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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

German grand coalition government positively assesses implementation of its coalition agreement

In early November, the German coalition government conducted a mid-term review to assess how it is doing against the goals of the coalition agreement and define its plans for the second half of its term. The assessment was largely positive, and this was supported by an independent review conducted by the Bertelsmann Foundation. The Bertelsmann Foundation assessment found that around two-thirds of the promises under the coalition agreement have already been fully or partially implemented and that the goals set can be seen as an essential basis for the continuation of the coalition government.

Whether the coalition will continue until the end of its official legislative term (2021) or dissolve at an earlier stage will strongly depend on the new SPD-leadership that will be elected in early December. In its mid-term review paper, the grand coalition between Chancellor Merkel’s Christian Democrats (CDU/CSU) and the Social Democrats (SPD) commits to further increase the funding for humanitarian development assistance, crisis prevention and development cooperation over the coming years. The coalition government reinstated its commitment to reach the 0.7% ODA/GNI target, however, it didn't include a specific roadmap or timeline, for when it intends to reach this goal. The coalition reiterated the goal from the original coalition agreement to allocate additional budgetary leeway to the defense budget and ODA budget in a 1:1 quota, however, there is no definition of what additional budgetary leeway refers to.

Press Release – Bundesregierung (in German)
Press Release - Bertelsmann Foundation (in German)

Germany

Germany agrees on its largest-ever development budget for 2020

The German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) will have a new record budget of €10.9 billion (US$12.3 billion) in 2020, up from €10.3 billion (US$11.6 billion) in 2019, following the final budget settlement meeting on November 15, 2019.

Since the draft budget for BMZ was presented by the Ministry of Finance in September 2019, the government has added an additional €500 million (US$564 million) for international climate protection measures and €11 million (US$12 million) in additional funding resulted from the parliamentary budget process.

Press Release – ONE (in German)

Chancellor Merkel emphasizes Germany's role in promoting sustainable development

German Federal Minister for Development Müller and Chancellor Merkel emphasized Germany's role in leading sustainable economic development at the Eine Welt – Unsere Verantwortung (One World- Our Responsibility) Forum.

Dr. Merkel discussed the role of women and their access to resources as well as the need to reduce the use of resources. Minister Müller called for the use of technology, fair globalization and changing consumption to drive sustainable economic development.

Newspaper Article – Merkur (in German)

Germany