International Development Cooperation

Contributions to national and international trade union development

The representation of workers' interests by trade unions is a fundamental element of democracy. Cooperation with trade unions is historically the oldest of the Foundation's areas of work.

In all these activities we can rely on the support of the German Trade Union Federation (DGB), its member trade unions, the International Trade Secretariats, and the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions.

Moreover, the Foundation endeavors to involve trade unions in national and international political discussions through joint meetings with governments, parties, universities, business associations, and employers' organizations.

Major activities:

strengthening of trade union organizations through leadership training and through research into questions of economic, wage, job safety, and social policies;
promotion of discussion on trade union rights and human rights;
formulation of positions on ecological and environmental policy;
support for the formulation of positions toward international trade policy, toward the structural adjustment programs of international financial institutions, and toward the activities of multinational corporations.

...to the top...

Trade union development through the Friedrich Ebert Foundation:

48 trade union development programmes
8 representatives in 8 countries
Expenditures totaling DM 27.5 million (1995)

Special focus in the following areas:
dissemination of specialised trade union knowledge (economic policy, wage policy, job safety);
regional and international cooperation;
target group work (women, youth);
social security and social policy;
dissemination of basic knowledge about trade unions (especially in new democracies).

|...more information|

...to the top...

Economic and social development

Decentralized and pluralistic decision-making is a precondition for democratic structures, even in the economy. In this regard, intermediary institutions, settled between the state and the individual, play an important role: Organizations of small-scale craftsmen and smallholders, chambers of commerce and industry, associations for environmental protection as well as self-help groups promoting the improvement of the economic situation of women. The creation, strengthening, and further development of such institutions of the so called "civil society" is an essential prerequisite for the efficient and socially sustainable functioning of a market economy.

Alongside the traditional support for grassroots organizations and the promotion of small and medium-sized firms, the Foundation has increased its political consultancy work in countries that are turning to the market economy. |...more information|

...to the top...

Four examples illustrate the range of projects supported:

Promotion of small and medium-sized industry in Chile:

The Friedrich Ebert Foundation is supporting economic democratization in Chile through the consulting firm SERCAL. SERCAL provides advice to firms and associations, carries out training programs for experts and top executives, and is helping to reorganize economic framework conditions. In large part through the efforts of SERCAL, an important new law promoting small and medium-sized industry has been passed.

Economic consultancy and the promotion of federations in Namibia:

Through cooperation with their umbrella organization, we are contributing toward the improvement of the chambers of commerce and industry in Namibia. With the support of FES, our partner provides advice on proposed laws, represents the interests of the members vis-a-vis the state, and provides them with other important services. Without a representative who works with Namibia's small-scale entrepreneurs, the majority of whom are black, promoting growth and social development of a market economy would barely be conceivable.

Coffee smallholders and world trading structures - "Fair traded coffee":

In reaction to the sharp fall in world coffee prices, Fair-Trade organizations have been founded in different European countries with the goal of promoting the sale of coffee at prices which give especially small-scale farmers a "fair" return for their labour. The FES was instrumental in creating "TransFair", the German umbrella organization of the so-called coffee campaign. By this, a link was established between the ongoing assistance to several organizations of smallholders in Latin America. It aims at informing and educating the German public about international trade conditions, problems of North-South relations, and the results of development cooperation.

Social aspects of the market economy:

The end of the East-West Conflict and the turn of many countries toward democracy and the market economy has sharply increased the need for consultancy work on the legal instruments of market economy and, increasingly, on its social aspects. The Foundation has undertaken research into policy instruments that focus on the needs of disadvantaged populations in countries of the Third World. A manual that reports on the results of the research work and aims at improving the methods of our experts in Third World countries shall be published soon.

...to the top...

Economic and Social Development


the promotion of independent organizations and self-help associations;
economic and socio-political co-operation;
the promotion of women.

<<- Inhaltsvezeichnis | Nächste Seite ->>

©Friedrich Ebert Stiftung | technical support | net edition mv&ola | August 1997