The German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) does not have the usual substructure of government agencies. For the execution of its projects it commissions what are known as implementing organisations. These organisations then work with executing agencies in the partner country concerned, which are selected by the government of that country.
There are about 600 people working at the BMZ. About 80 per cent of them are based at the Ministry's Bonn office, while the others are at the Berlin office. A certain number of Ministry officials are always to be found working outside the Ministry, engaged in development policy assignments lasting several years in other parts of the world. This "rotation" of staff between Germany and other countries means that, at any one time, about ten per cent of the BMZ’s staff are working in German missions abroad, for international organisations or in specific development projects.
Mandate of the Ministry
Development cooperation aims to help resolve crises and conflicts in a peaceful manner. It aims to help ensure that scarce resources are more equitably shared, and that our environment is preserved for coming generations. And it aims to help reduce global poverty.
In order to achieve these goals, development policy must target different levels. And of course we cannot lose sight of the fact that foreign policy, trade policy, security policy and development policy are today very closely linked. This makes the mandate of the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) wide and varied.
Defining the fundamental principles of German development policy
The BMZ develops the guidelines and the fundamental concepts on which German development policy is based. It devises long-term strategies for cooperation with the various players concerned and defines the rules for implementing that cooperation. These are the foundations for developing shared projects with partner countries and international development organisations. All efforts are informed by the United Nations' Millennium Development Goals, which ambitiously aim to halve poverty in the world by 2015.
Cooperation with partner countries
In political and financial terms, the main focus is on bilateral official development cooperation, i.e. direct cooperation with a partner country. With its partners, and in consultation with other donor countries, the BMZ elaborates country strategy papers and identifies common priority areas. Country strategy papers are the key management instrument of the BMZ and the basis for medium-term cooperation. The precise arrangements are laid down in agreements, which set out in detail the objectives, time schedules, form and volume of support. This support may take the form of loans on favourable terms, consultancy and training services, the promotion of private sector investment, grants and scholarships, but also emergency aid. The BMZ commissions the German implementing organisations with executing these agreements, and monitors the results of their work.
Cooperation at international level
If we are to resolve global problems, we need to work together closely with international institutions. The Federal Republic of Germany is actively involved in these institutions as part of European and multilateral development cooperation. It is represented on all important bodies, where it puts forward the strategies and positions adopted in German development policy and works to enhance the efficiency of multilateral organisations. And, last but not least, the BMZ manages Germany's contributions at international level, including financial contributions to the European Development Fund, its shares in the World Bank and the regional development banks, and its financial support for the different funds and programmes of the United Nations and the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
Cooperation with non-governmental organisations
In addition to the state-owned development cooperation organisations, a large number of non-governmental organisations, or NGOs, also work in this field. Church organisations, political foundations and other private bodies have long-standing experience, work more closely with poor and underprivileged groups and can mobilise self-help and individual initiative. In addition to providing financial support for the work of these organisations, the BMZ also exchanges views and experiences with them. Equally, NGOs are involved in fomulating the BMZ's country, regional and sector strategies.
Where is German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)