Integrated GIZ approaches and cross-cutting issues

The World Bank (2016) established that average growth over the last 10 years would not be sufficient to eliminate extreme poverty by 2030 and states: ‘Reductions in inequality will be key to reaching the poverty goal by 2030… especially among countries in which there are high numbers of poor, relatively wide inequality, and weak economic growth.’

Integrated approach to employment promotion

Integrated approach to employment promotion (German only): Goal 8, Decent work and economic growth, aims to ‘promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all’. The targets of SDG 8 include sustaining per capita economic growth and achieving a rise in productivity, the promotion of entrepreneurship, decent job creation, improvement in global resource efficiency in consumption and production, and the inclusion in the labour market of women, young people and persons with disabilities. The targets also address sustainable tourism and access to financial services. The integrated approach to employment promotion that is taken by German DC actors combines various policy fields and thus contributes to the achievement of SDG 8. On the labour demand side, sustainable jobs are created by increasing productivity and competitiveness in the private sector. On the labour supply side, initial and continuing training boost employability. Demand-oriented vocational training that is geared to employers’ needs is a priority area of our work. The third pillar is to improve the match between labour supply and demand on the job market by improving placement services, information systems and career guidance. The approach as a whole aligns economic policy parameters with employment promotion.

Green Economy and Green Jobs

Green economy and green jobs (German only): The green economy (also known as inclusive green growth) is an integrated approach for supporting transformation towards a low-carbon, resource-saving and socially inclusive economy. The green economy takes all three dimensions of sustainability into consideration. This approach includes a broad package of measures, consisting of economic and social policy, environmental and climate policy, private sector promotion, financial systems development and insurance, vocational education and training and the labour market, structural and industrial policy, the promotion of investment and innovation, sustainable industrial locations and energy and resource efficiency. Green jobs and green skills, i.e. training for and the creation of jobs in green sectors, are an explicit part of green economy approaches. The green economy covers not only the environmental and economic dimensions of sustainable development but also its social dimension. Integrated approaches in partner countries are predominantly devised and carried out as part of membership in the Partnership for Action on Green Economy (PAGE). Useful information can also be found at international level on the Green Growth Knowledge Platform and on the website of the DCED Green Growth Working Group .

Green and inclusive business models

Inclusive business models for sustainable development integrate people with low income as part of their core business –on the demand side as customers and/or on the supply side as distributors and suppliers. Green business models explicitly focus their activities on finding solutions to environmental challenges by reducing environmental pollution, strengthening resilience to environmental burdens or making more efficient and responsible use of natural resources. Inclusive business models are of special relevance to development and thus for the SDGs, given that they create access to products, services and income opportunities for people at the base of the pyramid (BoP) based on an economically profitable and therefore financially sustainable business model. As well as multinationals, SMEs are also increasingly developing and operating this type of business model in German DC partner countries. With their approach, based on market mechanisms, these companies offer effective and long-term solutions to social and/or environmental challenges, largely without recourse to public funds. This makes such companies popular partners for cooperation projects in almost all sectors. In recent years, approaches have been developed to provide specific support to companies with green and/or inclusive business models, since these make it possible to contribute to the SDGs via other results (such as climate change mitigation and resource conservation, better access to health and education services, etc.) than the development results targeted in connection with private sector promotion (which include the creation of income and employment opportunities). In all, it is presumed that the business potential held by the SDGs amounts to USD 12 trillion in four areas alone (agriculture/food, cities, energy/materials and health).

Linking Social Protection with Productive Inclusion

Linking Social Protection with Productive Inclusion (German only): Social protection measures such as cash transfers have had a positive impact on poverty reduction in past years. However, challenges still remain in this respect. One in five people in developing countries still live in extreme poverty. Innovative social protection approaches are therefore required in order to achieve SDG 1, which aims to end poverty in all its forms everywhere by 2030. Policy-makers are increasingly realising that social programmes that focus solely on social assistance (social security benefits that cover the cost of living) must be developed into an integrated social protection system. That means a minimum income on its own is not enough, but should be accompanied by capacity development for the beneficiary groups. In this way, measures can be successfully linked with interventions that give the target groups access to productive economic activities (productive inclusion). A comprehensive social protection strategy offers countries a framework for cross-sectoral coordination that is essential for an integrated system.


Although only four of the SDGs make explicit mention of information and communications technology (ICT), the Agenda as a whole can only be achieved by 2030 if the opportunities afforded by digitalisation can be harnessed for everyone. The opportunities presented by digitalisation include resource efficiency, new jobs, more economic growth in partner countries, greater transparency, better availability of information and many others. However, these opportunities are offset by a number of challenges:

  • New production methods and ways of working: If production methods change, this creates new jobs, while others are lost. Who moderates the digital revolution? How can people all over the world benefit from the new income opportunities offered by digitalisation? How can educational and training curricula be appropriately geared?
  • Digital divides: While the global ICT market is experiencing enormous growth, there are huge differences between individual countries, urban areas and rural areas, and between the generations. As yet, over half of the global population has no access to the internet. This increases economic and social inequality between and within states.
  • Data protection and human rights: How can rights and freedoms be safeguarded in the digital space? Who determines the online rules that apply to freedom of opinion and who excludes hate speech and incitement to hatred?
  • Electronic waste: How can we make sure that electronic waste is responsibly disposed of? How can economic incentives be created to reduce electronic waste at the production stage? Digital opportunities for everyone will only be available if there is concurrent investment in ‘analogue’ foundations such as infrastructure, (vocational) education, democracy and accountability obligations, strong institutions and intelligent government policy.


BMZ’s digital agenda shows how challenges can be tackled and the opportunities offered by digital change can be tapped. International principles of digital development cooperation also exist at global level.