The power of social cohesion

In difficult times the real importance of social cohesion becomes abundantly clear. By acting together we can find solutions and achieve more. Germany is committed to ensuring that this power has a chance to fulfil its potential and bring about decent, sustainable development. 

Die Kraft des Zusammenhalts

What are the hallmarks of a cohesive society?

Nobody is marginalised. People all have the same rights – and opportunities to live their lives as they wish. And even if people do not always share the same opinion, they are tolerant and show solidarity to one another. Institutions are stable and enable fair participation in economic and political life.

António Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations

‘The world has an opportunity to overturn generations of entrenched and systemic discrimination. It is time to build an equal future.’

António Guterres,
Secretary-General of the United Nations

To promote social cohesion in Germany’s partner countries, GIZ strengthens their social systems through its work on behalf of the German Federal Government. This allows more citizens to experience equity and fairness and enhances their trust in their governments. In Cambodia for example, where the coronavirus crisis has hit the poorest especially hard, the country’s Government has been able to distribute targeted emergency aid to those who needed it most urgently. This was made possible by the IDPoor data platform, which GIZ and its partners developed in recent years. Particularly vulnerable households were already registered on the platform, enabling them to receive fast and effective financial support during the crisis.

90 %

of urban growth in the coming years will take place in Asia and Africa.

Large conurbations where many thousands of people live close together are indicative of the state of social cohesion. This also offers an opportunity to implement ideas for improving the way people interact with each other in these areas. GIZ builds partnerships with city networks, such as ICLEI, C40, the Cities Alliance and multilateral stakeholders, to create safe places where people can come together and participate in public life. Urban areas are expanding all over the world, especially in Asia and Africa. Whether this growth is sustainable and socially responsible depends largely on urban planning. For this reason, we are providing support through programmes such as the Transformative Urban Mobility Initiative (TUMI) to put ideas for sustainable transport into practice in Ukraine. In Egypt, we are involving the local population in redesigning neighbourhood centres, which creates safe spaces where young people and families can enjoy recreation and sport.

62 %

of the population in sub-Saharan Africa is under the age of 25.

The global population is growing and getting younger all the time. And this younger generation is demanding a greater level of participation. They want to – and must – be taken seriously. This is about their future. Young women and men need prospects – environmental, economic, political and social – so that they do not give up or turn to violence as a solution. The German development cooperation initiative Agents for Change works globally to empower those who want to bring about positive changes. It does so through worldwide networks that encourage peaceful conflict resolution, and by promoting digital start-ups in Africa and youth social work in the Middle East.
Thinking in terms of the bigger picture and fostering a community spirit is the path we have to take. The time is now.


Current Topics

‘Refugees must be able to speak for themselves’
An interview with Sabah Al Hallak, a Syrian women’s and human rights activist, about her own experience and her involvement in the Action Network on Forced Displacement.

How GIZ works with transitional development assistance and why it is becoming increasingly important as a bridge between emergency assistance and traditional development cooperation.

Subject to persecution, displacement or murder, people with diverse gender identities and sexual orientations have arguably suffered more than almost any other group during the armed conflict in Colombia. GIZ is helping them to deal with their violent past and to become involved in the peace process. Four voices describe their difficult journey.

‘They were a target for all the armed groups’
Social scientist Mery Rodríguez on the role of people with diverse gender identities or sexual orientations in Colombia’s peace process
‘Explaining climate change research so that it makes sense’
An interview with GIZ Programme Manager Caroline Milow about the Green Central Asia initiative

Water is a precious resource in Central Asia. akzente visits Uzbekistan to see how it can be distributed sustainably and fairly – and how this enhances stability in the region in times of climate change.

Custodians of natural treasures
Algeria is rich in biological diversity. The coastal regions in the north are home to many rare delights.
Where women conquer the cities
All over the world, men dominate urban life. We show five unusual initiatives by women for women in cities.
Open spaces amid a concrete jungle
In the overcrowded settlements of Egypt’s metropolises, there are glimmers of hope – community centres that provide places for young people and families to relax and play sport.

Stray dogs, muddy paths and dangerous crossings are just some of the challenges Ukrainian children face on their way to school. Now those living in the city of Zhytomyr have a safer journey.

Agile or fragile
What cities will look like in the future, depends heavily on the right management.
The genie of freedom is out of the bottle
Guest column by Michaela Baur, Director General of GIZ’s Europe, Mediterranean, Central Asia Department.
Lebanon's youth seek their future
Young women like Mireille El Helou are showing that they believe in change in Lebanon and have the energy to start afresh.
Iraq’s digital innovators
A new generation of young Iraqi entrepreneurs are confronting the country’s challenges, even during the coronavirus pandemic.

Rather than a stuffy atmosphere, libraries in eastern Ukraine provide a space for lively discussions between locals and internally displaced persons.

Dreams you can touch
As they look for alternatives to migration, young people in El Salvador now receive support with vocational training, finding employment and personal development.

Healthy eating = greater opportunities