Federal Chancellor Olaf Scholz emphasised the increasing interdependence of the countries of the world community, whether in dealing with the consequences of wars, providing funding for climate and environmental protection or in the prevention of pandemics.
Speaking at the annual reception of the Deutsche Gesellschaft für internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ: German Society for International Collaboration), Federal Chancellor Scholz pointed out, by way of example, that the Covid-19 pandemic had shown that viruses did not respect national borders but, at the same time, he said, that crisis had led to new dialogues and international collaborations regarding such things as "more resilient and sustainable supply chains, the production of vaccines in Africa, and an international pandemic treaty".
Russia's brutal, imperialist offensive against Ukraine, he added, had also made it clear that the consequences are not limited to Ukraine: "The entire world is feeling it due to rising energy and food prices, because of the fertiliser shortage, and because hunger and poverty are increasing."
Furthermore, he went on to say, such things as climate change, the reduction in biodiversity, water scarcity and migration, were cross-border issues by definition and could only be tackled through cross-border collaboration.
Development cooperation for the benefit of both sides
The globalisation that had taken place over the past few decades, he pointed out, had been immensely beneficial to developing economies in countries such as India, Indonesia, Brazil, Vietnam, South Africa, Nigeria, Egypt, and Mexico. In our current multipolar world, the Federal Chancellor continued, they had every right to aspire to "the same life of prosperity as we enjoy".
Which, he added, was why Germany had to be among those countries that could show "how growth and social and economic development can work without destroying our climate and the environment": by becoming one of the first carbon-neutral industrialised nations by 2045, by developing the machinery and technology needed for decarbonisation, and by sharing our home-grown know-how with the world.
The Federal Chancellor cited renewable energies, the development of a hydrogen economy across countries and continents, and economic diversification as potential areas for closer cooperation.
Scholz pointed out the need to acquire billions of investment funds from private capital to bring about the global transformation: "Which means that one of the tasks of development cooperation and financing must be to create incentives for precisely this kind of investment."
The Federal Chancellor praised the multilateral development banks for changing course and addressing poverty, "but also for increasingly funding global public goods, such as climate and environmental protection, and the prevention of pandemics".
The Federal Chancellor referred to his efforts to integrate important partners from Asia, Africa and Latin America under the German G7 Presidency in 2022 as well as to include the African Union as a new member of the G20 in an effort to encourage "global governance". In referring to this Scholz emphasised that: "The only way to beat global challenges is to tackle them together.” The relevant collaborations, he said, must be based on respect and mutual acceptance.
He added that while accusations from countries in Asia, Africa, Latin America, and the Caribbean regarding Western paternalism or double standards were not always justified, there were indeed some aspects of the way we relate to emerging economies which should be reviewed.
For example, in relation to EU trade policy: "Of course we have an interest in high environmental and social standards," said the Federal Chancellor, "but we also have to consider the interests of our partner countries beyond that and offer them attractive propositions."
With a view to resilient supply chains and diversification in the supply of raw materials, the Federal Chancellor went on to point out that the EU's offer had to be based on partnership rather than "extractivism". That would result in greater local value creation and more economic security in Germany as well as creating an investment-friendly national legal framework "that integrates human rights and social-ecological standards," Scholz pointed out.
Increasing development collaboration
Scholz emphasised Germany’s already considerable commitment: "Once again, we achieved the 0.7 percent ODA quota last year, which, in itself, is certainly not the end goal, but rather an expression of long-term policy." Moreover, he added, Germany was already the world's second largest bilateral donor for which the Federal Government had always been applauded, most recently last week in New York.
The Federal Chancellor encouraged the GIZ to continue with its agenda to "seek cooperation with European and international partners and to even intensify its efforts". He pushed for a stronger collaboration as Team Europe and the EU's Global Gateway and alluded to a closer collaboration with the United Nations and entering into new alliances such as the G7's Just Energy Transition Partnerships.
The Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) is an internationally active organisation focused on international collaboration and educational projects and operates on behalf of various ministries of the Federal Republic of Germany in collaboration with private companies, public stakeholders, and academic institutions. Its primary client is the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development. Further information: GIZ