21.09.2016

Where do corrections need to be made?
We can’t be satisfied yet. Let’s take German development policy, for instance. Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) responded to the guidelines by maintaining that the principles enshrined in it are nothing new and that it therefore does not need to make any changes to its activities. And the KfW development bank referred to the World Bank standards, which it claims have been tailored to its activities, and therefore sees no reason for changes either. Some embassies respond uncomprehendingly when asked whether German investors comply with the land guidelines.

We can still perceive this resistance today. Early this year, GIZ and the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) issued a manual titled “Land in German Development Cooperation: Guiding Principles, Challenges and Prospects for the Future”. There, the land guidelines are reduced to a tool for assessing “investment in land”. Under the heading ‘Core Principles of Land Governance’, for example, no reference is made to the principles and objectives established in the land guidelines. Or let’s take the chapter on administration, which completely ignores the relevant comprehensive elaborations given in the land guidelines. The positive initiative on the part of the BMZ to draw up a comparison between the World Bank standards and the land guidelines for the KfW and Deutsche Entwicklungsgesellschaft DEG and derive instructions from this exercise has met with considerable opposition. We are also concerned over attempts by some initiatives involving the private sector to reinterpret the land guidelines to make them meet their business interests.

In our view, significant corrections would above all have to be made at two levels, starting with creating a clear focus on marginalised and vulnerable groups, as is stipulated in the overall objective of the land guidelines. Second, what we require in Germany is a more systematic approach formulating long-term goals and developing steps towards such goals.