Culture is increasingly prominent on the international agenda. But the discussion about whether and how culture contributes to combating poverty and sustainable development has far to go. Part five in a series about culture and development policy by donor countries.


March 2007 -

Culture and Development are still mainly separate fields in German policy. Especially at ministerial level the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) is responsible for development cooperation without having a special directorate for culture. The Federal Foreign Office (MFA) represents foreign cultural policy with no serious focus on development issues. So there is a lack of competences.

Although the Ten theses for cultural meeting and cooperation with countries of the third world published by the MFA, underlined the importance of cultural support to the developing world in 1982 and the Konzeption 2000 seeks for 'concerted cooperation'.
September 11 th brought forth the special programme Dialogue with the Islamic World which supports several cultural projects and gives German foreign cultural policy a priority in the Arab world.

On a practical level efforts are made to deal integrally with the two fields. The Goethe-Institut, being Germany’s official cultural institution abroad with 129 centres (ca. 35 in developing countries) focuses increasingly on the role of culture in development, change and progress. The Institute for Foreign Cultural Relations (IFA) and The House of World Cultures areparallel active.
The Deutsche Gesellschaft für technische Zusammenarbeit (GTZ ), German Development Service (DED) and Capacity Building International ( InWEnt) (all three Germany’s official development organisations) partly support cultural projects in developing countries, although there is no official strategy. Furthermore, the entire group of cultural and development agencies are looking for new and better exchange with one another.

The German NGO sector in the field of culture and development still deals with limited financial support by state institutions. Exemplary organisations are Pan y Arte, Bagamoyo Friendship Society, Children Culture Caravan and CulturCooperation.