German development minister plans to spend an additional €500 million on international climate protection measures, particularly in Africa

Development Minister Gerd Müller called for Germany to invest an additional €500 million (US$564 million) into international climate protection in 2020 and urged Chancellor Merkel to pledge these funds during the UN climate change summit on September 23, 2019.

The additional funding is expected to be allocated either from the national climate fund or from the German federal budget. Müller plans to use these funds for financing innovation and investment campaigns for climate protection measures in Africa, for launching programs for ‘climate-proof agriculture’, and for strengthening international research in agriculture.

Press release – Federal ministry for economic cooperation and development (BMZ) (in German)


Bavarian state premier calls for climate action to be enshrined in Germany’s basic law

Markus Söder, Bavaria’s conservative state premier, has embraced a long-standing demand by the Green Party, namely to enshrine climate action in Germany’s Basic Law, which had previously been rejected by his party. Söder leads the Christian Social Union (CSU): sister party and governing partner of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU).

The CSU plans to adopt its own climate concept in September, which will include a climate budget, as well as a proposal to reform the motor vehicle tax to better address CO2 emissions. Further, he has called for cutting added taxes on train tickets as much as possible, to make rail transport more attractive discourage the use of planes for short-distance travel.  

Germany’s governing coalition has set out to pass a legislative package on climate action by the end of the year and plans to adopt key climate policy decisions in the so-called climate cabinet by September 20, 2019, in time for UN's upcoming New York climate summit.

News article – Clean Energy Wire


German development minister calls for additional investments for climate protection

Ahead of Earth Overshoot Day (July 29) - the the date when humanity's demand for ecological resources and services in a given year exceeds what Earth can regenerate in that year – German dvelopment minister Gerd Müller has called for additional investments in global climate protection.

Müller stressed that much more funding needs to be invested in deeloping economies; Africa t in particular has the opportunity to develop technologically as a continent of renewable energy. More climate-related funding is needed for this endeavor.

The Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) provides more than 80% of Germany’s funding for international climate efforts.

Press release – BMZ (in German)


Japan provides financial support for women’s empowerment in developing countries

The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), in collaboration with US and German government-affiliated financial institutions, will establish a fund to invest in financial services supporting women's social advancement in developing countries. This fund will comprise about US$100 million in total, and 40% of this budget will be allocated to the sub-Saharan region.

News article - Nikkei (in Japanese)

Germany Japan United States

Leader of the German Christian Democratic Union appointed defense minister

Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, leader of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) was appointed as the new defense minister, following Ursula von der Leyen's election as European Commission president. This marks the first time in the history of the German military (Bundeswehr) that the defense minister and CDU leader positions are being held by the same person, underlining the CDU's clear commitment to the Bundeswehr.

This move came as a surprise to many in political Berlin, as Kramp-Karrenbauer had repeatedly stated that she would forgo a ministerial post in favor of concentrating on party leadership. She was elected in December 2018 to succeed Chancellor Merkel in her role as CDU leader. Kramp-Karrenbauer, who was originally perceived by the public as a potential successor for Angela Merkel's chancellorship has lost significant support over the past half-year. The ministerial post is seen by many political analysts as her last chance to prove herself fit for the role of chancellor.

News article - Deutsche Welle


Von der Leyen resigns German defense ministry to pursue EU Commission presidency

Ursula von der Leyen announced on July 15, 2019, that she will resign as German defense minister, irrespective of whether EU parliamentarians vote to confirm her as European Commission president the following day.

Von der Leyen was nominated for the EU post by the European Council and will need to seek confirmation from the EU Parliament on July 16, 2019. The Greens, the Left fraction, and the right-wing group have already publically announced their intention to vote against von der Leyen. Her confirmation largely depends on the decision of the Social Democrats.  

News article - Reuters


Over half of G7 spending for education goes to achieving gender equality

UNESCO's Global Education Monitoring (GEM) Report has shown that 55% of spending by the G7 on education projects is earmarked for initiatives that strive to eradicate gender inequalities in schooling.

France, who currently holds the G7 presidency, is the second-largest donor, at 76%, after Canada at 92%. The analysis was part of a broader examination by UNESCO and GEM examining donor allocations to gender parity in education. The report gives recommendations for countries to equalize access to education between the genders, which include the following:

  1. Fighting negative gender norms through coed sports or extracurricular activities that allow children of all genders to engage with one another, and encouraging girls to participate in STEM activities;
  2. Increasing equitable access to education through conditional cash transfers, food for education initiatives, second-chance programs and strong technical and vocational training for women in key industries;
  3. Strengthening teaching and learning resources through the revision of curriculum frameworks to help develop gender-responsive toolkits for teachers, and the provision of financial incentives for female teachers in remote locations;
  4. Improving the learning environment through the development of local community learning centers and the legal frameworks and codes of conduct, and the enforcement of minimum standards on water and sanitation.

Blog post - UNESCO World Education Blog

Building Bridges for Gender Equality report - Global Education Monitoring

Budget for German development ministry remains stable in 2020

On June 26, 2019, German finance minister Olaf Scholz presented the federal budget draft for 2020 and the financial planning until 2023. The draft was passed by the cabinet later the same day.

Compared to the top-level budget figures for 2020 that were announced in March 2019, the current budget draft includes funding increases for the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development’s (BMZ's) budget of around €128 million (US$144 million), from €10.3 billion (US$11.6 billion)to €10.4 billion (US$11.7 billion). This is an increase of 1.2%, which is on par with the growth rate for the entire federal budget. The midterm financial planning foresees budget cuts over the next three years, with the budget for the BMZ set at €9.4 billion (US$10.6 billion) in 2021 and 2022 and €9.3 billion (US$10.5 billion) in 2023. The budget draft will be discussed, amended and finalized by Parliament sometime between August and November.

Press release - Federal Ministry of Finance (in German)


German Development Ministry doubles funding for Yemen in 2019

On June 20, in recognition of World Refugee Day 2019, the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) announced a plan to double its support for Yemen this year, from €57 million (US$64 million) in 2018 to €121 million (US$136 million) in 2019. Most of the funding will go to support the activities of the World Food Program. BMZ will also support the central water and wastewater supply in the fight against epidemics such as cholera, as well as healthcare and education for children in the region.

The United Nations reported a historic high of 70.8 million people at the end of 2018 people fleeing conflict, war or violence worldwide. This is 2.3 million more than in 2017 and twice as many as 20 years ago.

Press release – BMZ (in German)


Leader of German Social Democratic Party resigns

Following poor results for her party at the European Parliament elections in May, and a lack of support from her party colleagues, Andrea Nahles announced her resignation as leader of the Social Democratic Party (SPD) and its parliamentary group on June 2, 2019.

While the party decides on Nahles' successor, potentially through a members vote, three vice presidents of the SPD will lead the party on an interim basis. Interim chairman of the parliamentary group will be Rold Mützenich.

The move by Andrea Nahles is seen by many as a threat to the current parliamentary coalition. The election of a new party leader will take several weeks.

News article - Deutsche Welle