What do you take responsibility for? DDD issue #15 will show you a variety of approaches to the topic of “responsibility”.
Every morning on this planet, people wake up wondering how they are going to survive another day.
As Development Minister, I meet these people: working in the fields of Mali, collecting rubbish in Ghana, and living in refugee camps from the Central African Republic to Lebanon.
Here in Europe we cannot close our eyes to the daily battle for survival so many people are fighting. We cannot simply push it away and say it is not our problem. We live in one world – and each and every one of us bears responsibility.
The unequal distribution of goods and resources is the cause of many conflicts, crises and missed development opportunities. 20 percent of the earth’s inhabitants use 80 percent of its resources. This will not completely change overnight. But as individuals, we can take responsibility in our daily lives.
Over our first cup of morning coffee, we can ask ourselves if the person at the beginning of the supply chain who picked the beans can feed his family off the fruits of his labours.
Let us look at another everyday example: our mobile phones. Was the coltan inside them mined under fair conditions in Congo?
The list goes on and on: where was the clothing I am wearing sewn, and what are working conditions like there? Can the seamstresses in Bangladesh pay their children’s school fees from the money they earn? Where does the wood for my garden furniture come from?
In international negotiations, we are pushing for fair standards in global supply chains and have made this part of the G7 agenda.
But consumers have to use their power to effect change as well. Buying sustainable and fairly produced goods sends the signal that we care about the larger picture. And when we all send this message together, producers will hear us.
Thousands of German citizens worked with the BMZ to develop the Charter for the Future (Zukunftscharta) presented to the German Chancellor. We are now working on implementing it. The Charter for the Future includes a lot of suggestions for how to live a good life in this time of global responsibility. Our recently founded Textiles Partnership (Textilbündnis) is another example of German dedication to responsible cooperation on our planet.
Come join us in taking responsibility!
Dr Gerd Müller, MdB
Federal Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development