Seeing the crisis as an opportunity – a stronger future with a green recovery

EUR 3.3 billion for sustainable development in 2020

This year marks the tenth anniversary of the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH – and, with the experience of the last ten years to look back on, the organisation is positive about the outlook for the future. Tanja Gönner, Chair of GIZ’s Management Board, made the following statement at the federal enterprise’s annual press conference, which was held today: ‘The world has changed significantly over these last ten years, and so has our work. The environmental and climate crisis has become a key challenge of our time, there has been an increase in failing states and conflicts, and the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic are impossible to ignore. The goals of sustainable development are more important today than ever. They are the compass that guides our work in the long term.’

In 2020, it was clear that the COVID-19 pandemic accelerated multiple crises and thwarted development progress and has also drastically intensified existing problems such as poverty, hunger and social inequalities. Gönner made the following observation: ‘A crisis such as this does, however, also provide the opportunity to shape the new decade together and make it even more sustainable in the spirit of a social and ecological market economy.’ ‘Green’ growth such as this includes, for instance, new, environmentally friendly technologies. These range from renewable energy, smart farming methods and integrated mobility opportunities to introducing the circular economy or tracing global supply chains. Employment programmes in areas that are close to nature or the establishment of capital markets for sustainable investors are key elements of such economic restructuring. ‘Where ‘green recovery’ is successful, it will make developing countries and emerging economies more resilient in the face of future crises. It will also consolidate the societal cohesion that suffered during the COVID19 pandemic,’ said Gönner. 

Stability even in 2020, the year of the pandemic: measures designed to secure livelihoods reached more than 14 million people 

Martin Jäger, State Secretary in the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and Chair of GIZ's Supervisory Board, said: ‘Last year the COVID-19 pandemic caused the global public to pay particular attention to global contexts. More than ever the onus is placed on us to find common answers to the existential questions in the world.’ He stressed: ‘GIZ has expertise, experience and established networks in the countries – also including the many decades of work carried out by its predecessor organisations. It was therefore able to provide swift and targeted support during the pandemic.’

Last year GIZ, working with commissioning parties such as BMZ and cooperating closely with partners on the ground, launched the EUR 253 million Emergency COVID-19 Support Programme. One of the federal enterprise's achievements with this programme was to reach more than 208 million people via information campaigns on COVID-19, just under half of whom were in sub-Saharan Africa (102 million people). It equipped partner countries with personal protective equipment, test kits and medical equipment, including ventilators, worth more than EUR 53 million and reached more than 14 million people with emergency aid and measures designed to secure livelihoods. In Cambodia, for example, 2.7 million people across the country alone received financial support.

It was possible to provide this aid because the government, together with GIZ, set up a database even before the start of the pandemic and this made it possible to distribute money quickly. GIZ has been working on the IDPoor platform on behalf of BMZ and the Australian Foreign Ministry for more than ten years. The poorest in society can register there digitally there and then receive free healthcare, access to drinking water, free school meals for their children and financial support from the state during a pandemic. 

Review of 2020: Sharp increase in cofinancing and in work for the EU 

GIZ’s business volume has steadily increased in recent years and this trend continued in 2020, too. At EUR 3.3 billion, this was nine per cent higher than the business volume for the previous year (2019: EUR 3.1 billion). Commissioning parties are the German Government, the European Union (EU), governments of other countries worldwide, international organisations, foundations and companies. 

The German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) continued to be the main commissioning party with a volume of EUR 2.7 billion (2019: around EUR 2.6 billion). This includes EUR 481 million of cofinancing, which is additional funding contributed by third parties to projects that already exist. This is a sharp increase of 25 per cent compared to 2019. 

GIZ works for the entire German Government. Income from work with other German public sector commissioning parties and clients also saw a sharp increase last year, rising by 24 per cent to EUR 445 million. Here, EUR 270 million alone was received from the German Environment Ministry (BMU) and EUR 97 million came from the German Federal Foreign Office. 

GIZ’s business volume with the EU also moved in a positive direction. It has increased steadily over recent years and has almost tripled since 2015 (EUR 160 million) to EUR 428 million. It is made up of direct commissions via GIZ International Services (nearly EUR 44 million) and cofinancing from the EU in the public-benefit sector (nearly EUR 385 million). The EU is therefore GIZ's second largest commissioning party.

More than half of GIZ's commissions were awarded through ideas competitions with other public and public-benefit institutions. This included income from the four BMZ special initiatives with which the Ministry sets development priorities, and funding from BMU's International Climate Initiative. 

People from 156 countries work for the federal enterprise in the countries in which GIZ operates (around 120). As at 31 December 2020 the workforce totalled 23,614, a new record level. Around 70 per cent (15,988) of the workforce are national personnel. Together with the approx. 2,600 seconded experts, they are the backbone of GIZ's operations in assignment countries. 

59.2 per cent of the workforce with a German contract of employment are women (2019: 58.8 per cent). Furthermore, the percentage of women in senior and management positions continued to increase in 2020, as it has for a number of years: throughout the organisation, 45.5 per cent of women are employed in managerial positions and, in Germany, this percentage rose to more than half (52.7 per cent). 

The Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH is a federal enterprise with worldwide operations. It was established in 2011 as a result of a merger between the Deutsche Entwicklungsdienst (DED) gGmbH, the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Technische Zusammenarbeit (GTZ) GmbH and InWEnt – Capacity Building International, Germany. GIZ supports the German Government in the field of international cooperation for sustainable development and is also engaged in international education activities around the globe. Through its work, GIZ assists people and societies in shaping their own future and improving living conditions. 

You can find the Integrated Company Report 2020, which contains these figures and information and more, at https://berichterstattung.giz.de (German only; an English version will be published shortly) 

The press kit of the annual press conference can be found here.