The implementation of principles in Division 4C

The following explains how the implementation principles are applied in Division 4C “Governance and Conflict”.

Integrated Approach

The 2030 Agenda contains numerous clear references to governance, conflict and peace issues. Governance is often mentioned as a means to an end for the implementation of other sectoral goals of sustainable development (Sustainable Development Goals, SDGs) - and peace as a basic requirement for sustainable development.

In the 2030 Agenda, for the first time, social, economic and ecological dimensions are mutually dependent and of equal value. The fight against poverty, sustainable development and resource protection are all combined within a single agende. Progress in one area should not minimize other developments. Any trade-offs that arise should be addressed in a structured and inclusive dialogue with non-state actors. Ideally, this presupposes constructive state-society relationships, mechanisms and capacities for peaceful conflict management and good governance. Particularly in fragile contexts affected by violence, conflicting goals are obvious and often politically sensitive. Room for civil society engagement and inclusive processes is often limited or only available for certain groups.

This complex and intersectoral understanding of sustainable development is shared among planning officers, but these approaches are often not implemented by donors or government agencies in partner countries due to “silo thinking”.

In the clarification phase of the appraisal, possible interfaces to other sectors and projects should already be determined in cooperation with the specialist and method managers in order to incorporate the relevant expertise that covers all three dimensions of sustainability. In this context, the paper on governance in and with sectors is available to planning officers as an aid. “Sector governance” can be understood as an approach to deal with sectoral and governance issues in an integrated manner. This can increase the effectiveness and sustainability of sectoral programs and governance interventions.

It should also be noted that the possibility of a cross-sectoral change strategy should be checked at the time the brief assessment is drawn up. Particularly in fragile contexts, it is necessary to proceed in a context and conflict sensitive manner in order to avoid or minimize possible negative risks and effects.

During the appraisal mission, the team can discuss whether, in addition to the partner ministry, other specialist ministries should be included in the steering structure of the project in order to support an integrated implementation of the reform projects in the partner country and promote inter-ministerial cooperation.

With the introduction of the Safeguards + Gender Management System, a binding minimum standard was created for all business areas and clients of GIZ. It covers all four phases of order management and subjects topics such as environment, climate, human rights, conflict and context sensitivity and gender to a systematic review process for external risks and unintended, negative effects for all three dimensions. In the context of gender, potentials for promoting gender equality are also examined.

Practical Examples

As part of the “Adaptation to Climate Change in National and Local Development Planning” project, German development cooperation is supporting the Government of Bangladesh in integrating the issue of climate change into the national planning and budgeting process. The national climate strategy of 2009 was not adequately reflected in the government's sixth five-year plan (2011-2015). Sector ministries were therefore unable to claim additional resources for the implementation of the action plan through the national budget. As part of the preparation of the seventh five-year plan, there was then the opportunity to integrate relevant aspects. GIZ is supporting the government of Bangladesh on behalf of the federal government in drawing up an implementation plan agreed between the Ministry of the Environment, the planning commission and the Ministry of Finance.

The municipal development project "Strengthening local administrations in Nepal" has been supporting local administrations since 2015 in providing demand-oriented services. As part of the appraisal mission for an additional offer, a workshop was held with those responsible for other projects in the country (including those from the energy, health and agriculture sectors). Interdependencies and potential for cooperation between the sectors were discussed in order to achieve the sustainability goals of the 2030 Agenda more efficiently through synergies between the individual projects. On the basis of this communication process, an offer can now be developed in which local governance functions as a link between the various projects.

Further examples across sectors and SDGs can be found in the publication “Gender takes Center Stage - at GIZ and in the Agenda 2030”.

