Preventing crisis through vision

Tanja Gönner: ‘This is the decade for action and cooperation.’

Berlin, 1 July 2022. The world is in flux, crises and conflicts are on the rise, many countries are suffering the consequences of a global pandemic, while climate change continues to progress. In view of these developments, Tanja Gönner, Chair of the Management Board of the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH, today underlined the importance of international cooperation at the company’s annual press conference: ‘Where there is social cohesion, where people have prospects through education and economic participation, conditions are more stable, and countries are more resilient to new crises.’ 

GIZ now operates primarily in fragile states. These are countries whose governments are unwilling or unable to meet the basic needs of their citizens. Two-thirds of the countries in which GIZ operates are affected by crises, violence or conflicts, and the company implements around 60 per cent of its total order volume in fragile contexts. One of these countries is Ukraine. As a result of Russia’s war of aggression, GIZ is working with its commissioning parties to adapt existing projects in Ukraine to provide people with urgently needed relief supplies: firefighting equipment, generators, small excavators, first aid kits, accommodation, food, psychosocial support. The company has so far provided a package worth around EUR 35.2 million.   

Progress in development cooperation can only be achieved if it is adapted to local and regional conditions. This is even more important in times of war, which further threatens food security, particularly in countries in North Africa and the Sahel region. Here, says Gönner, it is not just a matter of providing rapid emergency assistance. Above all, work must continue to tackle the causes of hunger and malnutrition in the long term. This includes, for example, strengthening food production and processing at the local level. In this way, local food systems can become less dependent on imports and more resilient to massive increases in food prices. To support this, the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) will be providing GIZ with additional funds of up to EUR 31.9 million this year.  

Jochen Flasbarth, Chair of the GIZ Supervisory Board and BMZ State Secretary, said: ‘The COVID-19 pandemic, climate change, food crises and now Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine and its global repercussions – these are all huge challenges, particularly for developing countries. That’s why in these challenging times, more than ever, we need strong development cooperation. GIZ is an effective and internationally recognised implementing organisation in our partner countries – even in fragile contexts.’ 

This growing global fragility is compounded by another crucial factor – climate change. This is one of the biggest threats to security in the 21st century. GIZ is therefore working to ensure that people have the prospect of a future even under extreme climate conditions. Climate and energy remain a key focus of GIZ’s work. In 2021, commissions received amounted to EUR 1.4 billion. Last year, together with commissioning parties and partners, the company improved protection from the impacts of climate change for 8.2 million people.  

In the face of these interlocking crises – war and conflict, hunger, climate change – Gönner made one thing clear: ‘This is the decade for action and cooperation. The international community can only tackle global challenges through joint action. This applies to achieving the goals of the 2030 Agenda and the Paris Climate Agreement. But it is especially true of engagement in fragile countries.’ 

Review of 2021: business volume and workforce numbers at record levels  

GIZ’s business figures for 2021 also illustrate the growing importance of international cooperation. At around EUR 3.7 billion, GIZ’s business volume was up 11 per cent year on year, continuing the steady growth trend from previous years.  

GIZ’s commissioning parties are the German Government, the European Union (EU), governments of other countries worldwide, international institutions, foundations and companies. BMZ remained GIZ’s main commissioning party. Income from BMZ business increased in 2021 to EUR 3.15 billion (2020: EUR 2.7 billion). This includes EUR 558 million in cofinancing arrangements – funds used by third parties to scale up existing projects. Once again, GIZ was able to increase cofinancing arrangements in the entire public-benefit sector significantly last year to EUR 626 million, a year-on-year increase of 23 per cent.  

Last year, the European Union was once again GIZ’s second-largest commissioning party, with order volumes worth around EUR 505 million – when funding from cofinancing arrangements in the public-benefit sector and direct commissions via International Services are combined. This represents an increase of 18 per cent compared to 2020 (EUR 428 million). 

The growing demand for GIZ’s services is also reflected in the company’s workforce figures. In 2021, the federal enterprise had a workforce of 24,977 people from 155 countries. Around 70 per cent (16,887) are national colleagues in the 120 countries in which GIZ operates worldwide.   

The Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH is a federal enterprise with worldwide operations. We support the German Government in the field of international cooperation for sustainable development. We are also engaged in international education activities around the globe. Through our work, we assist people and societies in shaping their own future and improving their living conditions.  

You can find the 2021 Integrated Company Report at https://berichterstattung.giz.de/2021 

The press kit for the annual press conference 2021 is available here.