Dirk Messner departs the DIE in Bonn after 15 years as Institute Director

Press Release of 6 September 2018

Bonn, 6 September 2018. During an official farewell ceremony on Thursday morning in Bonn, representatives from the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and the Ministry of Culture and Science of the German State of North Rhine-Westphalia, colleagues at the German Development Institute / Deutsches Institut für Entwicklungspolitik (DIE) and partners from the field of development co-operation paid tribute to the work of departing DIE-Director Dirk Messner.

Dirk Messner has been Director of DIE since 2003. On 1 October he will move to the United Nations University, where he will head the Institute for Environment and Human Security at the United Nations University (UNU-EHS).

During his time at DIE Dirk Messner focussed the research, policy advice and training activities of the Institute more closely on a theory-based and application-oriented scientific basis. Dynamics and challenges of global sustainable development and the translation of these findings into practice consequently became the central focal point of DIE. In this, the analysis of co-operation patterns between industrialised countries, rising powers and developing countries played and will continue to play an important role in DIE’s research.

Martin Jäger, State Secretary at the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), thanked Professor Messner in his speech at the ceremony for all that he has done in the past 15 years for DIE, BMZ and development policy as a whole. “It is a lasting achievement – an achievement of which you can be proud,” he told Messner in front of the invited guests. He went on to add that DIE has all the prerequisites to remain a key actor and co-operation partner in development research in the long term.

With his expertise in the areas of globalisation and global governance, global environmental and climate change and the establishment of sustainable transformation paths, Messner exerted a key influence on the research programmes of DIE and provided the impetus for new initiatives in research, policy advice and training. Knowledge co-operation with and between partners of the Global South and global learning processes were especially important to Messner. The Managing Global Governance programme, launched in 2007, is a result of this co-operation. It brings together government agencies, think tanks and research institutions as well as organisations in the fields of civil society and business from Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, Mexico and South Africa with partners from Germany and Europe, enabling interaction and offering them an innovative platform for learning and networking.

Annette Storsberg, State Secretary at the Ministry of Culture and Science, representing the state of North Rhine-Westphalia at the ceremony, highlighted the development by DIE itself during Messner’s period in office. “Professor Dirk Messner has played a key role in guiding the strategic alignment of DIE as an internationally recognised think tank for global development issues,” said Storsberg. “The appointment as head of the Institute for Environment and Human Security at the United Nations University illustrates just how much his work thus far is appreciated. We are delighted that in his new position Dirk Messner will be remaining in Bonn and support the International Innovations Campus Bonn (ICB) – a flagship project on the subject of sustainability and global transformation, which the state government is pleased to support.”

Pending the appointment of a new director, Imme Scholz, until now Deputy Director, will be heading DIE for the foreseeable future. “The Institute will miss Dirk Messner greatly: especially his lively scientific inquisitiveness and commitment to resolving major social challenges,” said Scholz at the ceremony. “Around 80 researchers will continue to work at DIE in the future to create factors for the success of sustainable development and make these available to policy makers, in German and European development policy and beyond - in the nascent Innovations Campus Bonn for Sustainability and in international research alliances,” Scholz continued.

Based on its research DIE primarily advises the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) as well as other federal agencies, the European Commission and the G20, together with ministries and development organisations of developing countries and rising powers.