Berlin, Germany, 7 September 2004 - “Global stability will only be realised if poverty, hunger and injustice are overcome,” stated German Federal Minister for Economic and Cooperation and Development Heidemarie Wieczorek-Zeul on the occasion of the signing today of a Memorandum of Understanding with His Highness the Aga Khan. The aim of this agreement is the deepening of cooperation between the BMZ and the Aga Khan Development Network, particularly in crisis prone-countries of Asia and sub-Saharan Africa. The Minister explained, “The Millennium Development Goals can only be reached when all social groups in a country work together towards their achievement. This requires an open, pluralistic social structure, which the Aga Khan promotes through development programmes of the Aga Khan Development Network.
His Highness the Aga Khan stated that “pluralism must become part of a society’s ethical and institutional framework including the structures of government. A fundamental requirement, therefore, is investment in sustainable public and private institutions as well as in future leadership rooted in those societies.” The Aga Khan continued by stating that “pluralism is essential to successful development as it offers a practical means of managing diversity, mitigating conflict, fostering social inclusion and laying the foundation for equitable human development: all fundamental values and principles of the German development policy.”
The agreement between BMZ and Aga Khan Development Network formalises and gives expression to a proven partnership particularly in disadvantaged regions and in areas experiencing conflict and crisis. Building on joint experience in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Tajikistan, amongst other countries, collaboration will be intensified in the areas of regional cooperation, community development, rural and economic development. In this context, the strengthening of civil society is as critical as peacekeeping. The Minister elaborated that “the experience and strengths of the Aga Khan Development Network and those of German development cooperation complement each other to create synergy and impact.” Regionally, the deepening of cooperation will be pursued initially in South and Central Asia, the Near and Middle East, and sub-Saharan Africa.
Federal Minister Heidemarie Wieczorek-Zeul and the Aga Khan announced specific programmes through which their institutional partnership would be strengthened. These include initiatives in alternative development in north-eastern Afghanistan that would contribute towards the fight against narcotics, programmes in the health sector in Pakistan and joint activities in microfinance in Tajikistan.
This press release has been jointly issued by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN)
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The Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN) is a group of private, non-denominational development agencies whose mandates range from the fields of health and education to architecture, rural development and the promotion of private-sector enterprise. They collaborate in working towards a common goal – building institutions and programmes that can respond to the challenges of social, economic and cultural change on an ongoing basis. Active in over 20 countries in Europe, Asia, Africa and North America, the Network’s underlying impulse is the ethic of compassion for the vulnerable in society and its agencies and institutions work for the common good of all citizens, regardless of origin, gender or religion.