Launching of the Sixth German Social Watch Report

Bonn, 16 October 2006: In the past fifteen years, nearly one in every four countries has seen a decline in the quality of social services like education and health. No Money for the Poor?

Non-Governmental Organisations demand innovative instruments to finance sustainable development in Germany and worldwide

Bonn, 16 October 2006: In the past fifteen years, nearly one in every four countries has seen a decline in the quality of social services like education and health. Such has been documented in the sixth German Social Watch Report, which non-governmental organisations launched on October 16, 2006 in Bonn. “Despite the progress that has been recorded in recent years, there are still more than 50 countries in which one third of the population live in absolute poverty. In 35 countries, the proportion of those living in absolute poverty even exceeds 50 percent,” says Klaus Heidel from the ‘Werkstatt Ökonomie’ and spokesman for Social Watch Germany. It is therefore alarming that only a small number of these countries have managed to increase spending on education and health in the last few years. Even in affluent countries like Germany, cuts in social services have been legitimised on the grounds of shortages in the public service sector, continued Heidel.

In light of these developments, non-governmental organisations argue that it is essential that more money is earmarked to finance development, and this applies globally as well as on a national level. “In order to realise the Millennium Development Goals, it is not only development assistance that must be increased drastically,” explained Jens Martens from the Global Policy Forum Europe. According to Martens, the governments of developing countries themselves must triple public spending on development in the next ten years. “But to date, capital flight and ineffective tax systems deprive poor countries of billions of dollars in potential income every year. Poverty can only be fought effectively once governments halt the global tax race to the bottom, and only once they have strengthened public spending in developing countries.”

To achieve this, however, a boost in development aid is also necessary: “The budget increase of the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development in the last few years is a step in the right direction. Nevertheless, the increase is entirely insufficient both in view of current global challenges as well as when compared to the EU timetable, which calls for an increase in the volume of development contributions,” Richard Brand, who works with EED (the Development Service of the Protestant Churches) and Bread for the World, explained.

Social Watch Germany ( is comprised of 27 development, socio-political and welfare organisations, political foundations and trade unions. It was created in the run-up to the 1995 Copenhagen World Summit for Social Development. Its goal is to critically monitor the implementation of social and political commitments made by the governments at world conferences.

Contact and further information:Klaus Heidel, Spokesman of Social Watch Germany/ World Social Summit Forum, Werkstatt Ökonomie, Heidelberg, Tel.: 06 221 – 433 36 13, Mobile: 01 70 – 522 30 11, E-Mail: klaus.heidel@woek.deJens Martens, Global Policy Forum Europe, Bonn, Tel.: 02 28 – 96 50 511, E-Mail: Barbara-Maria Vahl, Diakonisches Werk der EKD, Berlin, Tel.: 0 30 – 83 001 130