The SDC selects the countries with which it works – or decides to terminate its cooperation – according to set criteria. It also chooses the multilateral organisations and NGOs with which it works on the basis of clearly defined objectives.
The priority countries of Swiss development cooperation are among the poorest and structurally weakest in the world. The SDC focuses on some 20 priority countries and regions. These are chosen according to specific entry and exit criteria, such as needs, fragility, added value, the potential of the results of cooperation, the will of the countries concerned to carry out reforms and cooperate, mutual interest in cooperation, and the presence of other donors.
Switzerland’s transition cooperation in Eastern Europe and Central Asia is offered to countries that are not members of the European Union, have a communist history and now demonstrate the will to carry out reforms. In such cases, the SDC coordinates its activities with the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO).
Emergency aid is provided in cases where there are major humanitarian needs and where a large number of people face serious difficulties as a result of a crisis, armed conflict, natural or man-made disaster or an epidemic. The lack or inadequacy of local, national and regional capacities to cope with such crisis situations and their consequences can also justify humanitarian action.