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Our risk management system is an essential part of our ongoing monitoring of the wider business environment. We look ahead to identify risks and devise measures to counter them. We also identify opportunities arising around our fields of activity, and harness them to enhance our competitiveness and performance. Against this background, we focused on the following issues in particular in 2021.

COVID-19 PandemicSecurity situation in
our countries of assignment
and IT security
  • Increasing flexibility in our service portfolio as a result of pandemic-related experience in modifying project structures
  • Appropriate online communication and meeting formats in emergencies and crises
  • Greater awareness of the crucial importance of mental and psychosocial health of staff for service delivery
  • Greater expertise and experience in the fields of security and stabilisation result in better tailored offers for commissioning parties in fragile contexts
  • Fine-tuning the culture of safety and security within GIZ
  • Greater staff knowledge in dealing with crises and assignments in challenging contexts
  • Technological development and optimisation of digital solutions inside GIZ result in greater efficiency and enhanced competitiveness
  • Digitalisation projects in the countries of assignment offer new opportunities to deliver services
  • GIZ becomes more attractive for existing and potential new commissioning parties
  • Dynamically changing operating environments pose challenges to GIZ’s ability to deliver
  • Heightened risks for staff, e.g. due to limited local medical capacities and continued high mental strain
  • Less variety and greater monotony in everyday mobile working; contacts with team limited to online meetings
  • Mobile working makes it more difficult to draw a line between work and private life
  • Increasing number of countries of assignment classed as fragile
  • High level of unpredictability regarding project implementation
  • Safety and security risks for staff due to violent conflicts and rising crime
  • Partners are less reliable as a result of partner governments being overthrown, autocratisation
  • Reduced enforceability of priority issues
  • Impacts of digital change are difficult to predict in detail because of its speed and scope
  • The number of professional cyberattacks is rising
  • Gaps in IT security bring the risk of serious consequences such as financial and/or reputational damage

In the first year of the pandemic, we were able to put in place extensive communication options and advisory/counselling services for all staff within the scope of our security risk and crisis management. These again proved their worth in 2021. Last year we were also able to offer vaccinations not only to employees based in Germany but also to staff and their families in various GIZ countries of assignment, in close cooperation with the German Federal Ministry of Health and the Federal Foreign Office. COPE, our psychosocial counselling and support unit, continues to help staff worldwide deal with the challenges posed by the pandemic with a wide range of counselling services.

Our duty of care towards both Germany-based staff and field staff is our top priority. Our employees attend a number of different security training courses before taking up assignments abroad. Our security advisors in partner countries produce regular security analyses and related information regarding the situation on the ground. Working closely with the Corporate Security Unit, they provide support in countries of assignment in assessing and mitigating security risks, and also take precautionary measures. In addition, local contact points and networks are identified that can provide culture-sensitive and context-sensitive psychosocial support in crises.

In 2021, there was a focus on raising awareness of IT security risks. Mandatory online training and intranet-based guidance explain how staff should handle information and data. We have also come closer to our goal of ensuring that our information security management system (ISMS) is implemented worldwide in line with ISO 27001, and that all Germany-wide activities are compliant with and certified under the IT-Grundschutz (Basic Protection) standard developed by the German Federal Office for Information Security (BSI) and based on ISO 27001. In future, we will continue to enhance our information and IT security, as technology, data protection and hackers are constantly changing direction and procedures.

Information on the following sustainability standards can be found on this page:
GRI standard 2-13; The Code 2