Key questions

  • Which dimensions of sustainability (economic, ecological, social) does the project have a direct / indirect effect on? How is it ensured that negative interactions are avoided and synergies are used?
  • Which inter-ministerial coordination structures or coordination mechanisms are there at the national level for the implementation and monitoring of the 2030 Agenda in terms of an integrated approach, and how can these be incorporated into the project? Can these promote the intersectoral implementation of a project?
  • Where is work already being carried out in an intersectoral manner or where is such an approach suitable for increasing effects or avoiding negative effects (principle of intersectorality)?
  • How can other actors (including from civil society) be involved in an appraisal mission to address other sustainability dimensions?
  • Which interdependencies with other development goals are observed during the appraisal? Which actors should be contacted accordingly to facilitate coordination on the partner or donor side?
Leave No One Behind (LNOB)

Peace and good governance are prerequisites for sustainable development that leaves no one behind. Only through the existence of conducive framework conditions can the living conditions of those most left behind, i.e. marginalized people and population groups, be sustainably improved. Improving living conditions means ending poverty (SDG 1), reducing inequality worldwide (SDG 10) and sustainably promoting more social cohesion and peace in the world - between and in individual countries.


Leaving no country behind: Intergovernmental or international level

  • Global governance: At the international level, it must be ensured that the principle of special and differentiated treatment of developing countries is taken into account (SDG 10a), that official development aid and financial flows, including foreign direct investment, are promoted in the states in which the need is greatest - in particular in the least developed countries (SDG 10b) - and that developing countries can participate in global steering institutions (SDG 16.8).
  • Conflicts and fragility prevent sustainable development. Approx. 2/3 of fragile states did not achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), i.e. were left behind. Governance is often the core and solution of the problem at the same time: Structural causes of conflict can often be traced back to deficits in statehood. Promoting good governance can be seen as the key to peaceful development. At the same time, it favors the non-violent resolution of conflicts and can thus counteract the slide into crisis and conflict situations.

By promoting good governance, a contribution is made to reducing inequality between states. Stabilization also creates an important prerequisite for sustainable development.


Leaving no one behind: Individual level

  • Participation and political framework: In order to realize LNOB, it is important not only to support all citizens with regard to their economic development, but also to fully grant human rights and participation. Decomposed, i.e. disaggregated, data from marginalized population groups must be known to decision-makers so that they can be taken into account (SDG 16.7). The participation of citizens is only possible if they have access to information (SDG 16.10), know their rights, articulate and orfganize themselves, participate in decision-making processes and can assert their rights (keyword legal empowerment and access to justice, SDG 16.3). Conducive framework conditions for political participation (civic space and constructive state-society relationships) forms the basis for this.
  • Establishment and implementation of non-discriminatory legal provisions and policies through the promotion of human rights and the rule of law as well as the strengthening of judicial integrity to reduce the causes of discrimination against disadvantaged population groups: Promoting access to justice (SDG 16.3.) helps marginalized population groups to exercise their rights in all areas of life (e.g. physical integrity, political and economic freedoms, property, etc.).
  • There is a need for strong, transparent, accountable and effective government structures and control mechanisms that ensure that the concerns of marginalized people are incorporated into decision-making processes and addressed (SDG 16.6).
  • Strengthening the statistical capacities for the collection, analysis and use of disaggregated data is another important prerequisite for evidence-based policy-making that is tailored to the needs and interests of the marginalized, and for effective monitoring of the implementation of measures.
  • Corruption must be fought in order to guarantee equal access to public services for all. On the one hand, poorer sections of the population cannot afford illegal demands for bribery that go hand in hand with access to school places or health care. On the other hand, misappropriation leads to the disappearance of funds intended for improving access to public services.
  • As a result, good governance is characterized by the progressive realization of human rights, in particular through barrier-free access to public services (e.g. education, health and water), the realization of economic, social, cultural, political and civil rights, social cohesion and peace - in other words, nobody is discriminated against or left behind because of a disadvantage.
  • The LNOB principle is also a basic requirement for peaceful development. (Perceived) disadvantage and discrimination can lead to horizontal or vertical tensions and potentially escalate situations if the ability or will to resolve civil conflicts in a peaceful manner does not exist or is insufficient on the part of society and the state.


