German Government and Federal States Programme: working with the federal states in development cooperation

Project description

Title: German Government and Federal States Programme
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Country: Worldwide
Lead executing agency: Different from country to country
Overall term: 2019 to 2022

BLP_2_Mini Grid Upper Blinkwater Solar panels 2_cGIZ


The German federal states traditionally work independently in international cooperation. However, when properly coordinated, the experience and competences of private, academic and civil society institutions, as well as of federal state agencies, effectively complement the German Government’s international cooperation activities. The added value for cooperation lies in utilising the expertise that the federal states possess in shaping and implementing policy in numerous domains. Aiming to leverage the numerous specialist competences of the federal states for development policy, the Government and Federal States Programme (BLP) was initiated. The BLP began as a pilot programme from 2015 to 2019 and, now that its content has been enhanced, is currently in a new phase (2019 to 2022). 

The Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH is implementing the BLP on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ). In addition to providing know-how, the federal states also make financial contributions to the programme. 


Partner countries benefit from closer thematic and strategic cooperation between the German Government and federal states in development cooperation.

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The Hessische Landesstelle für Technologieausbildung (Hessian state office for technology training) is training Ethiopian decision-makers and experts in the vocational education and training sector with a view to improving Ethiopia’s economic performance in the long term through a better qualified workforce. Experts from Bremen and Namibia are developing solutions for more sustainable mobility in Namibia through new forms of non-motorised transportation and a more efficient logistics infrastructure. Saxon experts in mining aftercare are supporting regional administrations in Peru in developing a strategy for implementing international water protection standards in mining aftercare. In communication with Berlin-based participants, the BLP is further developing funding programmes for women entrepreneurs in India and supporting women who are starting a business in establishing international contacts.

This is just a selection of the numerous projects that the BLP is implementing. The programme is carrying out a wide range of international capacity-building measures, taking into consideration the respective profiles of the federal states. To do so, the BLP links the international cooperation work of the federal states with technical cooperation projects of the German Government in the partner countries. The federal states co-fund the measures and/or participate in the cooperation projects by providing staff, rooms, scholarships or places on training courses.

Under the programme, agencies cooperate with the ministries of the participating partners. Stakeholders from academia, civil society and/or the private sector are also involved. The BLP is currently implementing measures in the three priority areas of sustainable economic development, governance, and environment/climate/energy.

Every cooperation project implemented increases the experience of those involved as to how cooperation between the German Government and federal states can be structured. For this reason, the BLP promotes networking and knowledge exchange between the stakeholders from the federal states. The BLP offers specific training courses on important German development cooperation issues such as the German Government’s gender approach. 

Whether the federal states and partner countries can also work together to meet future challenges that don’t stop at national borders such as climate change, digitalisation and global pandemics, will be tested in a pilot phase with the support of the programme. For this purpose, the BLP is bringing together teams spanning different federal states and partner countries to establish an open innovation process. 


During the pilot phase, the BLP worked together with 14 federal states to implement 42 cooperation projects in 27 partner countries. In diverse formats and activities, experts and managers from federal states and partner countries shared their experience and knowledge. With supporting expertise from Lower Saxony, a minigrid has been set up in Upper Blinkwater, South Africa, providing power for 67 households. Following the example from Schleswig-Holstein, Bjelina in the Western Balkans has introduced the office of a minority commissioner. Mozambique is gearing its national legislation regarding mining safety towards international standards with advisory services from Saxony. 
At present, 15 individual measures are being implemented.