Restoring public order

Ute Klamert explains, how GIZ creates a safe and secure environment for people affected by violent conflict.

Ute Klamert is Director General of GIZ’s Europe, Mediterranean, Central Asia Department.

The world is in turmoil and instability is increasing. 1.5 billion people live in fragile states or in countries marred by violence, and record numbers – 65.6 million – have fled or been displaced. In Syria alone, two thirds of the population have had to flee. These trends are reflected in our work. Half of the countries where GIZ operates are fragile states. They are unable to guarantee public or individual security, lack legitimacy in the eyes of a large percentage of their population, and struggle to deliver basic public services such as health, education and welfare. 

We support fragile states in meeting their responsibilities to their population. In countries where war-like conditions prevail, we also take measures to stabilise the situation. The concept of stabilisation ­underpins the June 2017 German Government guidelines ‘Preventing Crises, Resolving Conflict, Building Peace’, which govern our work. Under these guidelines, stabilisation measures follow directly on from ­violent conflict. 

Germany's increased global responsibility

The aim is to identify and strengthen political actors who can help to build a new, peaceful public order. Stabilisation is an investment in risk mitigation and ­conflict prevention, and helps ensure that conflicts do not flare up again immediately. Stabilisation measures combine diplomatic, development and military interventions, reflecting the increasing interlinkage of ­foreign, development and security policy required by Germany’s increased global ­responsibility.

Afghanistan, Iraq, Mali and Yemen are just some of the countries in which Germany is working to stabilise the situation. We have worked in Iraq on behalf of the German Government to set up mobile ­clinics in areas recently liberated from the violent grasp of so-called ‘Islamic State’ ­terrorists. These clinics are housed in a ­series of linked containers. When the IS was finally driven out of Mosul, there was barely an intensive care unit that was still operational anywhere in the city. There was nowhere where children could be safely born, appendicitis treated or broken legs set. A mobile clinic offers hundreds of families safe medical care, enabling them to stay in their homes and rebuild their confidence. Our aim is to provide services that rapidly make a difference and to create the basis for restoring state legitimacy and the rule of law.

Finding the right political partners

To find the right political partners for this phase of our work, we cooperate closely with our commissioning parties to analyse the situation. We seek out individuals who are willing to commit to the common good. We talk to village communities and local councils to discover what they need. In a particular community, for example, the most urgent priority may be to set up generators, repair a grain mill or provide seed. Elsewhere, we provide equipment to get damaged schools and municipal facilities back up and running. This creates hope and something close to day-to-day normality. In northern Iraq, for example, we work on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) to provide start-up funding for small skilled trades and crafts businesses, shops and cafés. This helps life to return to towns and villages. 

In these areas, we cooperate extremely closely with our commissioning parties, state and non-governmental partners, and colleagues. For GIZ, supporting populations in the aftermath of violence and war is a vital and demanding but exceptionally rewarding role.

published in akzente 3/17