Switzerland's engagement worldwide

Reduce poverty, make development sustainable and overcome global risks – these are the main goals of Swiss international cooperation. The Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation and the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs are responsible for implementing these aims. Switzerland has earmarked CHF 11.35 billion for international cooperation for the 2013–2016 period.

Sustainable global development is a key factor in reducing poverty and global risks. Switzerland’s commitment has five specific five objectives:

  • Prevent or overcome crises, conflicts and disasters
  • Create universal access to resources and services
  • Promote sustainable economic growth
  • Support transitions to democratic, market-based systems
  • Help shape globalisation that favours development, safeguards the environment and is socially responsible

In the field of international cooperation, Switzerland works both bilaterally and multilaterally – with priority countries and regions as well as 13 international institutions (financial institutions, UN organisations, global networks and funds).

The Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) and the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) are responsible for Switzerland’s international cooperation. This covers the following four areas:

  • Humanitarian Aid (SDC)
  • Technical cooperation and financial aid (SDC)
  • Economic and trade policy measures within the context of development cooperation (SECO)
  • Cooperation with the countries of Eastern Europe and the CIS (SDC/SECO)

For 2013 to 2016, Switzerland plans to devote CHF 11.35 billion to these four areas.

Humanitarian Aid (SDC)

Humanitarian Aid helps cope with the humanitarian consequences of wars and conflicts, climate change, food crises, water scarcity, environmental changes, nuclear accidents and migration. Increased attention is now being paid to prevention and crisis resistance, advocacy for and support of victims as well as international networking. Humanitarian Aid deploys instruments such as rapid response teams and Swiss Rescue. It is present in the field and makes experts of the Swiss Humanitarian Aid Unit (SHA) available, also to UN organisations.

Technical cooperation and financial aid for developing countries (SDC)

From 2013 to 2016 SDC is focusing on the following ten countries and regions: Benin, Burkina Faso, Mali, Mozambique, Tanzania, Bangladesh, Mongolia, Bolivia, Cuba and Central America. At the same time, it is expanding its activities in the following countries and regions: Great Lakes region of Africa, Horn of Africa, Southern Africa, Niger, Chad, Northern Africa/Palestine, Hindu Kush region, Mekong region, Nepal and Haiti. Switzerland carries out programmes in the areas of health and education, employment and income, rural development and governmental and administrative reforms.

Economic and trade policy measures within the context of development cooperation (SECO)

SECO seeks to reduce poverty on an economic basis. In the area of economic and trade policy measures SECO focuses on five thematic priorities:

  • Strengthening economic and financial policy
  • Extending city infrastructure and supply structures
  • Supporting the private sector and entrepreneurship
  • Supporting sustainable trade
  • Promoting climate-friendly growth

The main objective is to promote sustainable growth – in economic, ecological and social terms – that creates new jobs, encourages higher productivity and helps to reduce poverty and disparities. To that end, the partner countries are integrated into the global economy and their domestic economies are strengthened. Economic governance and gender equality are cross-cutting themes that permeate all areas of work.

SECO’s priority countries in the global South are: Egypt, Ghana, South Africa, Indonesia, Vietnam, Colombia, Peru and Tunisia.

Cooperation with the countries of Eastern Europe and the CIS (SDC/SECO)

Through its cooperation with Eastern Europe, Switzerland is contributing to the political and economic reform processes (transition) in the former communist states of Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union. The main priorities are:

  • Strengthening human rights and democracy by creating political institutions that ensure the rule of law and are focused on the needs of the people
  • Promoting economic and social development and the sustainable management of natural resources

Cooperation is concentrated on the Western Balkans (Albania, Bosnia Herzegovina, Macedonia, Serbia and Kosovo) and the countries of the former Soviet Union (Ukraine, Moldova, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan).

EU Enlargement Contribution – Cooperation with Eastern Europe

With the enlargement contribution, Switzerland is investing CHF 1.302 billion in the member states that joined the EU since 2004. This is used to support projects aimed at reducing economic and social disparities in the EU and strengthens relations to states in the whole European area.