G20 finance and health ministers to collaborate to promote UHC

With the goal of achieving universal health coverage (UHC) in all countries and establishing a sustainable health finance system, the government of Japan will host a group of 20 (G20) Finance Ministers and Health Ministers' Joint Meeting as an official side event to the G20 Osaka Summit, to held on June 28-29, 2019.

Press release - Ministry of Health, Labour, and Welfare (in Japanese)

News article - Japan Times

2019 U20 Tokyo communique focuses on climate action, social inclusion, and sustainable growth

The Tokyo Metropolitan Government hosted the Urban 20 (U20) Tokyo Meyers Summit. The communique from the summit focuses on three policy areas:

  1. Climate Action
  2. Social Inclusion and Integration
  3. Sustainable Economic Growth

The U20 group meets in the sidelines of the group of 20 (G20) events to discuss common problems and solutions relating to cities and the goal of achieving a sustainable and inclusive world. U20 participating cities are: Berlin, Buenos Aires, Chicago, Durban, Hamburg, Houston, Jakarta, Johannesburg, London, Los Angeles, Madrid, Mexico City, Milan, Montreal, New York City, Osaka City, Paris, Rio de Janeiro, Rome, São Paulo City, Seoul, Sydney, Tokyo, Tshwane.

Communiqué - 2019 Urban 20 Tokyo Mayors Summit

Website - U20 The Tokyo Metropolitan Government (in Japanese)  

German development minister commits €60 million to climate resillience measures for smallholder farmers

On May 21, 2019, German Development Minister Gerd Müller hosted a meeting of the Global Commission on Adaptation. The meeting was chaired by former UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and World Bank Chief Excutive Kristalina Georgieva. During the meeting, Minister Müller pledged to support 60 million smallholder farmers, especially in sub-Saharan Africa, to become climate-resilient by 2030.

Germany plans to reach this goal by distributing drought-resistant seeds and water-saving irrigation, as well as microinsurances to protect farmers from crop loss. Climate change mitigation and adaptation are a focus area of Germany's development cooperation. In 2017, the German government committed €3.6 billion (US$4.1 billion) to international climate finance. Well over 80% of German funding for international climate finance comes from the budget of the Federal Minstry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ). 

Press release - BMZ (in German)

Press release - Global Center on Adaptation

Germany Agriculture

T20 advocates to focus on Agenda 2030 at Tokyo Summit, among other areas

The Think 20 (T20) published its policy briefs to advocate on the agenda of the Group of 20 (G20) Osaka Summit and will hold a T20 Summit 2019, from May 26 to 27, 2019, in Tokyo, Japan.

The policy briefs focus on ten policy areas:

  1. Task Force 1: 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development
  2. Task Force 2: International financial architecture for stability and development, crypto-assets and fintech
  3. Task Force 3: Climate change and the environment
  4. Task Force 4: Economic effects of infrastructure investment and its financing
  5. Task Force 5: Cooperation with Africa
  6. Task Force 6: Social cohesion, global governance, and the future of politics
  7. Task Force 7: The future of work and education for the digital age
  8. Task Force 8: Trade, investment, and globalization
  9. Task Force 9: Small- and medium-sized enterprises (SME) and the impact of development of financial technology
  10. Task Force 10: Aging population and its impact on the economy and immigration policy

Policy Briefs - T20 JAPAN 2019

Official website - T20 JAPAN 2019

German development minister criticizes European FTT proposal as "almost ineffective"

German Development Minister Gerd Müller (CSU) has criticized the current proposal for a European financial transaction tax (FTT) in a group of ten EU member states, as being "almost ineffective".

For the past year, Müller has been advocating for the introduction of a European FTT of 0.01% on highly speculative investments. According to Müller, the revenue from this, an estimated €60 billion (US$66 billion), should be allocated to Europe’s development cooperation with Africa, specifically in the field of climate protection. He considers the current proposal to be a stripped-down version of his original vision as it mainly focuses on stocks but does not cover financial products such as derivatives. Revenue from the current proposal would also be lower than estimated in the original plan. 

