ODA Spending

How much ODA does Germany allocate to gender equality?

Germany ranked first among DAC donors in terms of overall spending toward projects related to gender equality in 2022, but only 11th in terms of relative spending.

In 2022, Germany’s prioritization of projects that incorporate some gender equality was at 48% of bilateral allocable ODA, above the DAC average of 37%.

How is German gender equality ODA changing?

Germany’s spending on gender equality increased moderately between 2016 and 2019 but increased significantly by 64% between 2019 and 2022, driven by an increase in funding toward projects that target gender equality as a significant goal.

Only 5% of Germany’s bilateral allocable ODA in 2022 went toward projects and programs that targeted gender equality as a principal goal, putting Germany below the DAC average of 4%. Germany’s funding for projects with a principal gender focus has been increasing since 2017 when the funding level stood at US$209 million, or 1% of bilateral ODA.

In February 2023, the BMZ announced the implementation of a target quota for projects that contribute to gender equality. The target aims for 93% of all newly commissioned BMZ projects from 2022-2025 to contribute to gender equality. Of these, 8% of projects must have gender equality as the principal objective, twice as many as in 2021. 85% of all projects will contribute to gender equality as a significant outcome.

OECD data shows that Germany’s screening of projects has improved in recent years. In 2022, nearly all (99%) bilateral ODA had been screened, more than the DAC average of 12%.

How does Germany allocate gender equality ODA?

Bilateral Spending

The largest shares of Germany’s gender-focused bilateral allocable ODA in 2022 were allocated to government and civil society, other social services, and health & populations.

Multilateral spending and commitments

In addition to its bilateral contributions, Germany channels some funding for gender equality through multilaterals. These include UNFPA and UN Women. Some of these commitments are considered core funding to multilaterals while others are considered to be earmarked bilateral funding.

Funding and Policy outlook

What is the current government's outlook on gender equality ODA?

According to the BMZ’s Agenda 2030 Thematic Model, introduced by the BMZ 2030 Strategy, gender equality is defined as a ‘quality feature’ underpinning all of BMZ’s development measures.

A feminist approach to gender equality: Development Minister Svenja Schulze has put a feminist approach at the core of Germany’s development policy. Anchoring a feminist development policy has been named by the BMZ as one of its four priorities and is a so-called initiative theme within the ‘Agenda 2030 thematic model, which means that it will receive special attention for a selected period of time.

New guidelines on feminist development and foreign policy: In March 2023, the BMZ published a new feminist development policy strategy. On the same day, the AA launched its guidelines on feminist foreign policy. The BMZ’s strategy focuses on overcoming structural drivers of inequality. In particular, it focuses on inequalities between genders, as women and girls represent the largest marginalized group globally.

The strategy defines four fields of action:

  • Strengthening gender equality through better representation, rights, and resources for women and marginalized groups,
  • Anchoring feminist core principles in projects by targeting gender equality in 93% of newly commissioned programs by 2025;
  • Increasing understanding of feminist development policies and building international partnerships; and
  • Improving the structures, processes, and working methods of the BMZ and its implementing partners to ensure gender equality internally and in cooperation projects.

Concrete measures are guided by the Gender Action Plan, also known as GAP III. The GAP III was published in December 2023 and operationalizes Feminist Development Policy and outlines specific thematic focus areas and implementation measures for 2023-27:

  • Peace and Societal Cohesion: Conflict prevention and peace-building processes, migration support and (post)-conflict contexts and strengthening political participation;
  • GBV: Changing discriminatory norms and gender stereotypes to reduce GBV, develop a legal basis in partner countries to overcome GBV, and psychosocial, medical, social, and legal services for people affected by GBV;
  • SRHR: Prioritizing equitable access to healthcare services for women, girls, and marginalized groups, especially LGBTQI+ persons, as well as enabling the realization of SRHR for women, girls, and marginalized groups;
  • Economic and Social Empowerment, Participation, and Access to Good Work: Improving access to quality education for all, reduce inequality in social security systems and care work, equitable access to decent work, and free choice of profession;
  • Just Transitions: Supporting women, youth, indigenous communities, and agents of change in participating in processes targeting climate action and biodiversity conservation, implementing climate programs that benefit all parts of society, and supporting marginalized groups in the co-creation of inclusive, climate, and environmentally friendly infrastructure and services; and
  • Food Security, Agriculture, and Rural Development: Implementing the human right to adequate food, equal access to land, water, and capital, and active and equal participation in decisions on food security, agriculture, and rural development.

Advocating for gender equality in global fora: Germany has used its standing in global fora to advocate for gender equality and girls’ and young women’s rights at an international level. During the negotiations for the 2030 Agenda, the German government emphasized that gender equality and self-determination of all women should be anchored as a separate SDG, as well as a cross-cutting theme of the entire agenda. During the 2021 Generation Equality Forum, held from March - June 2021, Germany co-led the forum’s Action Coalition on economic justice and rights. Germany also joined the Global Alliance for Care, which was created by Mexico's National Institute for Women and UN Women and will address the burden of care that hinders women’s economic participation and opportunities.

Key Bodies

Related Publications

A new era of development assistance: Key takeaways from the G7 summit

Donor Updates in Brief: 2023 OECD Preliminary Data

Germany’s 2024 budget: Massive ODA cuts after a fiscal odyssey

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