Giving the Global South a voice

Global crises can only be resolved together. GIZ is working to ensure that partners from particularly hard-hit countries are heard – for example at high-level meetings like the Munich Security Conference.

Many crises today affect all countries across the globe. These include the COVID-19 pandemic, climate change and the worldwide impacts of Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine. Other crises primarily affect countries in the Global South. When it comes to securing food, energy and raw materials, for example, it is therefore important to consider the interests of developing countries.

The Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH supports countries in the Global South in finding a voice on important political stages like the Munich Security Conference (MSC). This is a forum where high-ranking politicians, including many heads of state and government, meet to find joint solutions to security-policy challenges. GIZ has been cooperating with the MSC for nine years now, primarily as part of discussion events at the main conference. At these events, partners from the Global South present their own proposed solutions and positions.

In 2023, the MSC was dominated by Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine and the future of the rules-based international order. It also focused on what a fair and secure world order might look like against the backdrop of climate change. The energy and mobility transition is heightening demand for minerals and metals from Africa. However, extracting these raw materials often exacerbates or prolongs existing conflicts. This was confirmed by João Samuel Caholo during a discussion organised by GIZ: ‘Unfortunately, the region’s wealth of raw materials has so far been more of a curse than a blessing.’ Caholo is the Executive Secretary of the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region, a political alliance of twelve African states that is committed to security in the region. GIZ is supporting the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region on behalf of the German Development Ministry and the European Union.

Together with other participants at the event, GIZ Managing Director Ingrid-Gabriela Hoven discussed the challenge of stopping the ruthless exploitation of resources: ‘Critical resources must not be exploited without a clear commitment to human security,’ she said, adding that GIZ is committed to this objective.

To achieve this, regional and national peace efforts must be incorporated into the process. Conflicts can only be resolved in the long term by working with partners such as the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region. Executive Secretary Caholo also stressed this point: The alliance, he said, is an important step towards ensuring human security and fostering equal partnerships and local value creation. Alongside Hoven and Caholo, participants in the discussion included Togo’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Robert Dussey, Parliamentary State Secretary in the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action Franziska Katharina Brantner, EU Commissioner for Trade Valdis Dombrovskis, and Executive Director of the African Centre for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes (ACCORD) Vasu Gounden.

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