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Fit for Purpose: presenting the SDC's new structure

The Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) is aligning itself with the fields of action of modern international cooperation and is adopting a new structure as of 1 September 2022. The SDC is now divided into three geographical divisions, one thematic division and one multilateral division.

01.09.2022
Young men in tomato fields in Afghanistan.

The example of Afghanistan underlines how important it is for humanitarian aid and long-term development cooperation to complement each other. With its new structure, the SDC is bringing these two areas closer together to be even more effective on the ground. © Keystone

Pandemics, wars and climate change are among the greatest challenges of our time. It has long been the case that crises no longer come one at a time, but rather the longer crises go on, the more they overlap and reinforce each other. If we want to meet these challenges in the long term, we need networked approaches to solutions and an agile way of working. To ensure that we're equipped to do just that, the SDC is restructuring itself. 

Our goal is to ensure that we are fit as a development organisation to work efficiently, quickly, effectively and flexibly in partner countries together with our partners.
Portrait of Patricia Danzi
For SDC Director General Patricia Danzi, it was important that all staff members were involved in the reorganisation process and were able to contribute their many years of experience. © SDC

The reorganisation is the result of in-depth analysis and the many years of experience of SDC staff in development cooperation. Accordingly, all employees were heavily involved. "We asked our staff in the external network and at the head office in Bern the following: ‘What do we have to do to make the SDC even more responsive to this new world order and to our new partners in international development cooperation?’ This generated around 200 proposals and ideas," explains SDC Director General Patricia Danzi. 

Bilateral development cooperation and humanitarian aid moving closer together

The result is a newly reorganised SDC that is more agile and flexible. The SDC is now divided into three geographical divisions, one thematic division and one multilateral division. The seven sections of the thematic division correspond to the priority themes of the International Cooperation Strategy 2021–24. Humanitarian Aid and the Swiss Humanitarian Aid Unit (SHA) will continue to be managed as a separate division. "Bilateral development cooperation should be more closely linked with humanitarian aid, putting people at the centre," says Danzi.

The organisation chart is available below as a PDF document.

There were no job cuts as part of the SDC's reorganisation. "The aim wasn't to cut posts, but rather to make the SDC more efficient as an organisation," explains Danzi. Compared to other development organisations, we could be even more effective. "The SDC has highly competent and motivated staff who are widely dispersed. We were keen to find ways of making better use of that potential." This led to the reorganisation project – Fit for Purpose. "Our goal is to ensure that we are fit as a development organisation to work efficiently, quickly, effectively and flexibly in partner countries together with our partners."

Switzerland: a reliable partner that keeps its promises

Switzerland has a long tradition of international development cooperation and is highly regarded as a reliable partner. Current contexts such as Afghanistan or Ukraine show the importance of the interplay between humanitarian aid and longer-term development cooperation. 

Switzerland is perceived internationally as a country that keeps its promises, is a reliable partner and is committed to the long term.

Switzerland's multi-pronged approach enables it to act flexibly and innovatively and exert its influence even in times of crisis. "Switzerland is a partner that offers all this, from humanitarian aid to long-term cooperation. Thanks to good cooperation and a solid network on the ground, we can respond quickly in times of crisis. And thanks to our long-standing humanitarian tradition, we are highly regarded in our partner countries when it comes to sustainable development," explains Danzi. "Switzerland is perceived internationally as a country that keeps its promises, is a reliable partner and is committed to the long term." This should remain the case in the future. And with its new structure, the SDC is fit for development cooperation in the 21st century.