In addition to the GIZ Safeguards + Gender Management System, the BMZ guidelines for taking into account human rights standards and principles, including gender, should be used when drafting program proposals in order to understand the relevant human rights risks and effects of an advisory approach. In the BMZ business, beyond context and conflict sensitivity (Do No Harm), all projects should make positive contributions to realizing human rights.

For countries that are fragile or are affected by violence and conflict, assumptions should be derived from the integrated context and human rights analysis, both on possible disadvantaged target groups and on specific do-no-harm aspects, which should be checked or adjusted during the appraisal mission.

The Terms of Reference (ToR) of the appraisal missions should contain the following additions:

  • Consideration of disadvantaged target groups in the impact structure
  • Determination of (baseline) data broken down by target group (age, gender, ethnicity, language, religion, disability, sexual orientation and gender identity, social origin, status, etc.)
  • Description of participation opportunities for the different target groups
  • Consider and present context and conflict sensitivity

If possible, target groups should be disaggregated in the formulation of objectives and indicators - otherwise at least the derivation should be made clear in the module proposal (especially in the chapters "Goals, target group, impact hypotheses and indicators" and "Problem and potential analysis"). The breakdown by gender and the consideration of the different realities of life, needs and concerns of women and men is a mandatory requirement according to BMZ guidelines and a quality feature of our work.

By emphasizing differences in polarized societies or for politically disadvantaged population groups, the collection of disaggregated data can potentially exacerbate conflicts and endanger target groups. This should already be taken into account in the integrated context and human rights analysis within the framework of Safeguards + Gender. For projects in which people in poverty or other marginalized groups are the direct target group, the Poverty Targeting Primer can provide orientation on the strengths and weaknesses of various targeting methods.

Practical Examples

Within the framework of the “Program for the Promotion of Civil Society in the Palestinian Territories”, there is increased cooperation with people with disabilities and their self-advocacy organizations. Due to the poorly democratic context, these are severely limited in their political and social representation. The efficiency with which civil society partner organizations represent their interests is therefore promoted in order to give people with disabilities - including those with cognitive and psychological impairments – a voice in social discourse and increased visibility. This will improve the implementation of the United Nations (UN) Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and the inclusion of people with disabilities in international cooperation programs. The concerns of women and girls are actively promoted.

How is the principle addressed:

  • Focus on particularly disadvantaged and hard-to-reach parts of the target group
  • Increasing the visibility of underrepresented groups within international cooperation and local political processes
  • Involvement of representatives of these population groups in discussions on development policy
  • Orientation towards the UN Disability Rights Convention

The “Regional Project Strengthening Resilience in Neighboring Countries Receiving Refugees in the Syrian Crisis” aims to improve the framework conditions for refugees and host communities by implementing coherent measures on a regional scale in order to strengthn resilience.

Where was the principle applied within existing structures:

  • The project is based on the Regional Refugee & Resilience Plan in Response to the Syria Crisis (3RP) and the national implementation plans
  • Special consideration of human rights when formulating the target group.

What was done differently:

  • Check with separate ToR to determine target group-specific data
  • Creation of specific key questions based on the needs of marginalized social groups

Key questions

  • Which population groups are / see themselves as particularly disadvantaged and vulnerable?
  • Are there gender-specific disadvantages or are there such disadvantages that result in multiple discrimination through gender?
  • How is the disadvantage manifested? Which structures consolidate the disadvantage?
  • Is access to justice also guaranteed for disadvantaged population groups?
  • Which civil society organizations that represent the interests and rights of particularly disadvantaged population groups can the project work with?
  • Which reliable (state / non-state / independent) data bases exist or do not exist?
  • What participation and complaint mechanisms are there for disadvantaged population groups?
  • Who wins / loses by promoting specific target groups?
  • What consequences can be expected for the project design (e.g. cost implications if, for example, target groups that are difficult to reach are to be addressed)?
  • Which possible unintended negative effects can the promotion of certain population groups have and which measures can avoid or reduce these negative effects?
  • Could the collection of disaggregated data along ethnic, religious or other characteristics increase social tensions, polarizations or conflicts? How can this be prevented?
  • Is there a risk that data can be misused by the state / other actors?
Inclusivity and Participation

