The coronavirus crisis presents new challenges for the development policy of the German federal government. Beyond the crucial short-term aid being provided through the German government’s coronavirus rapid-relief programme, significantly greater funds will be needed in the long term to fight the hunger, the poverty, and the education gaps resulting from the pandemic.
The economic effects of the crisis are striking the world’s poorest countries the hardest, as explained by the German Welthungerhilfe and the children's aid organisation terre des hommes at this year's presentation of their joint report on the reality of development policy. The report was launched on 18th May 2020 in Berlin, Germany.
“For us, face masks might be most representative of the coronavirus crisis, but for millions of children in impoverished countries, the coronavirus crisis represents poverty and the end of their education opportunities”, said Birte Kötter, executive spokeswoman for terre des hommes.“The coronavirus rapid-relief programme of the German government must therefore explicitly provide for food security and basic schooling so that the crisis does not leave these children at a permanent disadvantage”, she added.
According to the report global hunger rates could rise from 820 million to one billion people as a result of the crisis. The poorest members of society may lose their last source of income overnight when coronavirus-related restrictions eliminate job opportunities for day labourers and migrant workers, the report warns. They are at a greater risk of dying from hunger than from the virus itself. In developing countries, up to 70 per cent of the labour force works in agriculture—with no social safety net.
The authors of the report recommend, that any strategy aiming to alleviate their hardship and trigger an economic upswing must focus on the agricultural and nutrition sectors.
The essential role that farmers play for developing countries precludes any reduction in funding for rural development or for the fight against hunger. The rapid-relief programme of the German government is important and must, as demanded by Federal Minister Müller, be reinforced with around three billion from the supplementary budget without undermining long-term development efforts", underlined Mathias Mogge, secretary general of Welthungerhilfe.
Terre des hommes also called for children’s rights to be awarded a much higher priority in Germany’s development policy regardless of the coronavirus crisis. “The rights of children need to be more firmly enshrined in development policy, yet they hardly figure in the reform plan of the Federal Ministry for development and international cooperation (BMZ) for 2030. Regarding the current status of children’s rights in development policy, terre des hommes gives BMZ a failing grade”, commented Birte Kötter.
Compass 2020 represents the evolution of an annual report on the reality of German development policy that terre des hommes and Welthungerhilfe have been publishing since 1993. It continues to critically analyse German development policy with a particular focus on the demands made of German politics by the 2015 UN Agenda for Sustainable Development.