In today’s world, wars and violent conflicts are no longer the only things that jeopardise human security. It is under threat where human rights are flouted and where fundamental social, political and economic rights are ignored. And it is also in danger wherever the basis of people’s livelihoods and esources are disappearing. That’s why we made a conscious decision to focus on people in the this issue of akzente. Because it is the people who are affected and who face challenges.
The problem that arise for social and economic development when human security is jeopardised are described in this issue. Fragile countries such as Yemen and Sudan are particularly hard hit by poverty and malnutrition. The fact that the number of people suffering from hunger across the globe has been on the rise again for the last three years – and has now reached around 820 million – can be attributed both to the large number of ongoing conflicts and to climate change. If people’s security and existence are endangered, either as a result of dwindling resources, severe environmental changes or war and conflict, development becomes difficult or even impossible.
Increasingly, stakeholders in international cooperation are faced with confusing, complicated and often dangerous situations. This places considerable demands on staff in our partner countries, raises challenging management questions – and requires extensive expertise on our part. Randa Kourieh-Ranarivelo, GIZ’s Country Director in Mali, talks about this in an article on page 34. But Mali is just one example.
Many states are now regarded as fragile states. At the same time, the challenges have become more complex and the number of stakeholders has increased: on the ground there are state and non-state actors – private, philanthropic, civilian and military. In many cases, the German Government dovetails its foreign, security, development and environmental policy in these regions. This networked approach has created a compass that guides GIZ’s work. A guest column by State Secretary Martin Jäger describes how this has an impact. He takes Afghanistan as an example to show the success that has been achieved using this approach – despite considerable obstacles.
No doubt about it: development cooperation has a particular role to play in situations where the causes of complex crises and dangers to human security need to be addressed. It takes a long-term approach and the courage to develop new instruments and forge new partnerships to reach the overarching goal that the international community set itself when it adopted the 2030 Agenda, namely to achieve lasting peace and to ensure that everyone can fulfil their potential and live in a world free from want and fear. That is exactly what ‘human security’ means – a goal that is particularly important in times of upheaval, as highlighted in an essay by US expert Mathew Burrows, one of the leading thinkers on strategic foresight and global trends. How is this experienced by those people who live in fragile contexts or have to cope with existential hardships every day?
As already mentioned, this issue of akzente focuses on people, which is why you will find lots of people having their say throughout the magazine. We hope you enjoy reading it!