ASTANA – As the current global federal enterprise for international cooperation in the field of sustainable development, the German Society for International Cooperation (GIZ) is supporting the German federal government in achieving its objectives.
GIZ operates throughout Germany and in more than 130 countries worldwide in many fields: economic development and employment promotion; governance and democracy; security, reconstruction, peace building and civil conflict transformation; food security, health and basic education and environmental protection, resource conservation and climate change mitigation.
Since the early 1990s, GIZ has been implementing sustainable development projects and programmes in Kazakhstan, initially on behalf of German public sector clients, but increasingly also for international and private sector clients. Its first office was opened in 1996 and today there are offices in both Astana and Almaty.
GIZ is supporting the Kazakh government in the fields of sustainable economic development, education and vocational training, good governance, the environment and climate as well as health.There is no doubt that GIZ is a well-experienced organisation and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Kazakhstan invited a delegation from GIZ to share its skills.
Kazakhstan is planning to announce the launch of KazAID, a body to fund and promote development projects in Central Asia and the wider region. Germany has been one of the world’s largest bilateral donors for the past two decades. According to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s (OECD)report, in 2013 Germany provided $14.1 billion in official development assistance (ODA) according to preliminary data, a 3-percent increase in real terms from 2012 due to a rise in bilateral lending and higher contributions to international organisations. It is the third largest donor of the OECD’s Development Assistance Committee (DAC) in terms of volume.
The Astana Times had the opportunity to interview GIZ Programme Director Jörg Pudelka. Pudelka has worked as an expert on constitutional law matters in an EU-funded project in the Russian Federation, then as project manager in Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan in the GIZ Programme Support for Legal and Judicial Reform in Central Asia. Currently, he is the director of the GIZ Regional Programme Promotion of the Rule of Law in Central Asia, which covers Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.
What is the value of ODA in the modern world?
GIZ is an implementation agency; that means we are responsible for the technical aspects of official development assistance.
In Germany, it is the Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development that sets the policies for official development assistance. On the ministry’s website (www.bmz.de), you can find more information on the value of ODA for Germany in the modern world.
GIZ is an experienced service provider and assists the German government in achieving its objectives in the field of international cooperation. The organisation operates in many fields: economic development and employment promotion; governance and democracy; security, reconstruction, peace building and civil conflict transformation; food security, health and basic education and environmental protection, resource conservation and climate change mitigation.
Could you share GIZ’s experience in Kazakhstan? What are the major goals (missions) of the organisation in Central Asia?
GIZ supports the government of Kazakhstan in the fields of sustainable economic development, education and vocational training, good governance and the rule of law, the environment and climate, as well as health. We operate in Kazakhstan on behalf of the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), the Federal Foreign Office, the Federal Ministry of the Interior (BMI), the Federal Office of Administration, the Federal Ministry of Health (BMG), the Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology (BMWi) and the European Commission by implementing specific projects in these fields. For example, we have advised the drafting group on the new civil procedure code. We have also advised schools in developing their curricula.
GIZ has been active in Kazakhstan since the early 1990s (until 2010 under the name of GTZ). Thus, we could experience the development this country has undergone first hand. As this country has changed, so has the nature of our cooperation. While in the past it has been a recipient of aid, Kazakhstan is now an important partner for us in shaping the future of development cooperation, especially in Central Asia.
Kazakhstan was recently classified as an upper middle income country. KazAID is the first ODA programme among the Central Asian states and one that will begin with a neighbourhood focus.
What prospects do you see for the KazAID programme?
It is always good for us to see when recipients of aid become donors themselves. In the course of its many years of experience in all fields of development work, GIZ has already witnessed similar developments in other countries. In Saudi Arabia, Mexico and the new European Union (EU) member states, for example, we already cooperate with new ODA agencies. We hope that KazAID, too, will become a partner for us in implementing projects in the future.
How do you feel about working in Kazakhstan?
I think Kazakhstan is a very exciting place to be at the moment. So much is happening; the country is going through a huge and fast-paced transformation process. You can really observe how Kazakhstan is changing.
In this transformation process, development of a system based on the rule of law plays an important part. For me as a lawyer, this provides the unique opportunity to be part of creating something new. While the legal system here already has clear tendencies towards the continental European traditions, we still have to make sure that new rules can be successfully implemented within the local setting and adapt them accordingly.
In particular, it is important to counteract forces that try to extricate Kazakhstan from the continental European legal sphere. For one, I am absolutely convinced that our shared continental European inheritance – which goes back as far as concerns private law (and thus the economically most-significant field of law) to ancient Roman times – has immense advantages compared to the Anglo-Saxon legal systems. But even disregarding this, a conversion to common law would delay Kazakhstan’s further development for years. Insofar, one can only hope that Kazakhstan will continue on its path of legal reform. In this, GIZ will always be happy to lend its support.