The Safeguards and Gender Management System

GIZ supports political and social change processes, many of which are complex. These processes involve a range of different risks, which may relate to staff safety and security, changes in the political environment or commercial aspects. Care must be taken in project implementation to ensure that improvements in one area do not lead to deterioration in another. To avoid these pitfalls, GIZ has a systematic risk management system that collates, analyses and minimises risks.

Part of this risk management system involves safeguards that ensure projects are environmentally and socially sustainable. The Safeguards and Gender Management System brings these safeguards together. The system scrutinises planned projects to assess unintended impacts and the potential for promoting gender equality. It enables both risks and potential to be identified at an early stage and monitored throughout the project cycle. This allows projects to avoid unintended consequences.

The Safeguards and Gender Management System is based on the principle of sustainable development, which underpins our actions: we believe that we can shape a future worth living only by combining social responsibility, ecological balance and economic capability.

When implementing commissions, GIZ therefore considers the potential negative impact of any project in six areas:

The impact on individuals, biodiversity, soil, water, air and other resources and on ecosystems and their interaction.

The impact on the climate as a result of greenhouse gas emissions.

Whether climate change will have a negative impact on the project and its objectives and whether the project will generate risks to human and ecosystem adaptability.

Assessing whether a project takes adequate account of conflicts and fragility.

Whether a project has the unintended effect of perpetuating existing human rights breaches or will result in new breaches. Examples include discrimination against individual groups or breaches of labour law or of the rights of indigenous peoples.

Whether there is gender-specific discrimination, disadvantage or risk but also whether there is significant potential to promote gender equality.

GIZ’s process for assessing these factors involves two stages. The first step is to evaluate the project design to determine any unintended impacts and potential the project may have. In the second stage, critical points are analysed in depth and measures are devised to prevent or reduce this impact. The adapted project design then forms the basis for project monitoring and for reporting to the commissioning parties. This means that any breaches of safeguards resulting from the project can rapidly be recognised and tackled. It also enables risks that commonly arise across the company to be identified.

The Safeguards and Gender Management System introduced in 2016 applies across the company for commissions with a value of EUR 1 million and above.