Most global problems are strongly exacerbated by violent conflicts. Increasing numbers of displaced persons, poverty, destruction of the environment – we will not overcome these problems unless we take a different approach to dealing with conflicts. This requires different political frameworks for conflict transformation, also in Germany and Europe. There is an established practice of civil conflict management drawing on a wealth of experiences. Methods and instruments for planning, supporting and evaluating conflict transformation have been developed.
The overwhelming majority of the work done in the area of humanitarian action supports the victims of armed conflict. Humanitarian action is intended to save lives, alleviate suffering and maintain human dignity (principle of humanity) during and after man-made crises and disasters that overwhelm local authorities and other actors. It must be carried out on the basis of need alone and must make no distinctions on the basis of other criteria (principle of impartiality). Humanitarian action must be autonomous from other political objectives (principle of independence) and humanitarian actors must not take sides in hostilities (principle of neutrality). With these four principles, humanitarian action has very high aspirations. The practical realisation of these principles is informed by the political context and by interests and dependencies, by the political or thematic focus of the respective actors, as well as by the conditions in the project area. Against this backdrop, a “humanitarian-political” perspective is useful.
With firm foundations in international law, human rights are the single internationally agreed basis for all political sectors. A human rights-based approach in international cooperation respects people as rightsholders and not as recipients of aid. Such an approach highlights the responsibility of states to respect, protect and put into practice human rights.
Germany is a developing country. With the Agenda 2030, which was adopted by the United Nations in 2015, the governments of the industrialised countries finally accepted that global problems can only be overcome if all states and societies work towards common goals that apply without exception. In a world in which the goals of the Agenda 2030 were achieved, people would not have to flee their homes owing to hardship and fear. For the first time, “peaceful and inclusive societies” have become a global development goal. Implementing such a development policy faces immense challenges, however. This goes for development cooperation to date as well as for other policy areas.