2021 was the second year in a row largely dominated by the coronavirus pandemic, which was compounded by the humanitarian crisis triggered by the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan in August of 2021. Switzerland joined the international community's efforts with a flexible and rapid response in support of disadvantaged populations. Parliament approved two supplementary credits: CHF 226 million for Switzerland's international cooperation response to the health crisis and CHF 23 million for humanitarian aid to the people of Afghanistan. In addition, Switzerland donated stocks of unused SARS-CoV-2 vaccines and medical supplies to developing countries (CHF 45 million in Swiss ODA reporting). These additional measures represent 0.04% of GNI. For the first time since 2016, the ODA/GNI ratio again surpassed 0.5%.
Certain costs relating to assisting refugees, asylum seekers and people temporarily admitted into Switzerland are included in ODA reporting. In 2021, these costs amounted to CHF 337 million, representing 9% of ODA. Excluding these asylum costs, the ODA/GNI ratio was 0.46% (0.45% in 2020).
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, expenditures (including asylum-related costs) incurred by other federal offices are also counted as ODA, as are contributions by Swiss cantons and communes.
Calculating ODA and cross-country comparison
ODA is calculated on the basis of guidelines 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 2021 increased in 23 DAC countries, including Switzerland, and fell in 6. In 2021, Luxembourg, Norway, Sweden, Germany and Denmark reached the United Nation's 0.7% target of GNI to be spent on ODA. Switzerland ranked 8th in 2021 among OECD DAC donors.
Address for enquiries:
Federal Palace West Wing
CH-3003 Bern, Switzerland
Tel. Communication service: +41 58 462 31 53
Tel. Press service: +41 58 460 55 55