Peru: The Power of Citizens
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On November 24, Development Minister Dr Gerd Müller presented German Chancellor Dr Angela Merkel with the Charter for the Future at the ONE WORLD – Forum for the Future.
Representatives from 100 initiatives joined more than 3,000 guests at the Berlin event, including the entire GIZ Management Board. Board Spokesperson Tanja Gönner was an active part of the agenda, as she took part in a lively discussion with BMZ State Secretary Dr Friedrich Kitschelt, KfW Board Member Dr Norbert Kloppenburg and Olaf Tschimpke, President of the Nature and Biodiversity Conservation Union Germany (NABU). Their topic: “The Year for Development 2015 – what can we do? What partnerships are possible?” The ONE WORLD- Forum for the Future was organised, like the entire Charter for the Future process, by the GIZ’s Development Policy Forum on behalf of the BMZ.
The event was the high point of a national dialogue process on the Charter for the Future which began at the kick-off event on April 1, 2014. In the morning, visitors could choose from a variety of discussion rounds, workshops, “experience islands” and “future slams”, or attend the high-ranking roundtable talks in the two “politics arenas”.
In presenting the Charter for the Future to the German Chancellor, ONE WORLD – the Forum for the Future marked the celebratory conclusion of the Charter for the Future process for this year, while kicking off the Year for Development 2015.
In the afternoon, German Chancellor Merkel was presented with the Charta. In his address, Federal Minister Dr Gerd Müller noted:
“There is no first, second, or third world anymore. There is only ONE WORLD, for which we all bear responsibility. The world needs a future, the world needs values for global commerce and trade.”
The Charter for the Future offered concrete solutions here, the Minister continued: “We are just starting out; we want to set things in motion.”
It was important, he added, to treat global resources with respect – and to conserve the integrity of creation. “Without air, without a climate, without an atmosphere there can be no life,” according to Müller. He expressed pleasure that so many young people in particular had taken an active part in the ONE WORD goals and were willing to assume responsibility. Müller took this opportunity to thank the thousands of volunteers working throughout Germany.
Minister Müller went on to talk about the global textile association for fair wages he had initiated. He added that if the price of piece of clothing made in Bangladesh went up by just one euro, if it was passed on to the seamstress, this would allow her to support herself and her family.
Prior to Müller’s address, DIHK President Dr Eric Schweitzer, VENRO Chairman Dr Bernd Bornhorst, Dr Marianne Beisheim from the German Institute for International and Security Affairs and Bonn Mayor Jürgen Nimptsch discussed the Charta process. Bernd Bornhorst talked about the intense discussion that had taken place inside VENRO about whether to participate in the process, and what outcomes could be expected.
Ultimately a decision was made in favour of participation, and the process had gone quite well, Bornhorst added. Now the waiting period had begun to see how the Charter for the Future would continue. According to Bornhorst: “the Charter for the Future is not an end in itself; it is in an instrument we will now use to get started.” He described his own expectations that an action plan would be drafted and supported by the entire German government: “We will be watching to see what comes next.”
Eric Schweitzer, President of the Association of German Chambers of Commerce and Industry, said that the idea of a charter for the future had been well received by the private sector. He went on to emphasise that industry and the private sector also had a vested interest in ecological and social standards. Marianne Beisheim provided a retrospective on the Charta process from her point of view as a thematic ambassador. She emphasised that the Charter for the Future served as a reference, and that the continuing Charta process should be subject to an annual review.
Lord Mayor Jürgen Nimptsch presented the municipal charters for the future, a project of the German Section of the Council of European Municipalities and Regions that offered a “community interpretation” of the topics covered in the Charter for the Future. “We want to show how we in Germany can contribute to achieving the climate goals, for example.”
German Chancellor Angela Merkel expressed her gratitude to those involved in the Charta process. That such a process grew “from the grassroots up, so to speak,” Merkel continued, was unique or at least unusual. In developing a Post-2015 Agenda, to which the Charter for the Future represented an important contribution, the goals set should not just be aimed at the South; they must affect us all, Merkel noted. After all:
“The more we show that we are shifting our way of life towards sustainability, the more authority we have to insist that others contribute too.”
The Chancellor announced that the German G7 Presidency in the coming year would focus on health and that the Gavi Vaccine Alliance’s Replenishment Conference would mark the start. Over the coming year, she added that Germany would contribute 500 million euros to Gavi’s programmes.
Angela Merkel mentioned other key areas, such as good governance, security, refugees and urbanisation, noting that it was impossible to imagine development without functioning constitutional and democratic institutions. The Chancellor used Afghanistan as an example to illustrate that there could be no development without security, and no security without development. In view of global waves of refugees, it was “absolutely essential that every refugee here in Germany have the right to be treated humanely.”
But it was just as essential that Germany do something to ensure the dignity of human beings in their countries of origin, so that people did not feel forced to flee their homes. In closing, she referred to the exponential growth of cities as a particular challenge in the effort to ensure every person on earth a life of dignity.