A critical analysis of the German Federal Government’s development policy” in Berlin in mid April, they criticised the government for its lack of coherence and its clinging to concepts that do not take changing global challenges into account.
Important areas are ignored
The report criticises an insufficient increase in government aid efforts, a reduction in the number of partner countries, the refocusing of German development policy on bilateral co-operation and too much emphasis on the (German) private sector. The recently decided transfer of major elements of emergency and transitional aid from the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) to the Foreign Office was a signal in the wrong direction. The result for the countries in need was that urgently required funds were now put on hold pending further budget decisions.
There are many positive approaches, such as the announcement by the BMZ to subject all government projects to a scrutiny regarding human rights risks, says Wolfgang Jamann, Secretary General of Welthungerhilfe. However, Jamann maintains that there is a lack of coherence with other policy fields, so that the effectiveness of such a demand remains questionable. In the latest policy principle concept of the BMZ, he notes an absence of important topics such as primary education or the development of rural regions. Moreover, he adds that since the change of government, a trend has become apparent of counting KfW-Entwicklungsbank loans at market conditions as Official Development Assistance. Not only does this distort figures, Jamann says, but these means also benefit economically more powerful developing countries in particular.
The Welthungerhilfe Secretary General attested the Fourth High-Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness important successes. For example, for the first time, the Final Document was now also being supported by the “new donors”, such as China, India and Brazil – albeit only on a voluntary basis. However, Jamann criticised that the document lacked concrete goals and schedules. Germany ought to urge catching up on this by June 2012 at the latest.
Sustainable development goals are necessary
Danuta Sacher, Executive Director of terre des hommes, stressed the changing global context. The gulf between rich and poor was widening in many countries. Also, the majority of the poor, now more than 70 percent, were living in middle-income countries such as India, China, Brazil or Indonesia. Forecasts indicate that by 2030, 57 percent of the gross national product will be generated by non-OECD countries. Coupled with an alarming scarcity of natural resources and the impact of global climate changes, this shift in economic and political power relations world-wide is posing new challenges for the world community, Sacher maintains, and suggests that in order to address these challenges, German development co-operation requires a new concept with the following cornerstones:
Germany’s development policy ought to be based on the economic, social and cultural human rights and the government commitments that they entail. In addition, the Federal Government ought to apply the so-called Rio commitments as a yardstick for its activities, i.e. the principle of common but different responsibilities on the part of states (according to their contribution to global environmental stress and their economic capacity), the polluter principle (in covering the costs of environmental and economic damage) and the preventive principle (which obliges governments to prevent doing severe harm to humans and the environment in their political action).
A coherence strategy has to be developed that has a binding nature for all government departments. In future, all policy areas ought to be subjected to an “MOT” examining their impact on human rights and development.
In their present form, the Millennium Development Goals do not sufficiently reflect the global challenges. They ought to be replaced by sustainable development goals. In order to strengthen the international architecture to implement sustainable development, the status of the UN Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD) established in Rio de Janeiro in 1992 ought to be enhanced to the level of a UN Council on Sustainable Development along the lines of the UN Council on Human Rights.
The report “The Reality of Aid 2012” is conceived as a shadow report accompanying the official statistics of the Development Assistance Committee/DAC of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). It examines the quantity and quality of German and international development co-operation.