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de overview 4.21

Germany is the second largest Development Assistance Committee (DAC) donor in net terms with $24.2 billion spent on official development assistance (ODA) in 2019, representing 0.61% of its gross national income (GNI). Fighting the root causes of migration in the Middle East, North Africa, and sub-Saharan Africa is a core theme in German development, with a focus on displacement and migration, climate change, agriculture and food security. During its 2017 G20 Presidency, Germany convened G20 Health Ministers for the first time (similar to the G7 Presidency in 2015). With a new global health policy released in 2020, Germany has chosen to focus on five areas: 1) providing protection against cross-border threats to health; 2) strengthening health systems; 3) promoting health research and; 4)  strengthening global health architecture. 

Global mental health support

According to Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) data, Germany is a top bilateral donor to mental health. Examples of projects funded includepromoting mental health and psychosocial support (MHPSS) work in Syria and in Jordan, providing psychosocial support training to UNRWA employees for Palestinian refugees, as well as scaling up health services in Pakistan. Germany’s development agency,  Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), also released a guide for best practices of MHPSS in refugee contexts.

Germany is also a member of the MHPSS donor group.

Strategy for global mental health

There is no global mental health strategy. However, providing mental health services to refugees and displaced persons is mentioned in Germany’s development policy, “Development Policy as Future-Oriented Peace Policy.”

Domestic mental health

Germany is the first country to have created a Formal Sub Committee for Global Health. There are no national mental health plans but rather, various mental health plans and legislations are available at the state level. 

For more information see WHO Mental Health Atlas 2017 Country Profile, and further resources in WHO MiNDbank.


Key stakeholders

The Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) sets development priorities and is the largest source of ODA. Within BMZ, the division on Health and Population Policy is responsible for policy development. BMZ also leads on humanitarian assistance and crisis prevention.

State development agencies are GIZ and KfW

Key decision makers

Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany: Angela Merkel 

Development Minister: Gerd Müller

Minister of Health: Jens Spahn 

Chair of the first Global Health Sub-Committee in the German Bundestag: Heike Baehrens.

Financing global mental health

According to data from IHME, from 2007-2019 Germany contributed USD $71 million in development assistance to mental health (DAMH). This figure is only representative of government resources.


Global health overview

In 2016, Germany spent US $1.2 billion of ODA on global health (4% of its ODA).Some 53%  (US$632 million) of its health ODA was channeled bilaterally and 47% (US$552 million) was channeled multilaterally.

Germany has made pledges and contributions to the following to global initiatives:

DE 4.21

Key resources