Summarising 2021

Guidelines for German development policy, global megatrends such as climate change, and international knowledge cooperation – the DIE was again actively involved in pressing political discourses this year. A brief summary of 2021.

December marks the end of a busy 2021 calendar year, characterised not only by the German parliamentary elections but also by the ongoing tensions resulting from the global COVID-19 pandemic. The most important step in response to the pandemic was successfully taken: the development of various vaccines. However, their worldwide supply and vaccination continues to pose a major challenge.

Seven principles to guide German development policy

 But as in 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic has shown us where development policy reaches its limits when contributing to the global common good. In the run-up to the German federal elections, Prof. Dr. Anna-Katharina Hornidge and Prof. Dr. Imme Scholz drafted 7 guidelines that provided an impulse for the future design of development policy: “It is a matter of becoming able to speak together as a global community in dealing with planetary challenges, with biodiversity loss, climate change in general, and the growing social inequalities that we can and must address together,” as Anna-Katharina Hornidge expressed it in June 2021.

Global megatrends

At the same time, the interplay of ecological, climatological, socioeconomic and political processes of change further challenged the Institute’s work. Imme Scholz summarises these challenges from a global megatrends perspective in a video, naming those that will concern us at present and in the years to come: climate change and resource scarcity, demographic change, increasing social inequalities with corresponding effects on global societal cohesion, geopolitical power shifts, digitalisation and the various knowledge societies that accompany it. The staff members of the German Development Institute / Deutsches Institut für Entwicklungspolitik (DIE) work together in various projects to empirically survey these megatrends, identify possible solutions, and question their relevance for national and international policy-making in an exchange with political decision-makers.

“super year” 2021

2021 can thus indeed be classified as the “super year” Anna-Katharina Hornidge called it at the beginning of 2021. Germany and the world are struggling with societal tensions that have been intensified by the COVID-19 pandemic. Debates have been raging over COVID-19 recovery to ensure that financial packages combating the pandemic are also in line with environmental and societal goals. And simultaneously, the German society itself has been addressing these issues – in the debates that have surrounded the Bundestag elections and the formation of a new government, the coalition agreement and a changed departmental landscape.

International science cooperation

In order to meet the diverse challenges mentioned here, international science cooperation is indispensable as an instrument of international cooperation and as a “third player’”. The DIE is therefore very pleased to lead the Think 7 together with the Global Solutions Initiative (GSI) within the framework of the German G7 Presidency 2022, having the chance to shape it by setting diverse topics. The 7 guiding principles of development policy will also influence our thinking and actions in this framework.

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