After detailed consultations in Parliament and Government as well as a decision by the German Bundestag Budget Committee, the interministerial agreement between the Federal Foreign Office and the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development to improve cooperation and re allocate responsibilities entered into force yesterday (23 May). Taking up an element from the coalition agreement, the agreement aims first and foremost to make foreign and development policy more coherent.
Federal Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle issued the following statement in Berlin today (24 May):
“With the greater dovetailing of the activities of the two Ministries we are acting upon a central concern of this Federal Government, namely the implementation of a fully coordinated foreign and development policy guided by values and interests.”
Official development assistance (ODA) will now be coordinated in its entirety in the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development.
Federal Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development Dirk Niebel:
“The OECD is rightly calling upon Germany to make German development work more coherent. What is more we are implementing a goal laid down in the coalition agreement. The Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development is even today responsible for by far the largest part of German ODA. It has 50 years’ experience in dealing responsibly with funds in difficult conditions. With the founding of the evaluation institute, the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development now for the first time has an instrument with which it can independently assess the quality of development assistance.”
The field of humanitarian aid, which was previously divided between the two Ministries, will in future be steered exclusively by the Federal Foreign Office.
To this end, 95 million euros from the budget of the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development will be transferred to the Federal Foreign Office. The Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development will in future assume responsibility for transitional aid which involves building structures, for the field of disaster prevention as well as for the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).
An additional 46 staff members from the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development are to be seconded to German missions abroad. This is a response to the long-standing call by the OECD to guarantee better coordination and steering of German development programmes on the ground.
With its budget of well over 6 billion euros, the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation is currently directly responsible for some 60% of German development assistance. As the second largest ODA ministry, the Federal Foreign Office is responsible for about 8.7% and the Federal Environment Ministry for around 1.6%. Some 7% of German ODA comes from the Länder, while approx. 14% is channelled through the EU budget.