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Instruments and structures of development cooperationconcluded

Action Plan for the Inclusion of People with Disabilities

With its "Action Plan for the Inclusion of People with Disabilities", the German government set itself the task of systematically anchoring the inclusion of people with disabilities in German development policy. DEval has examined to what extent this ambitious goal has been achieved. The evaluation was completed in 2019.

According to the World Health Organization, there are over one billion people with disabilities. In the countries of the Global South with low and medium average incomes, their proportion is particularly high; in addition, they are more often affected by poverty than average.  

In 2009, Germany ratified the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UN-CRPD). Signatory countries that act as donors in development cooperation commit themselves to including people with disabilities in international development programmes and to enabling them to access these programmes.

To implement this agreement, the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) adopted the "Action Plan for the Inclusion of People with Disabilities" in 2013. In it, the ministry not only aims to promote the inclusion of people with disabilities in the partner countries, but also to establish inclusive structures and practices in its own organisation.

Findings and Recommendations

A large proportion of BMZ staff with disabilities perceive the working atmosphere as positive and inclusive and feel integrated, accepted and supported by their colleagues.

In order to make use of the existing potential for improvement, BMZ should strengthen awareness raising and dialogue on inclusion and disability in the office. The needs of employees with disabilities should be taken into account in all construction measures and in changes to internal communication and information media. Identified inequalities in terms of equal treatment should be eliminated.

There are hardly any mechanisms to ensure the systematic inclusion of people with disabilities in German development cooperation; only a few projects explicitly deal with inclusion.

Human rights-based target group analyses should be conducted for all technical cooperation projects. Continuous knowledge management on inclusive development measures should also be pursued in the long term. The BMZ should ensure that German development cooperation experts are obliged to attend appropriate training courses.

At the international level, Germany is valued as a competent partner in the field of "Inclusion of people with disabilities"; however, it has so far acted mostly in the background in multilateral negotiations.

The BMZ should actively promote the rights of people with disabilities in international negotiation processes and insist that the promotion of inclusion is also promoted in the development strategies of multilateral organisations.

The German government's new strategy for implementing inclusion in development cooperation should aim to change the existing structures and practices in German development cooperation in the medium and long term.

It should be developed with the participation of all actors and take into account the diversity of people with disabilities. An implementation plan should clearly identify who will assume which responsibilities in implementing the strategy.


The evaluation was completed in 2017. This is a summary of the results and recommendations; you can find the complete results and recommendations in the report.

Objectives of the Evaluation

The evaluation collected, analysed and assessed the results of the implementation of the Action Plan in a summative and formative manner. In a summative sense, the evaluation provided information on the extent to which the objectives of the Action Plan were achieved and the effects that the measures of the action plan have or had. In a formative sense, the results of the evaluation were used to derive recommendations for the development of a new strategy for the inclusion of people with disabilities, which was to come into force in 2018 but was not completed until January 2020. In its methodological approach, the evaluation paid particular attention to ensuring that the respective rights-holders were able to contribute their experiences, views and assessments.


Based on the obligations of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, the BMZ has drawn up a three-year Action Plan for the Inclusion of People with Disabilities, which has later been extended to five years (2013-2017). The overarching goal of the Action Plan is to ensure that the inclusion of people with disabilities is "systematically anchored in German development policy across the board". It comprises the following strategic goals:

  1. We lead by example in our own organisation.
  2. We promote the inclusion of people with disabilities in our partner countries.
  3. We cooperate with other actors.

The Action Plan provides for an "external review of the implementation of the Action Plan at the end of the period".


The evaluation was theory-based: The evaluation team reconstructed a logic model for the intended impacts of the Action Plan. The participating stakeholders of the Action Plan acknowledged the logic model to be appropriate to the target system and the assumptions of the Action Plan.

The evaluation aimed at a human rights-based approach. At the content level, the UN-CRPD and the norms and principles contained therein served as a benchmark for assessing the measures of the Action Plan and their implementation.

At the procedural level, i.e. in the conduct of the evaluation, the human rights principles – in particular principles of the UN-CRPD, such as the principle of participation – were implemented as far as possible. This meant that in all workshops, focus group discussions and interviews questions of accessibility and non-discrimination, autonomy and acceptance of diversity were taken into account. Thus, people with disabilities themselves or disabled people’s organisations representing their interests were included in the various surveys, but also in the recruitment of national experts.

Within the framework of the evaluation, both qualitative and quantitative survey methods were used within a mixed-method approach and supplemented by the analysis of existing data and documents. In addition, a total of five case studies were conducted in bilateral DC projects in Bangladesh, Guatemala, Indonesia, Malawi and Togo.

The data collection took place between June and November 2016. The case studies were conducted between July and September 2016. Newer developments from November 2016 onwards could therefore not be taken into account.



[Translate to Englisch:] Portrait Martin Bruder
© DEval

Dr Martin Bruder

Head of Department: Civil Society, Human Rights

Phone: +49 (0)228 336907-970

E-mail: martin.bruder@DEval.org

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