2009 is the German “super election year” with close to 20 elections on regional, national and European level. The most important of these will be the elections for the German parliament, the Bundestag on 27 September. As the Bundestag not only decides who will be the next Chancellor but also which actions Germany will take in approaching 2010 and 2015 – the deadline for achieving the Millennium Development Goals – we resolved to running our own election campaign for the Bundestag to show African successes and remind of promises made. We’re calling on the support of ONE members but also want to share our policy ideas with the candidates.
In February we launched our German 2009 election campaign “Be ONE of Us”. So far we’ve seen a launch with support of activist and ONE supporter Bob Geldof and famed punk singer and long-time Africa activist Campino. Also a poll we commissioned is showing encouraging facts about how important Germans range development politics during this election year:
- 59% of Germans find party positions on supporting the distress in poor countries very important or rather important for their ballot decision
- 67% agree that Chancellor Merkel’s credibility depends in part on keeping the promise to Africa
Another important step is that the Green party made the 0,7 ODA/GNI an important goal in their election platform and it looks like that most other relevant parties will include this in their election platforms as well.
But we think more can be done. The “Article ONE” (below) is a brief summary of our agenda. It also alludes to the first article of the German constitution: “The dignity of man is inviolable. To respect and protect it shall be the duty of all public authority.”
We want the “Article ONE” to be a strong impulse for the governmental program of the next German government.
The Article ONE:
The German government has the duty to act decisively against extreme poverty. The successes of the past years show that there is a way out of poverty. Germany keeps its promise to Africa and will allocate in 2010 0.51% and no later than 2015 0.7% of its gross national income to development assistance.
Ownership as well as transparent and coordinated aid is key to highly effective development assistance. The efforts need to be focused on the MDGs. Thus the German government extends its engagement in the sectors health, agriculture, education and infrastructure. In addition, Germany supports a trade initiative for Africa and a fair debt process for countries threatened by unsustainable debt.
These days the current German government will start to think about the 2010 budget – and thereby set the direction for the new Bundestag when they pass the 2010 budget in December or January. So we’ll run a billboard campaign to remind Finance Minister Steinbruck and all the other members of government of what’s at stake and that the German people are watching closely.
In June the annual DATA Report launch will give us the latest numbers on how Germany (as one member of the G8) is fulfilling the commitments made in Gleneagles 2005. Germany is the largest bilateral donor in the area of water and sanitation but is also increasingly focusing on health and “Good Governance”. As we expect development assistance to be raised next year (there have been substantial increases for last year and this one as well) Germany should be in a position to also contribute more to global responses in sectors such as education and agriculture. Additional revenues from the auctioning of carbon emission certificates are an innovative way for Germany to contribute significantly to these sectors but also to support African countries in their effort to adapt to climate change. We’ll see on 11 June how the DATA Report rates the progress Germany is making.
Throughout the summer ONE members will have a chance to get more engaged and gather support for the “Article ONE” – be it through discussions and competitions in the “Be ONE of us” group on Germany’s largest online social network, taking action online, working with ONE in constituencies or showing presence at election events. We’re also hoping for lots of support from ONE members from another billboard campaign.
In fall, before we hand over the “Article ONE” with all the names of people from all walks of life – from Germany and around the World – we will be taking influencers and friends to Africa to show them “on the ground” why development assistance matters and how it makes a difference for the better.
And of course through all of this we’ll keep communication channels to the candidates open, listen to their concerns and make suggestions for how policies can be improved, we’ll try and keep you – the members – informed of latest developments and – as this shouldn’t be all about dry facts – we’ll have a few short films and online tools in the pipeline that you can share with friends to tell them about “Be ONE of us”.
Check out the latest action on our German election campaign website.