The aim of development cooperation is to give people the freedom to shape their own lives, by making their own decisions and taking responsibility for them, without suffering material hardship. With this aim in mind, the German government is seeking with its development policy to help make globalisation an opportunity for all. The sectors that German development cooperation will focus on in particular in the future will be education, health, rural development, good governance and sustainable economic development. The guiding principle in all efforts is the protection of human rights.
The Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) is headed by the Minister, Mr Dirk Niebel, the Parliamentary State Secretary, Ms Gudrun Kopp, and the State Secretary, Mr Hans-Jürgen Beerfeltz. As we stand at the beginning of the 21st century, the role of development policy has changed, partly as a reaction to the terrorist attacks of 11 September 2001. Today, development cooperation is seen as global structural and peace policy. It aims to help resolve crises and conflicts in a peaceful manner. It aims to help ensure that scarce resources are more equitably shared, and that our environment is preserved for coming generations. And it aims to help reduce global poverty. The Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) has some 600 employees. About 80 per cent of them are based at the Ministry's Bonn office, while the others work at the Berlin office. A certain proportion of employees are always to be found outside the Ministry, where they take on development policy assignments worldwide for a period of a few years.