Dirk Niebel notes that food security is a multi-sector task
BERLIN – Germany is meeting its G8 commitments made in L'Aquila, where it had promised to provide a total of 2.1 billion euros for food security and rural development in the period of 2010 to 2012. "In the budget negotiations, I have been campaigning for continued support at this level. Food security is a multi-sector task. We will only be able to eradicate malnutrition if we develop rural areas and help farmers to rely on sustainable, productive farming methods, to properly store their harvest and to find markets for their products. Water and energy, too, are crucial, because for drip irrigation to become more productive, for example, it is important to have power for pumps and sensors," Development Minister Dirk Niebel said in Berlin.
The German government mounted a comprehensive response to last year's drought emergency in the Horn of Africa, providing more than 160 million euros. And last year the German government also responded early to the emerging drought in the Sahel, with commitments now totalling 37 million euros. "In this type of crisis, the German government relies on a mix of short-term relief and medium-term recovery efforts to prevent droughts from turning into famines. For example, we support the development of food reserves, and we help rehabilitate infertile soil," Niebel said.
In 2011, Germany provided about 10.45 billion euros in official development assistance (ODA). According to the OECD ranking of April 2012, it was thus the world's second largest donor after the United States. In contrast to international trends, Germany has further increased its ODA this year. "Germany is not only one of the world's largest donors but also an agenda setter when it comes to development cooperation. We have successfully been campaigning for a broadened perspective, which goes beyond measuring funding levels and also takes account of the impact of the funding used. More money for development cooperation is desirable and needed. But above all, we need to ensure that the resources we have are used effectively," the Minister said.
In 2011, Germany spent 0.4 per cent of its gross national income on ODA, which was the highest ratio since the country was reunited in 1990. "Next year, we want to further increase our resources for official development assistance. The government's latest draft budget contains the fourth consecutive record budget for development cooperation. This is a considerable achievement, especially given the current efforts for budget consolidation," Niebel said.
Addressing poverty and its causes is the central goal of German development cooperation. "Since 1990, the number of people in absolute poverty has declined significantly, especially in economically successful countries. This shows that sustainable economic growth is key to poverty reduction. That is why Germany's new development policy has made cooperation with the private sector a focus and invests in education so as to help people to help themselves. We are also addressing the causes of poverty. For instance, we are helping to provide access to medical services so illness will not immediately result in poverty," the Minister noted.