Closely related to the LNOB principle is another principle that can be found in numerous SDGs and is anchored in SDG 16. This is the call for inclusive processes and the participation of civil society and private sector actors in the transformation agenda. These actors should be involved in setting priorities and goals as well as in their implementation and monitoring. Particularly controversial issues can be resolved in an inclusive and constructive state-society dialogue. Inclusion and participation can be politically very sensitive, especially in fragile and violent contexts, but at the same time offer the opportunity to address sensitive issues. However, this presupposes the will and the ability to participate and mechanisms for a constructive and non-violent state-society dialogue including all actors. In light of the limited scope of action of civil society actors, the inclusiveness of the transformation process is especially relevant. Results from an inclusive process are more legitimate and sustainable.

As part of the “OECD Network on Conflict and Fragility” (INCAF), the international community is investigating the extent to which external actors can support inclusive political reform and negotiation processes and help build trust between the state and society. The results of a study suggest that, on the one hand, bureaucratic restrictions are a hindrance for donors and, on the other hand, that donors should not assume the role of problem solvers but rather as companions for local inclusive transformation processes.

Key questions

  • To what extent are civil society and private sector actors involved in the transformation agenda? Who is not involved?
  • What structures, mechanisms and capacities are there for inclusive participation mechanisms?
  • What civil conflict management mechanisms are there? Are these accessible to all (LNOB) and (culturally) acceptable? Are the actors able to use them?
  • Which topics are controversial and politically sensitive?
Shared Responsibility

Responsibility for implementing the 2030 Agenda and fulfilling the SDGs does not lie solely with the governments of the nation states, but is the responsibility of everyone: civil society, the private sector and states. The partnership approach requires greater cooperation between the various actors at local, regional, national and international level and the use of the agenda as a shared strategic vision for all stakeholders to promote peaceful and sustainable development.

Partnerships create added value for everyone involved. Cooperation between state and non-state actors promotes constructive state-society relationships and social inclusion (SDG 16.7). Multi-actor partnerships (MAPs) are not a fundamentally new approach in German development cooperation - many projects involve collaboration with different actors and partnerships are consciously promoted. Examples include NGO alliances, partnerships between individual NGOs and ministries, public-private partnerships, certain control mechanisms of specifications, etc. In fragile, violence, conflict or post-war contexts, a first meeting of potential partners can already be an initial success as mutual trust only grows slowly and is a basic requirement for a successful partnership.

A number of different governance alliances are in the process of being formed at global level, in some cases with local groups. Some of our partner countries have already joined such alliances. The most important ones at present appear to be the following:

  • The Open Government Partnership (OGP) is an international initiative whose member states are making efforts to promote open governmental and administrative action. By implementing national action plans, a wide variety of projects are being supported and regularly evaluated in the areas of transparency, civic participation and the use of new technologies to enable more efficient government action. By working closely with civil society and through international exchanges, the OGP supports the voluntary commitments defined in the various national action plans.
  • The UNDP-led Global Alliance for Reporting Progress on Promoting Peaceful, Just, and Inclusive Societies has a clear focus on sharing information related to monitoring and reporting, giving priority to SDG 16 and governance in general.
  • The Pathfinders for Peaceful, Just and Inclusive Societies initiative is an informal group of states, international organisations, global partnerships, civil society and the private sector. It was initiated by New York University’s Center on International Cooperation and the Governments of Brazil, Sierra Leone and Switzerland. Its aim is to achieve a consensus on strategic priorities and to draw up a roadmap for the implementation of SDG 16 and the related targets, and to support the application of this roadmap. The initiative focuses on networking and on sharing experience gained with implementation.
  • The World Federation of United Nations Associations set up the 16+ Forum in April 2016. The 16+ Forum offers members of multi-stakeholder partnerships the opportunity to share information on activities designed to implement and monitor SDG 16 and thereby to strengthen the engagement of the UN stakeholders for implementing SDG 16. The main aim is to identify and discuss the linkages with other SDGs in order to establish how the integrative character of the 2030 Agenda can be leveraged within the UN system in relation to SDG 16.