News - ZEIT online (in German)


German development bank KfW launches transparency initiative

German state-owned development bank KfW is launching a transparency initiative with the intention to publicly report on risks of the projects it finances in developing and emerging countries, especially in the areas of human rights and the environment. Last year KfW and its subsidiary DEG committed a record €10.6 billion (US$11.7  billion) for development projects worldwide. Almost half the investments were focused on Africa and the Middle East.

KFW finances development projects worldwide both on behalf of the Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and with its own funds. The bank aims to tap the economic potential in Africa and thus contribute to the fight against poverty. KfW Managing Director Joachim Nagel is encouraging the German economy to invest more in Africa.

News article - Frankfurter Rundschau (in German)


High-level congress on global health highlights Germany’s leadership in the sector

A global health congress in Berlin hosted by the governing Christian Democratic Union and Christian Social Union (CDU/CSU) parties on May 8, 2019 focused on the topic of strengthening global health and implementing the United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). High-ranking German officials, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel, and ministers of health, research and education, and economic cooperation and development, attended. The panelists and audience included members of the German parliament, representatives of civil society, research, and academia.

In her speech, Chancellor Merkel underlined the shared national and global responsibility in achieving global health for all, pointing to the World Health Organization's 'Global Action Plan for Healthy Lives and Well-being' that she and her Norwegian and Ghanaian counterparts have supported. The WHO will present the Action Plan during the United Nations General Assembly in September 2019.

Another key speaker, Director-General of the WHO Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, highlighted the German government's commitment to global health and WHO in particular. He advocated for further engagement, particularly with regards to the ongoing Ebola crisis and investment in emergency preparedness.

German development minister Gerd Müller recalled the major health threats that need to be tackled: recurring epidemics, the spread of malaria, diabetes, tuberculosis, and antibiotic resistance. He called for the establishment of basic health structures in developing countries, the empowerment of women, and digitalization of health knowledge for wider dissemination. Meanwhile, German Research Minister Anja Karliczek pushed for more investments in global health research and new partnerships on drug development, in order to leverage synergies between governmental and non-governmental donors. 

Press release - CDU/CSU Parliamentary Group (in German)

Germany Global health

German Chancellor is traveling to Africa

German Chancellor Angela Merkel is traveling to Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger this week.  National security and economic development of the three countries will be the focus of the trip. According to the humanitarian development index the countries count as the poorest worldwide. The Sahel region is also growing in importance for Europe beyond migration issues, as it is increasingly becoming a retreat for Islamist terrorists of the IS and Al Qaeda.

Newspaper Article – Handelsblatt (in German)


World military spending is increasing

Total world military spending rose by 2.6 % since 2017, to an estimated US$1.82 trillion in 2018. The five biggest spenders were the United States, China, Saudi Arabia, India and France, which together accounted for 60% of global military spending. In particular, the United States and China have increased their spending, with the US increasing military spending for the first time since 2010. Germany spent US$49.5 billion in 2018 and is the eighth largest spender.

The German aid agency Bread for the World criticized the German government for increasing military spending and advocated for increased funds for development cooperation, in order to address the root causes of conflict.

Newspaper Article – sipri

Newspaper Article – Zeit Online (in German)

Newspaper Article – Zeit Online (in German)

Germany Global

German political party pushes to reallocate development funding to world's poorest countries

The market-liberal Free Democratic Party (FDP) has requested to increase Germany’s support to the so-called least-developed countries (LDCs) to 0.15% to 0.2% of the gross national income (GNI). In 2017, the Federal Government had spent 0.66% of its GNI for development assistance, of which only 0.1% went to LDCs.

According to the FDP, German development cooperation is currently focusing too much on the countries that are economically and politically relatively stable, where successes of development assistance are quickly measurable. The current government, a coaltion of the conservative CDU/CSU and Social Democrats, committed in its coalition treaty to increase its support to the poorest countries to 0.2% of the GNI by 2030, but the FDP believes this change should be reflected in the current federal budget. German civil society organizations support the request of the FDP.

Newspaper Article – Süddeutsche Zeitung (in German)