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Germany announces launch of Natural Disaster Fund

At the twenty-fifth UN Climate Conference (COP25) in Madrid, Spain, parliamentary state secretary to the federal ministry for economic cooperation and development (BMZ), Dr. Maria Flachsbarth, announced the launch of a Natural Disaster Fund (NDF) against climate risks in developing markets. NDF is a joint initiative of BMZ, KfW Development Bank, and two insurance companies, Global Parametrics and Hannover Re. The BMZ is contributing €25 million (US$28 million) to the Fund which is matched by Hannover Re with US$50 million (US$55 million). These commitments are aimed to protect around 100 million people living in climate disaster-affected areas.

Press release – Federal Ministry for Economic Development and Cooperation (in German)

Germany

German Social Democrats seek concessions from conservative coalition partners

The German Social Democratic Party (SDP) held its annual national party convention, confirming the new leadership of Norbert Walter-Borjans and Saskia Esken. Walter-Borjans and Esken have been skeptical about remaining in the current governing coalition, and have said they would seek concessions from the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) on increasing the minimum wage, climate policy, and investment.

Video – Deutsche Welle (in English)

News article – Sueddeutsche Zeitung (in German)

Germany

Far-right German AfD elects new party leaders

The far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) party has elected Tino Chrupalla as the new leader, succeeding Alexander Gauland. Chrupalla is considered a compromise between the two political poles of the party; he maintains strong contacts to the farthest right members but also the right-wing 'conservatives' of the AfD.

The furthest right wing of the AfD is currently under investigation by the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution, for statements misaligned with the liberal and democratic principals of Germany. AfD is known for its strong anti-immigrant and right-wing populist platforms. Factions of the party are associated with neo-nazi and identitarianist movements.

News article – Tagesschau (in German)

News article – Zeit (in German)

Germany

German development minister refuses to travel to the UN Climate Conference, decries excessive CO2 emissions

The German federal minister for economic cooperation and development, Gerd Müller, criticized the 25th UN Climate Conference, the Conference of the Parties (COP25), taking place December 2– 13, 2019 in Madrid, Spain, and refused to travel to the event. Instead, his ministry will be represented by a small delegation.

Müller pointed out the hypocrisy inherent in the CO2 emissions of 25,000 people flying into Madrid, criticizing the large size of the event leading to inefficiencies, and the unnecessary frequency of the annual meeting. He emphasized that in its current form, the COP25 is neither modern nor environmentally friendly. In his view, the investments and commitments are in place, but actions must follow. He called for a more effective format focusing on technical solutions.

COP25 brings together political leaders from around the globe to discuss actions to mitigate climate change and to limit global warming to 2 degrees or at best 1.5 degrees annually, as determined by the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement.

News article – Spiegel Online (in German)

Germany

With new leaders elected in German Social Democratic party, parliamentary coalition faces uncertainty

On November 30, 2019, the German Social Democratic Party (SPD) announced the results of its members' vote for new party leadership. 53.06% voted for Saskia Esken and Norbert Walter-Borjans, who affiliate with the party’s left-wing and are critical of the Grand Coalition, beating vice chancellor and finance minister Olaf Scholz and his running mate, Klara Geywitz, who obtained 45.33% of the vote. Walter-Borjans was formerly a finance minister for seven years in North-Rhine Wesphalia. Esken has been a member of parliament since 2013.

Disagreement has emerged among parliamentary members as to whether the current Grand Coalition between SPD and the conservative Christian Democratic Union (CDU) ought to be renegotiated, in light of new party leadership. Walter-Borjans and Esken, the new members, support a renegotiation of the coalition treaty, stating that otherwise, they may withdraw entirely. Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, leader of the conservative CDU, has stated that the current coalition treaty is not renegotiable since the two parties agreed on the coalition, irrespective of which specific leaders hold office.

Starting on December 6, 2019, SPD will hold a two-day party conference during which Esken/Walter-Borjans will be officially elected as party leaders. The future of the Grand Coalition remains to be determined.

News article – Tagesschau (in German)

News article – Tagesschau (in German)

News article – Tagesschau (in German)

Germany

German ministers of development and labor talk workplace conditions and refugee support with Ethiopian prime minister

On November 30, 2019, German federal minister for economic cooperation and development, Gerd Müller, and federal minister of labor and social affairs, Hubertus Heil, traveled to Ethiopia to discuss working conditions in the textile and coffee industry. Müller also discussed fair supply chains and support for refugees with the Nobel Prize-winning Ethiopian prime minister, Abiy Ahmed Ali. During their visit to Ethiopia, Müller and Heil plan to sign a reform partnership with Ethiopia. 

Through reform partnerships, the German Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) supports reform-minded African countries in improving the environment for private-sector involvement so as to create more job opportunities. So far, BMZ has entered into reform partnerships with Ghana, Tunisia, Ivory Coast, Senegal, and Morocco.

News article – Tagesschau (in German)

News article – Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (in German)

News article – Deutschlandfunk (in German)

Twitter – BMZ Bund (in German)

Germany Nutrition

Germany signs reform partnership with Morocco

On November 29, 2019, German federal minister for economic cooperation and development, Gerd Müller, signed a reform partnership with Morocco. Through reform partnerships, the German Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) supports reform-minded African countries in improving the environment for private-sector involvement so as to create more job opportunities. So far, BMZ has entered into reform partnerships with Ghana, Tunisia, Ivory Coast, and Senegal. Discussions with Ethiopia are underway.

Press release – Federal Ministry for Economic Development and Cooperation (in German)

Germany

Germany to increase efforts towards children's rights

Regarding the 30st anniversary of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, on November 20, the German federal minister for development, Gerd Müller, announced that Germany would increase efforts against child labor and towards the protection of children in crisis, conflict zones, starvation, and poverty. He also emphasized that Germany, the ILO, UNICEF, and other civil society organizations need to reinforce fair trade and supply chain policy.

The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child was signed on November 20, 1989, at the UN General Assembly. The convention should protect children and commit ocuntries to protect their rights and dignity. 

Press release – Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (in German)

Germany Education

Germany adds seven projects to African digitization portfolio

German federal minister for development, Gerd Müller, has introduced seven new African digitization projects as part of a total of €279 million (US$308 million) investment in 200 digital-focused projects there.

Recently, Müller implemented a new e-learning platform called Africa Cloud. It is one of seven such projects: 'Digital Africa' for digital and environmental-friendly mobility concepts, 'Make-IT' for digital networks and start-ups, '#eSkills4Girls-Initiative' for more education and development potential of young girls in digital companies, 'Digital Centers' as knowledge hubs on digitalization, 'Artificial Intelligence for all – FAIR forward', and the 'Strategic Partnership for a Digital Africa'.  

Press Release – Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (in German)

Private investments in Africa through the Compact-with-Africa Plan are missing

At the annual meeting of the Compact-with-Africa Plan, the Deutsche Welle assessed the impact of the 12 Compact-with-Africa Plans and found no significant increase in private investments since the initiative started in 2017. 80 percent of investments made have been targeted to Morocco, Egypt, Ethiopia, and Ghana.

According to the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung, the partner countries did fulfill the requirements and are now disappointed by the missing investments. Some German small and middles-size entrepreneurs complained that only small countries are included in the plan while big players like Nigeria and Kenya are excluded.

Newspaper Article – Deutsche Welle (in German)

Germany