Practical Examples

The Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) is an international initiative that involves numerous NGOs, companies and countries that are dedicated to achieving financial transparency and accountability in the extractives sector. EITI has become an internationally established transparency standard for disclosing financial flows in this sector. More than fifty countries are now members and it is supported at international level by many donor countries, non-governmental organisations, companies in the extractives industry and institutional investors. The initiative is implemented on the ground by local multi-stakeholder groups with the participation of state, governmental and civil-society representatives. In many countries, EITI implementation kick-starts debates on mineral resources and development that go far beyond financial transparency and transcend individual stakeholder groups. GIZ advises partner countries in preparing for and making successful use of EITI membership. Among other things, projects support stakeholder dialogues and outreach measures, the production of EITI reports to compare the tax payments made in the sector, or to strengthen civil-society groups in performing their oversight function within the EITI process. In addition, GIZ supports the implementation of EITI in Germany (D-EITI) and thereby promotes dialogue and transparency in the German extractives sector.

Key questions

  • Which goal is of interest for each individual actor within the partner structure, or which goals can be better pursued within a partnership?
  • Which cooperation culture and structures can the partnership link up with? What cooperation options are there over and beyond existing alliances and cooperation arrangements in which actors from academia and research, the private sector, civil society, etc. could participate?
  • What specific interest do the different actors have in learning and development?
  • Will an MSP make the project more sustainable or result in a greater impact?
  • Is the partner country already a member of an international alliance? Are there linkages with the work of the project? Would it make sense to join the partnership?
Accountability: Follow-Up and Review

The special challenges involved in measuring indicators to meet the accountability obligations of the individual governments are based on the following factors:

  • Inadequacy of data: The SDGs oblige countries to collect data on a number of new topics on which no data has so far been systematically collected at national level (i.e. Good Governance).
  • Inadequate national statistics systems: In some countries, data collection is not guaranteed due to technical, legal or capacity bottlenecks. Authorities frequently have high-quality data that cannot be used for official statistics.

Legal and institutional frameworks are often underdeveloped, especially in fragile contexts, which means that they are not in a position to ensure suitable legislation, planning processes and quality management at the relevant institutions. A further obstacle is the difficulty of collecting qualitative data of a politically sensitive nature. The collection of subjective data such as the perceptions, needs and experiences of people who may be intentionally marginalised by the political system in sensitive contexts may also jeopardise these sections of the population, and is very difficult without the related political will. Added to this, governmental institutions do not enjoy the same level of trust and legitimacy among all population groups, particularly in fragile countries, and collection of these data is often undesirable.

Appraisals should take a closer look particularly at the following areas of action, and a targeted capacity development approach should be followed in this direction:

  • Establishing and strengthening national M&E systems: Implementation plans for the Agenda will be underpinned by an M&E system in order to make national progress visible and will be aligned with international evaluation mechanisms.
  • Improving the institutional capacity of statistics authorities (administrative reform): A functioning statistics system is the prerequisite for examining implementation at national level. This includes standardised processes and workflows as well as the teaching of skills required for preparing, analysing and publishing statistics and for monitoring strategies.
  • Promoting innovative approaches: Apart from official statistics for monitoring the 2030 Agenda, unofficial data such as business figures, indicators of subjective perceptions for measuring satisfaction levels, opinion surveys and geodata play an important role. Open data approaches can also be supported that enable the collection and provision of non-personal data. Further information can be found at the Open Knowledge Foundation and the Open Government Partnership. The constant improvement of information and communication technology and the growing role played by civil-society organisations and companies in the monitoring process are crucial in this context.
  • Improving data collection: Many different kinds of data will be needed to monitor implementation of the Agenda’s goals. Official data sources from household surveys and administrative data from population registers are relevant here. The aim in connection with household surveys is to develop and use innovative alternatives to time-consuming and cost-intensive standard surveys. Data collection using new technologies can also help to reduce process costs.
  • Promoting dialogue between data users and data producers: Data supply must meet data demand. This presupposes that governmental and civil-society data users have an understanding of which data they require for which purpose, and that data producers collect and process the data in an appropriate form. Continuing training can be provided on this subject.
  • Knowledge management and regional networks: Supporting regional exchange platforms for disseminating best practices and for reciprocal learning.

Projects designed to strengthen the government’s financial capacities and to foster decentralised data collection as well as e-government and digitalisation projects can make an important contribution in this respect. What is important is that such approaches give consideration to the entire statistics system and subject both institutional frameworks (access to information) and data governance and the data cycle (design, indicator development, collection, validation and evaluation) to the requirements of the 2030 Agenda (participatory, open, LNOB, data literacy, transparency).

Practical Examples

GIZ is responding to the challenges presented by the review process by providing advisory services in several country contexts. The company also has a wealth of expertise in setting up M&E systems across different sectors. Based on a declaration of cooperation between GIZ and the German Federal Statistical Office signed in January 2017, GIZ also has the possibility to offer specific advisory services on increasing statistical capacities in partner countries. Beyond this, GIZ has also positioned itself at international level in a review network designed to examine implementation of the SDGs via Partners for Review.

The Programme of support for decentralisation reforms in Ghana places its focus on building local data collection capacities in agreement with the country’s national commitment to the 2030 Agenda review process. To this end, the aim is to create a platform for the collected data that is freely accessible to civil society. The data will be disaggregated in order to make visible the changes down to local level and to enable decentralised development planning.

Key questions

  • What structures and data collection processes are in place for measuring the progress made in implementing the 2030 Agenda?
  • How good is data quality and can different data sources be combined?
  • Are the data accessible, up-to-date, politically independent, politically sensitive and comprehensive, and do they take all population groups into consideration?
  • Are there possibilities of using innovative data collection and data processing approaches?

To achieve sustainable development, every country needs to develop or change. All countries of the world – developing countries, emerging economies and industrialized nations alike - are called on in equal measure to question the impact of their own actions on global issues, such as illegal arms trading, illegal financial flows, human trafficking, pollution of the oceans and climate change, and to seek solutions at both the national and the international, global level and implement these solutions within partnerships. Each country bears responsibility for defining its contributions to achievement of the 2030 Agenda in light of national policies and conditions, and for defining its global commitment. Governments are called on to outline a national strategy for implementation of the 2030 Agenda in the national context, including national priorities, and to enter into global partnerships for implementation (SDG 17). Global issues such as Migration, human, drug and arms trafficking have a direct impact on local contexts, peace and conflict dynamics in both the global South and the North in low-income and high-income countries and must be reflected more jointly and incorporated into national, regional and global policies.

When examining projects that affect global/international issues and problems, it is important to consider whether there are any (global, regional) partnerships/initiatives etc. that address the problem and could be relevant for the project, or whether there is a need to foster an inclusive dialogue on this.

Key questions

  • To what extent do national or international policies and practices have a negative effect on sustainable development in a given country, a neighboring country or at global level?
  • What policies, processes and activities reinforce negative effects or prevent the elimination of negative effects, or support positive changes? What measures need to be taken to reduce these negative effects?
  • What international/multinational/ national/civil-society agendas/MSPs/ platforms/initiatives are in place and might help to solve the global sustainability problem in the individual country?
  • What possibilities/financial scope exist for participation?

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