Four divisions report directly to them: the division for press and public relations, the division for parliamentary and cabinet affairs, the division for basic principles, concepts and planning of development policy, and the division for protocol and translation and interpreting services.
Mandate of the Ministry
As we stand at the beginning of the 21st century, the role of development policy has changed, partly as a reaction to the terrorist attacks of 11 September 2001. Today, development cooperation is seen as global structural and peace policy. It 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.
Development cooperation can only be regarded as successful if the financial and human resources available are deployed usefully and effectively. For this reason, the BMZ not only regularly reviews the use of budget funds to ensure that they have been used for the intended purpose but also has the development impact of its projects assessed by means of evaluations carried out by external appraisers. The Ministry has a wide range of instruments which it uses to evaluate projects. This helps us to learn from any setbacks encountered and apply approaches that have proved successful to other projects.