Research Area II: Development Partnerships in Times of SDGs

Focus: Poverty Reduction and Political Participation

► Responsibility for Selected Goals - Poverty Reduction and Food Security
► Re-ordering of Development Partnerships to Overcome Inequality
► "New Donors" Challenging Existing Models of Development Partnerships
► Frictions within the SDGs - Economic and Social Development vs. Civil and Political Human Rights

In the thematic area of "Development partnerships in times of SDGs", the focus is on the responsibility formulated in the SDGs for selected goals, in particular poverty reduction and food insecurity. The challenge of this normative order for development cooperation for the next one and a half decades between 2015 and 2030 is great. Central questions are: Where can good practices for poverty reduction and food security be identified in existing projects of development cooperation that are effective, sustainable and can contribute to a reorganization of development partnerships? Is the responsibility of Western donors really defined relationally in terms of ownership and self-responsibility on the ground, or is it rather defined as top-down?

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The research has interfaces to global inequality research at the Käte Hamburger Kolleg / Centre for Global Cooperation Research (KHK/GCR21). The empirical analysis focuses on the integration of participatory, gender-oriented and socio-culturally sensitive dimensions into the normative structures and operational practices of development cooperation, with a regional focus on sub-Saharan Africa alongside Southeast Asia. In addition, research in this area raises the question of how existing models of development partnerships are challenged by "new donors", such as China in particular, but also India. This is not only about power rivalries between “old” and “new” donors fought out by means of development cooperation, as emphasized frequently. In fact, also the normative and procedural standards which the OECD countries have developed within the Development Assistance Committee (DAC) are put to the test. Will this new contestedness of normative and institutional orders lead to further fragmented development partnerships? Or will novel chances arise that “new” donors will take over responsibility extensively for implementing the SDGs in the Global South?

In contrast to economic, social and cultural human rights, the SDGs take civil-politi-cal human rights, as defined by the United Nations Civil Pact, rather casually into account. Only SDG 16 on "Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions" has a corresponding focus. However, only relatively few sub-goals of SDG 16 explicitly demand that civil-political human rights, such as freedom of information, should be protected and independent national human rights institutions be established. Accordingly, issues of democracy promotion and the protection of human rights are largely irrelevant. However, what trends and trade-offs can be observed? What form does development cooperation take with partner states that follow the "developmental state" model, which is neither based on a liberal understanding of democracy nor on individual participation and plural representation of interests? In view of the implicit premise of the SDGs that it is primarily a matter of social and economic develop-ment, is a new normative order emerging here whose "tunnel vision" is to achieve the SDGs at the expense of civil-political human rights? INEF research in this area combines the analysis of macro data with case studies of practical bilateral cooperation.


Selected Publications

► Gaesing, Karin/ Herold, Jana 2019: Peacebuilding Starts at Home – Gender-just Access to Land for Escaping Hunger and for Peaceful and Inclusive Societies, in: FriEnt-Study 07/2019 - Land and Conflict Prevention: How Integrated Solutions Can Help Achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. Bonn: FriEnt - Working Group on Peace and Development, 57-61.

► Gaesing, Karin 2019: ETHIOPIA: Sustainable Management of Natural Resources Reduces Poverty and Vulnerability (Good-Practice-Series 14B). Duisburg: Institut für Entwicklung und Frieden.

► Herold, Jana 2019: Improving Smallholders’ Food Security and Resilience to Climate Change in Burkina Faso: The Building Resilience and Adaptation to Climate Extremes and Disasters Programme (BRACED) (AVE-Study 19/2019). Duisburg: Institut für Entwicklung und Frieden.

► Herold, Jana 2019: BURKINA FASO: The Building Resilience and Adaptation to Climate Extremes and Disasters Programme (BRACED) (Good-Practice-Series 19). Duisburg: Institut für Entwicklung und Frieden.


Prof. Dr. Tobias Debiel

Room: LF 324
Phone: +49 (0)203-379-2021
Staff Portfolio

Dr. Karin Gaesing

Room: LS 031
Phone: +49 (0)203-379-3973
Staff Portfolio

Arne Rieber, M.Sc.

Room: LS 031
Phone: +49 (0)203-379-91436
Staff Portfolio

Elena Sondermann, M.A.

Room: LS 033
Phone: +49 (0)203-379-1916
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Dr. Cornelia Ulbert

Room: LS 119
Phone: +49 (0)203-379-4422
Staff Portfolio