Once again, this past year has shown how relevant the Foundation’s activities are.
War rages once again in Europe, in the Middle East, and in many regions of Africa. The conflict over Ukraine places a strain on international relations, particularly between Europe and Russia. The military successes of the Islamic State’s terrorist army have further aggravated conditions in Syria and Iraq. The situation in Gaza remains precarious after last summer’s war, which caused 2,000 casualties and left over 10,000 people injured. Terrorist organizations such as Boko Haram in Nigeria threaten every aspect of civilian life.
Despite – and precisely because of – these crises and challenges, we are doing everything in our power to help build and expand democratic structures and civil societies, to foster peaceful solutions to conflicts, and to advance policies and policymaking regimes that are geared towards human rights. We provide background information and host discussion forums to shed light on the forces driving these conflicts, and we team up with a broad range of partners to identify ways to resolve them. One major effect of these wars and the intensifying social crises that accompany them is a dramatic rise in the number of refugees, which now stands at over 50 million worldwide. We engage in activities to explain the root causes of what drives people to flee their homes, and we take action to promote humane refugee and asylum policies.
The Foundation’s contributions to social and environmental transformation – both in Germany and at the global level – constitute another hallmark of our work. Our international environmental activities strongly focus on the issues of climate justice and resource equity. With the publication of our 2014 Meat Atlas, which has been translated into several languages, we have reached a wide audience in Ger many, Europe, and around the world. The Meat At las is the most successful publication in the Foundation’s history.
In 2014, we launched a process of reflection on our working methods and political profile. The outcome of this process was our new “Strategy 2020”, which is designed to ensure that we are wellequipped to tackle the political, economic and socioenvironmental challenges of the coming years by building on our strengths, skills, and expertise.
We would like to express our heartfelt thanks to our staff for their outstanding commitment and for their hard work, often under difficult conditions. We would also like to extend our sincere thanks to the many individuals who perform important volunteer work for the Foundation. We all share the credit for our successful endeavors.
Berlin, April 2015
Ralf Fücks, Barbara Unmüßig
Presidents, Heinrich Böll Foundation