Global migration remains high. One of the goals of Swiss international cooperation is to reduce the drivers of forced and irregular migration, improve protection for migrants and refugees, and exploit the potential of migration for developing local economies. To this end, Switzerland incorporates all of its international cooperation instruments and bases its work on a strategic link between international cooperation and migration policy.

The pressure to migrate remains high. Switzerland's International Cooperation Strategy 2021-24 addresses the drivers of forced and irregular migration. Regular migration, which is legal, is important for the development of countries and poverty reduction – remittances from migrants sent back to their home countries, for example. It is in Switzerland's interests to reduce forced and irregular migration, and to protect migrants and refugees. This also impacts positively on economic and social development in developing countries.

Incorporating all international cooperation instruments

Switzerland employs all of its international cooperation instruments to reduce the drivers of forced and irregular migration. The Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) and the FDFA's Human Security Division (HSD) are engaged in short-term efforts to address these drivers. They also work to improve the living conditions of displaced people and to protect refugees in their country of first refuge. In the medium term, the aim of international cooperation to improve prospects for people locally, providing alternatives to irregular migration and the best possible solutions for integrating migrants and displaced persons in developing countries. In the long term, international cooperation seeks to address the root causes of irregular migration, such as poverty, lack of access to basic services, armed conflict, poor governance, and the effects of climate change. Switzerland is also committed to good governance in the field of migration.

Strategic linking of international cooperation and migration policy

The Federal Council is strengthening the link between Switzerland's international cooperation work and its migration policy. In the International Cooperation Strategy 2021-24, this link is extended to all international cooperation instruments and implemented at three levels:

  1. Political level
    Migration is addressed during political consultations. The Federal Council also intends to continue concluding migration agreements and migration partnerships with priority countries for its international cooperation work.

  2. Geographical level
    The Federal Council ensures that migration policy is incorporated in all foreign policy strategies. The SDC, HSD and SECO address migration issues in their geographical and regional cooperation programmes in priority regions for Swiss international cooperation.
  3. Thematic level
    Thematic international cooperation programmes address forced and irregular migration. This means including key aspects when devising programmes: preventing forced and irregular migration, protecting and integrating migrants in countries of origin, and creating economic, political and social prospects in developing countries.