The German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) has boosted its efforts to place greater importance on children’s rights in international cooperations. Passing the first action plan on children’s and youth rights in 2017 was a key step, except that it is primarily a compilation of children’s rights projects that are already being supported. As such, it is not clear how the action plan additionally contributes to securing children’s rights in the development cooperation. A monitoring system is also lacking, meaning progress cannot be systematically recorded. There is absolutely no link whatsoever between the action plan and the BMZ’s human rights concept or the Sustainable Development Goals. The interim report for the action plan, which had been due in autumn 2018, still has not been published in June 2019. From a civil-society perspective, children’s rights continue to not be given priority in the BMZ’s strategy, even though children and adolescents make up the majority of the population in many countries, totalling some 2.3 billion worldwide. Protecting and aiding the holistic development of the most marginalised and vulnerable children and adolescents must thus take precedence in international cooperations.
Children’s rights must be treated as a priority in bilateral government negotiations. The recommendations by the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child must be incorporated into strategy-development and priority-setting processes for recipient countries when allocating resources, and into bilateral and multilateral agreements. The introduction of a policy marker for children’s rights in the BMZ’s programme and project management would enable state-resource usage to be identified.
To date, the commitment to provide 0.7 percent of the gross national income (GNI) in funding was only upheld in 2016, due to the ability to offset the OECD criteria for refugee costs incurred in Germany.
Children and adolescents must also be protected against risks in the context of national cooperation projects and programmes. This requires standards such as a child-protection policy. Instead of just assessing the introduction, as stated in the action plan, the BMZ and the implementing organisations commissioned by it should bindingly establish a child-protection policy as soon as possible.
Last but not least, there need to be qualitative opportunities for child and adolescent participation, not only so that the current projects and programmes can be made more impact-oriented and sustainable, but also so that democracies of the future can be supported.
- The National Coalition Germany recommends that the UN Committee call on the German federal government to
- 10. Achieve the international target of providing 0.7 percent of GNI in funding as part of the development cooperation, without factoring in expenses incurred as part of the refugee aid programmes in Germany;
- 11. Develop a coherent overall strategy with concrete, workable projects and review mechanisms, such as an indicator for resource usage for children’s rights projects, in order to consistently establish children’s rights as a permanent fixture in Germany’s development policy and in bilateral government negotiations;
- 12. Introduce a binding child-protection policy for the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, and the implementation organisations commissioned by it, as soon as possible.