The rise in ODA is linked to the supplementary credit approved by Parliament in June 2020 to support international efforts to mitigate the repercussions of the COVID-19 pandemic. The additional sum for ODA in 2020 amounted to CHF 159 million. The increased ODA/GNI ratio in 2020 compared to 2019 (0.42%) can be explained by the combination of these extra resources and the exceptional pandemic-related economic downturn in 2020. Latest estimates indicate that the ODA/GNI ratio over the period of the International Cooperation Strategy 2021–24 will average at 0.44%.
Certain costs relating to assisting refugees, asylum seekers and people temporarily admitted into Switzerland are included in ODA reporting. In 2020, these costs amounted to CHF 303 million, representing 9% of ODA. Not including these asylum-related costs, Switzerland's ODA/GNI ratio amounted to 0.44%.
Role of Swiss international cooperation
Through its international cooperation, Switzerland helps to reduce poverty and respond to global challenges such as pandemics and climate change, promote peace and respect for human rights, and mitigate the causes of forced displacement and irregular migration. Switzerland also plays a role in establishing sustainable, environmentally-friendly development worldwide, with a focus on the sustainable management of natural resources.
Swiss international cooperation is primarily implemented by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) of the FDFA, the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) and the FDFA's Peace and Human Rights Division (PHRD). In addition to international cooperation activities, some spending by other federal offices also counts as ODA (including asylum-related costs), as do contributions by Swiss cantons and municipalities.
Calculating ODA and cross-country comparison
ODA is calculated in accordance with the directives issued by the OECD Development Assistance Committee (DAC) of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). This allows a statistical comparison of the international commitments of the 29 DAC member states, based on the share of GNI each country spends on ODA.
In its press release, the OECD stated that the amount of aid given in 2020 increased in 16 DAC countries, including Switzerland, and fell in 13. In 2020, Sweden, Norway, Luxembourg, Denmark, Germany and the United Kingdom reached the United Nation's 0.7% target of GNI to be spent on ODA. Switzerland ranked 9th in 2020 among OECD DAC donors.
Swiss official development assistance
Switzerland’s performance compared with other countries
Press release, 13.04.2021, OECD
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