Marcelo del Pozo, Reuters


“The press must have the freedom to say anything so that certain people do not have the freedom to do anything.” This was expressed by the French statesman, diplomat, and man of letters Alain Peyrefitte. “Watchdogs”, “gatekeepers”, or the “Fourth Estate”, whatever we choose to call it, a free media is the indispensable guardian of liberal democracy.

Darrin Zammit Lupi, Reuters

The Waning of the Light

Freedom of the Press in 2021

Freedom of the press is an essential pillar of functioning democracies. When this pillar crumbles, it is usually due to an erosion of the whole democratic edifice, while also contributing to this ongoing decay. For many years, press freedom has been under pressure around the globe – yet, there are still grounds for optimism. The ­COVID-19 pandemic has helped to raise people’s awareness of the importance of independent, quality-oriented media.

Issei Kato, Reuters

Parlamente in der ­Pandemie

Adäquat beteiligt oder von der Exekutive verdrängt? Beobachtungen aus dem asiatisch-pazifischen Raum

Anhand einer Auswahl von neun Ländern aus dem asiatisch-pazifischen Raum geht dieser Beitrag der Frage nach, ob es im Zusammenhang mit Maßnahmen zur Eindämmung der Corona­pandemie zu Machtverschiebungen im System der staatlichen Gewaltenteilung zu Lasten der Parlamente gekommen ist oder ob die Volksvertretungen ihrer konstitutionellen Rolle entsprechend an den politischen Entscheidungen beteiligt wurden.

Ben Blanchard, Reuters

A Dynamic Player in East Asia

How Taiwan Takes Responsibility in the Shadow of the International Community

Although diplomatically recognised by scarcely more than a dozen countries, Taiwan still pursues an active, values-based foreign and development policy. Taipei deliberately counters Beijing’s hard power with its “warm power”. Whether it is health, the economy or disaster management, creativity and innovation are the common threads that run through Taiwan’s approach to development cooperation.

Bobby Yip, Reuters

A Holistic View of Health

The One Health Concept in ­International Development Cooperation

The ­COVID-19 pandemic has turned the spotlight on how global health risks can arise from interactions between humans, animals, and the environment. Consolidating the One Health approach is vital if we are to adequately counter this threat. The approach focuses on these interdependencies to reduce the resulting health risks. Governments and multi­lateral organisations also increasingly incorporate this approach into their development strategies.

John Vizcaino, Reuters

A Mixed Picture

Five Years of the Colombian Peace Agreement

2021 marks the fifth anniversary of the historic peace agreement between the Colombian government and the guerrilla organisation Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia (­FARC). The international headlines focus on the delays and setbacks obstructing the path to a stable, lasting peace. However, despite the widespread scepticism fuelled by these ongoing difficulties, positive steps are being taken to increasingly consolidate the peace process and make it irreversible. Colombia deserves the solidarity and support of its international partners as it continues this journey.

Jose Miguel Gomez, Reuters

Accountability Is Only the Beginning

A Plea for the Strategic Use of Monitoring and Evaluation

Discussions about monitoring and evaluation in development cooperation still tend to revolve around justifying the use of funds – often taxpayers’ money – and proving their effectiveness. Of course, this is right and important, but monitoring and evaluation harbour the potential to do more. The goal must be a change in attitude, moving away from being “guardians of the indicators” to becoming “friends and helpers”.

Tomohiro Ohsumi, Reuters

Authoritarian Donor States and Their Engagement in Africa

A Focus on Strategic Power and Exporting Political Systems?

As the world shifts into a new geopolitical phase, Africa is gaining importance – as a trading partner and investment destination, a contender in addressing global challenges, but also as an arena for external actors to flex their military and strategic muscles. These actors include China, Russia, and Turkey, three authoritarian regimes with regional and great power ambitions. From a European perspective, their activities in Africa are viewed with scepticism and concern. Not only because they are economic competitors, but because they also embody competing values and social models.


September 2021 will mark precisely 60 years since the group of Western industrialised nations formed the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). In 1961, the OECD also established its Development Assistance Committee to coordinate its members’ development aid (as it was generally known at the time). This autumn, Germany’s Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) will also commemorate its 60th anniversary.

Baz Ratner, Reuters

Political Conditionality

The EU’s Attempt to Align Democratic Norms and ­Foreign Policy Priorities in Ethiopia’s Tigray Conflict

Deteriorating levels of democracy worldwide are once again intensifying calls for increased political conditionality in European Union development policy. Against the background of violent conflicts and human rights abuses in Ethiopia, the EU’s diplomatic approach to tackle democratic backsliding is being put to the test. Criteria for financial support and suspension must be better communicated to send coherent signals to both recipient countries and domestic audiences alike.

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