Ensuring international environmental and social standards in the IKI

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On 15 January 2023, the IKI Safeguards Policy and the IKI Exclusion Criteria come into force.

The goal of the Safeguards system is to maximise positive environmental and social effects of IKI projects and mitigate or prevent negative impacts on people and the environment. 

As part of its due diligence obligations, IKI undertakes to comply with international environmental and social standards. 

In addition to the existing IKI Safeguards Standards, a Safeguards Policy and exclusion criteria for the entire funding programme will also come into force. 

The IKI Safeguards Policy

The Safeguards Policy sets out guiding principles and procedures for ensuring environmental and social standards in IKI projects. These include for example, social and environmental sustainability, protection of biodiversity, respect for international human and labour rights, non-discrimination and the application of a risk-based approach and the mitigation hierarchy.

The IKI Safeguards Policy aims to contribute to

  • prevent negative impacts on the environment and people;
  • enhance positive impacts of IKI projects for the environment and people;
  • increase the effectiveness, sustainability and quality of projects;
  • strengthen stakeholder engagement and participation, especially of structurally disadvantaged and vulnerable groups - a special focus is on the involvement of indigenous groups, who play a key role in the conservation of biodiversity; 
  • strengthen transparency to IKI stakeholders and the public;
  • meet the accountability requirements.

The Exclusion Criteria (EC)

The IKI Exclusion Criteria define what kind of activities the IKI does not support because they are deemed too risky to ensure compliance with environmental and social standards or would be ethically unacceptable.

There are areas in which IKI excludes funding from the outset. For example, if activities violate international agreements that the German government is committed to upholding, e.g.:

  • In the area of pharmaceuticals, toxic substances, fisheries, waste, as well as protection of resources, biodiversity or cultural heritage (EC 1 and 7).
  • Forced labour, harmful child labour, forced relocation, activities affecting indigenous peoples without appropriate consultation (EC 2, 4 and 5).

More effectiveness and transparency for all stakeholders 

By applying the Safeguards Policy and the exclusion criteria, task areas and responsibilities will be clearly assigned, procedures and processes structured and consequences defined. This will increase the quality, coherence and efficiency of the projects and the funding programme in general.

Implementing organisations will be able to use information that they already have or that is essential for project planning, thus significantly reducing or eliminating any required additional effort.

Topic page: IKI Safeguards

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IKI Office
Zukunft – Umwelt – Gesellschaft (ZUG) gGmbH
Stresemannstraße 69-71

10963 Berlin


Explained briefly

The mitigation hierarchy is applied as a basic principle for managing environmental and social risks. Safeguards measures are developed along the mitigation hierarchy, that is:

  1. avoid/prevent negative impacts,
  2. minimise/reduce negative impacts,
  3. mitigate negative impacts, and/or
  4. remedy negative impacts (in exceptional cases).

Online seminars

Symbol-Icon IKI Online Seminar

Learn more about the IKI Safeguards system! We cordially invite IKI implementing organisations to participate in one of our online seminars, which will take place on 19 and 25 January.