Germany has shown strong leadership on global health through its G7 and G20 presidencies
Germany was the third-largest donor to health in 2016 (latest year for which full data is available) among the donors of the Development Assistance Committee (DAC) of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), spending US$1.2 billion on ODA for health (both bilateral and multilateral). This corresponds to 4% of its total ODA, which is below the DAC average of 8% for health, making Germany 20th-largest donor in relative terms.
The government identified health as a priority sector in its 2017 to 2021 coalition treaty, specifically health system strengthening (HSS), health research and development (R&D), poverty-related and neglected diseases, and international partnerships such as the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria and Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance. Germany, under the leadership of the Ministry of Health, is currently developing a government-wide Global Health Strategy and is planning to launch it at the end of 2019 or early 2020.
Germany, under the leadership of the Ministry of Health, is currently developing a government-wide Global Health Strategy.
Under Chancellor Angela Merkel, Germany has sharpened its profile as a leader in global health, especially since 2015. Germany has made global health a priority during both its G7 and G20 presidencies in 2015 and 2017 respectively. Pandemic preparedness, antimicrobial resistance (AMR), and neglected diseases were identified as priority areas in the G7 communiqué. Under the German G20 presidency, the health ministers of G20 countries met for the first time to discuss global health issues such as pandemic preparedness, HSS, and AMR. As an immediate outcome, an interational AMR R&D Hub was launched in Berlin.
In April 2018, Chancellor Merkel, together with her Ghanaian and Norwegian counterparts, requested that the World Health Organization (WHO) convenes global health actors to develop a ‘Global Action Plan’ with interim milestones towards reaching Sustainable Development Goal 3 (Healthy Lives and Well-being for All) by 2030. In the same year, Germany was the first country to establish a formal sub-committee on global health within its Parliament. At the beginning of 2019, the ‘Global Health Hub Germany’ was launched with the aim to strengthen the link of national research institutions and domestic mechanisms to enhance the country’s capacity and expertise on matters of global health.
In 2016, Germany channeled 47% (US$552 million) of its health ODA multilaterally (below the DAC average of 56%), which is a much higher share than in other sectors. Overall, only 19% of Germany’s total ODA went to multilaterals in 2016. The main recipients of German multilateral ODA to health in 2016 were the Global Fund, the EU Institutions, and Gavi. Germany is the fourth-largest government donor to the Global Fund and the fifth-largest to Gavi. During the G7 Summit in Biarritz, France in August 2019, Chancellor Angela Merkel announced Germany’s pledge of €1 billion (US$1.1 billion) for the upcoming replenishment period (2020-2022). Germany hosted a successful Gavi replenishment in January 2015 and pledged €600 million (US$702 million, as converted by Gavi) million direct funding for 2016 to 2020, a significant increase from its previous pledge (US$208 million between 2006 and 2015).
Germany channeled more than half of its health ODA (53% or US$632 million) bilaterally in 2016. Bilateral health ODA increased by 13% in 2017 (latest year for which bilateral data is available, up to US$711 million) and focused mainly on infectious disease control (29%) and basic health infrastructure (23%).
Priority countries for bilateral cooperation on health:
- Kyrgyz Republic
- South Africa
BMZ’s health division leads on policy development
BMZ drives the development of strategies for German development policy, including on health. Within BMZ, the responsible division is ‘Health, Population Policy, Social Protection’. It is part of the Directorate-General ‘Global Issues’. Most bilateral ODA to health is provided by BMZ (64% on average between 2015 and 2017), followed by the KfW Development Bank (22%). The Federal Ministry of Health (BMG) and the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) each contributed 4% of Germany’s bilateral ODA to health between 2015 to 2017.
The Federal Ministry of Health (BMG) represents Germany at the (WHO) and works closely with the BMZ on development cooperation through the WHO. The BMG also leads on the government-wide Global Health Strategy and worked closely with the Chancellery and BMZ to issue the call on the WHO for a Global Action Plan for Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 3.
- BMF; Federal Budget 2019 - Section 23; 2019 (in German)
- BMZ; BMZ's Africa Policy; 2016
- BMZ; Development Policy as Future-Oriented Peace Policy - The German Government's 15th Development Policy Report; 2017
- BMZ; Development policy-related results of the G20 Summit; 2017
- BMZ; Sector Strategy: German Development Policy in the Health Sector; 2013
- BMZ; Table of Cooperation Countries; 2019
- Federal Government; Shaping Global Health Taking Joint Action Embracing Responsibility - The Federal Government's Strategy Paper; 2013
- UHC 2030; Healthy Systems for Universal Health Coverage; 2017