Annual report

Annual Report 2021

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As we write this in March of 2022, our review of the year 2021 is overshadowed by Russia’s brutal war of aggression against Ukraine. Because of this, not only foreign policy, but also domestic politics have now entered a new era. In addition, two other serious crises are keeping the world in their grip: the climate catastrophe and the continued implications of the COVID-19 pandemic. We are facing enormous challenges that also have a strong impact on our work here at the Foundation. The pandemic has exacerbated social inequality, poverty, and hunger worldwide. Gender inequalities have become starker and more apparent, as have the consequences of the climate crisis: Due to droughts and floods, people are losing their livelihoods, their shelter, their homeland. The war in Ukraine is destroying an emerging, free country, forcing millions from their homes. It goes without saying that we are working intensively to address these issues. The Foundation is a place where people collaborate with a variety of domestic and international partners to make the world a place that is more peaceful, more democratic, and more livable. In the German federal elections of 2021, the voters elected The Green Party into government. We, as the Foundation with close ties to the Green Party, are ready to take ownership of this heightened responsibility. Current events underscore the urgent need to renew our economy, socially and ecologically. We must attain independence from fossil fuels, end the overexploitation of our planet, and protect biodiversity. We need a new peace order in Europe. We need to strengthen international law and improve security cooperation.

These changes must be wrought in a responsible manner. We must ensure that the ecological restructuring of the economy will not exacerbate social inequalities. Social and economic policy must be considered as one. In this necessary process of reflection, we want to make the diverse voices of the Global South and our young generation heard – at events, in publications, and in other media. The three major crises of our time are occurring against the backdrop of an ongoing rise of autocracies, a massive restriction of democratic liberties almost everywhere, the end of media freedom in many places, and the repression of civil society. These are the harsh realities. Despite all this,  democratic movements are standing up for their rights, fighting corruption and repression, and challenging governments – some of them with our support. To us, the election of Chile's new President is such a sign of hope.

We are intensifying our work in the Western Balkans by sending a clear signal in favor of a proactive and pro-democratic EU enlargement policy, as this is what many people in the region, and particularly the young, hope to achieve. More and more frequently, we are asked to provide aid and support to partners in humanitarian crises, be it in Afghanistan or Myanmar, and now also in Ukraine – including requests for individual assistance. We try, as best we can, to support exiles in their political work. Structurally, we are reinforcing our efforts in the field of migration and for refugees worldwide. In the past two years, our employees in Germany and abroad have been working under enormous pressure. We would like to thank them for their commitment and personal dedication, for their perseverance and productive cooperation during this time. Throughout the pandemic with all its resulting problems, we not only managed to keep the Foundation operational but responsive to innovation and resilient to change. Last but not least, we would like to thank all those who volunteer their time on our committees. Your support enriches our Foundation, makes it diverse, lively, and all the more appealing. This is the last Annual Report for both of us as we are about to pass the torch to Imme Scholz and Jan-Philipp Albrecht. We wish them success, a lucky hand, and joy in their work for this wonderful institution.

Berlin, March 2022

Dr. Ellen Ueberschär and Barbara Unmüßig

Presidents, Heinrich Böll Foundation

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Date of Publication
September 2022
Number of Pages
Language of publication
Table of contents
  • Foreword
  • Radical realism - now!
  • For alternative agriculture and sustainable development
  • For a sustainable economic system
  • Strengthening democracy and human rights
  • Shaping the future of Europe 
  • For an open society and fair participation
  • Arts and Culture 
  • Scholarship and fellowship program – giving a lift to young talent 
  • The Heinrich Böll House in Langenbroich
  • Awards
  • Our financial framework 
  • Publications 2021
  • Contact information