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Multilateral peacebuilding

The peaceful coexistence of nations is one of the constitutional objectives of Swiss foreign policy. Promoting peace is one of the FDFA's central tasks. Switzerland promotes peace at the bilateral level in conflict-riven priority regions, where it works with the parties involved to find a peaceful resolution. At the same time, Switzerland promotes peacebuilding efforts at the multilateral level by seeking to better coordinate its peace activities with those of other countries and UN organisations and through its support for more innovative and effective UN peacebuilding efforts.

Regions affected by violence frequently face multiple challenges related to climate, extreme poverty, corruption and poor governance. To respond to all these challenges, Switzerland relies on partnerships. Moreover, societies seeking to rid themselves of the scourge of armed violence can only do so if well-intentioned assistance from states and international organisations is optimally coordinated and does not cause unintended harm.

This is why Switzerland embeds its peacebuilding activities in a multilateral framework, primarily within the UN. In recent years, Switzerland has systematically expanded its presence in the UN's peacebuilding architecture, seeking in particular to:

  1. Reform the UN system to increase the effectiveness of UN peacebuilding efforts. Through its seat on the UN Peacebuilding Commission and, if elected, from 2023 on the UN Security Council, Switzerland will advance the reform process.
  2. Coordinate Swiss peace efforts on the ground with UN programmes. It does this in particular through its cooperation with the UN Peacebuilding Fund (PBF) and the World Bank's State and Peacebuilding Fund (SPF).
  3. Promote greater innovation and readiness to take risks on the part of the UN: peacebuilding requires a willingness to take calculated risks. It may, for example, require talking with parties deemed to be beyond the pale or taking calculated risks to stand up for human rights and defend civil society. Entering into new partnerships for peace is another risk worth taking: involving international financial institutions and the private sector is essential to secure long-term financing and anchor peacebuilding efforts. 

What are the PBF and the SPF?

The PBF is the UN secretary-general's main instrument for the rapid financing of peacebuilding projects. In the period 2020–21, 55 countries received support worth USD 350 million for projects ranging from reconciliation, the promotion of democracy, economic initiatives and security sector reforms.

The SPF is the World Bank's only trust fund to finance projects that promote peace and state-building activities in particularly fragile contexts. With an annual budget of USD 30 million, the SPF supports small-scale projects aimed at strengthening the peacebuilding and crisis management capacities of governments and communities in about 20 countries.

UN peacebuilding architecture and Switzerland

With a contribution of CHF 20 million until 2024, Switzerland is one of the 12 largest donors to the PBF. It also participates in its annual strategic dialogue. In 2021, Switzerland hosted the strategic dialogue in Glion. The focus was on ensuring long-term funding for the PBF and improving the documentation of the impact of its work on the ground.

The Swiss mission to the UN in New York is an active participant in the meetings of the Group of Friends of the PBF, which comprises 20 countries. Switzerland has been a member of the PBF Advisory Group since May 2020.

Through its chairmanship of the Burundi Configuration of the Peacebuilding Commission and its seat on the organising committee in 2021, Switzerland has been able to influence the PBF's work at the strategic level.

Its network of peacebuilding, human rights and development specialists deployed in Swiss embassies and representations in countries where the PBF is active allows Switzerland to intervene at the operational level and create synergies between multilateral action and Swiss bilateral peace policy.

UN peacebuilding architecture and Switzerland

Contribution to the 2030 Agenda's SGDs

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development is the international community's global framework to jointly tackle the world's major challenges – in concrete terms through the UN's Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Promoting peace is also part of the SDGs, as experience has demonstrated that development is not sustainable without peace, and peace is not sustainable without development. Consequently, SDG 16 aims to promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels.

Through its commitment to peacebuilding, Switzerland contributes to the achievement of the SDGs.

Last update 18.07.2022