The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) adopted by the United Nations have become a strategic guideline for all countries. Cities are key players in achieving the SDGs – including Berlin.
The State Office for Development Cooperation (Landesstelle für Entwicklungszusammenarbeit - LEZ) at the Senate Department for Economic Affairs, Energy and Operations is the central coordination office for Berlin's development cooperation.
The Development Policy Guidelines provide the strategic framework. They were adopted in 2012 and supplemented in 2016 by the recommendations "Sustainable Federal Capital and its Responsibility in One World" of the Advisory Council on Development Cooperation. The prioritized fields of action in the guidelines are thinking and learning in global contexts, international university cooperation, international economic cooperation, an open, tolerant and international metropolis, environmental and climate protection as well as urban solutions. For the coming years, it is planned to put the development policy guidelines to the test and further develop them in a broad-based participatory process.
More than almost any other German city, Berlin stands for internationality. The German capital is home to embassies, international organizations and major development institutions. People from over 190 nations live and work here and shape everyday life. Berlin is characterized by a high level of civil society commitment - more than 100 large and small development policy organizations are active in the city. In the state network of development policy non-governmental organizations of the Berlin Development Policy Council, work is continuously being done on the vision of the "One World City".
The Advisory Council on Development Cooperation, which includes members from a wide range of institutions, advises the state of Berlin on the strategic development of its development policy.
Institutions such as the Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit, Engagement Global gGmbH, the German Institute for Development, the Berliner Gesellschaft für internationale Zusammenarbeit mbH, and the Seminar for Rural Development at the Humboldt University of Berlin are important cooperation partners in Berlin's development policy. Close cooperation also takes place with the ASA program and the alumni program of the Technical University of Berlin.
The State Office for Development Cooperation supports a large number of development policy projects of non-governmental organizations in Berlin in the areas of education, information and public relations work as well as in projects abroad in the context of school and city partnerships through grants. Special attention is paid to the promotion of global learning. The EPIZ - Center for Global Learning - is the central contact point in Berlin for questions concerning global learning. Through the program for the promotion of NGOs, the Landesstelle für Entwicklungszusammenarbeit can both help shape development education work and support a wide range of voluntary work. The funding of projects by development policy non-governmental organizations in Berlin was positively evaluated in 2019. In order to further promote the work of NGOs and interest even more citizens in getting involved in development policy areas, the LEZ is supporting the establishment of the One World Center Berlin Global Village. Numerous development NGOs have already found their new workplace there. The center provides office and event space for around 40 development policy and migrant-diasporic groups.
In 2020, the Senate Department for Economic Affairs, Energy and Labor launched a special fund to support Berlin NGOs affected by the Corona Pandemic, promote digitization and finance solidarity projects in the Global South. The North-South Bridges Foundation (SNSB) is responsible for advising NGOs and administering the project funding program for Berlin NGOs on behalf of LEZ.
On the initiative of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), a promoter program was set up by the federal states. The One World Promoters work in development policy organizations and initiatives. As experts, they provide impetus for globally responsible thinking and action and mobilize people to get involved in sustainable development issues. The Berlin Promotor*innen program is coordinated by the Berliner Entwicklungspolitischer Ratschlag and administered by the Stiftung Nord-Süd-Brücken. In Berlin, eight promoters are currently working on the topics of strengthening civil society engagement, fair and sustainable business, decolonization and anti-racism, global learning, climate and resource justice, and municipal development cooperation.
Another important field of action for Berlin's development policy is Fair Trade and Fair Procurement. In 2018, Berlin was recognized as a Fairtrade Town for the first time - the state of Berlin is aiming for re-designation in 2020. To further strengthen fair trade, the Action Alliance Fair Trade Berlin was founded in 2019 with the support of the LEZ. The alliance networks and coordinates the numerous actors in fair trade and strengthens public relations - for example, through the campaign #fairmachtschule, a cinema spot and a social media clip. In 2020, the Fair Procurement Competence Center will also begin its work. It informs and trains Berlin's public procurement agencies around the possibilities of integrating social standards into public procurement projects.
The reappraisal of Berlin's colonial history is of particular concern to Berlin. For this reason, the LEZ supports the Decolonize Berlin coordination office. The office is supporting a city-wide process of coming to terms with colonial history with actors from the administration and civil society, and is helping to develop a concept for coming to terms with and remembering Berlin's colonial past.
Journalists around the world are threatened and prevented from doing their work. Freedom of the press is one of the most important prerequisites for a functioning democracy. The scholarship program, which LEZ developed together with Reporters Without Borders, strengthens and supports digital journalists by inviting them to Berlin for a four-month sabbatical. In Berlin, they receive training and education on digital security, can network with colleagues from around the world, and recharge their batteries for their future work in a safe environment. For Corona's sake, the fellowship program in 2020 will only take place digitally. Starting in 2021, fellows will again be invited to Berlin.
As a city-state, Berlin works closely with its districts. Many districts now have their own development policy coordinators, so that a regular exchange of information and joint activities between the state and the districts anchor the development policy commitment in the city and make it visible. Since 2020, the LEZ has also been supporting development policy projects and activities through the district fund, which are initiated by one district but are exciting and attractive for the whole of Berlin. In addition, support is provided to Berlin districts that want to develop development policy activities in their district for the first time.
Berlin regularly participates in international projects. Currently, the federal-state project Female Entrepreneurship in Berlin and India (FEBI) is in its second project cycle. FEBI is supported by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) in cooperation with the Deutsche Gesellschaft für internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH, the Landesstelle für Entwicklungszusammenarbeit Berlin and enpact e. V. The aim of the project is to bring women entrepreneurs in Berlin and India into contact with each other, to conduct training modules and to facilitate reciprocal delegation trips and exchanges. In this way, women are strengthened in the founding and management of companies and enabled to achieve economic independence.