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On June 17, 2015, Federal Development Minister Dr Gerd Müller presented the BMZ’s new Asia policy.
Minister Müller detailed the seven central points that will characterize Germany’s future cooperation with the countries in the Asian region to an audience of around 130 guests including members of the Bundestag and ambassadors from many Asian countries. The event was held at the BMZ and organized by the GIZ’s Development Policy Forum.
Minister Müller commended the enormous development success stories being written by countries in Asia, referring to them as the “the locomotive pulling the global economy”. At the same time, 60 percent of the world’s poorest live in Asia, and the continent is home to half the countries hit hardest by global climate change, Müller said. The minister noted that that rapid economic growth in the region was driving up energy consumption there, which is predicted to double over the course of the next 20 years.
Minister Müller then introduced the strategy paper on the new Asia policy that covers a total of seven core points. These include: intensifying dialogue with global development partners such as China, India and Indonesia; assisting partner countries in modifying their economies in accordance with social and ecological criteria; protecting the climate and biodiversity; combined efforts to mitigate the causes of conflict and flight; and support for refugees. Minister Müller emphasized that cooperation with countries in Asia would be friendly and take place on equal footing.
Mingde Shi, ambassador for the People’s Republic of China, praised the German government’s ongoing efforts to drive cooperation with Asia by adjusting its Asia policy in accordance with the changing conditions. Asia, Mingde continued, had accomplished a great deal in striving to meet the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), such as reducing poverty, lowering the mother and child mortality rate, and increasing the number of children enrolled in school. The ambassador announced his country would support the Post-2015 Agenda, the goals of which are closely aligned with his country’s development strategy.
Vijay Gokhale, ambassador for the Republic of India, also praised the successes achieved thus far in many parts of Asia, which he attributed to socially responsibly policies promoting stability in the region. Ambassador Gokhale said Asia was ready and willing to tackle all the problems Minister Müller mentioned in his opening address, though success would depend on partnership with developed nations. It would be very helpful if foreign corporations active in Asia offered training, said Gokhale. He expressed his high hopes for Germany in particular for help introducing new technologies in the energy and environment sectors. These technologies would have to be affordable though, he said.
Immediately following the event, Hans-Joachim Fuchtel, Parliamentary State Secretary at the BMZ, Muhammad Alli Sorcar, ambassador from the People’s Republic of Bangladesh and Vineet Rai, founder of the Aavishkaar Frontier Fund – a venture capital company that promotes alternative start-ups – discussed sustainable economic activity and fair development.
Photo: Thomas Ecke