Responsibilities within the federal administration

Man helping to build a house in Poland
Regional development initiatives help create new opportunities to generate revenues in Podkarpackie Voivodeship in Poland. © SDC/MIR

Implementation of enlargement contribution projects is overseen by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) and the joint offices in Warsaw, Riga, Budapest, Prague, Bratislava, Bucharest and Sofia. This is done in coordination with the Directorate for European Affairs (DEA).

The SDC and SECO each administer around half of the funds that make up the enlargement contribution. In accordance with the framework agreements with the partner states, the projects are divided between SECO and the SDC as follows:

  • Security, stability, and support for reforms: the promotion of regional institutions and municipal authorities is one of Switzerland's core areas of expertise in international cooperation. Swiss know-how is much sought-after in the areas of environmental security (e.g. disaster prevention) and public safety. The issues of security, stability and support for reforms fall within the SDC's area of responsibility.

  • Environment and infrastructure: waste management, waste-water management, reduction of pollutant emissions/greenhouse gases, and the increase of energy efficiency, as well as the modernisation of public transport are all urgent concerns in the partner countries. Furthermore, significant challenges also need to be addressed in the area of biodiversity and conservation. This thematic area mainly comes under SECO's responsibility.

  • Promotion of the private sector: by providing support to small and medium-sized enterprises – for instance through the development of appropriate financing instruments or by improving financial reporting and auditing of firms – a real contribution can be made to increasing levels of employment and income. This thematic area falls under the competency of SECO.

  • Human and social development: following on from previous programmes conducted during the transitional phase, further improvements are to be made in the area of healthcare, in terms of offer, quality and access. Another priority area covers scientific research, education and training. This thematic area falls under the competency of the SDC.

  • Support funding for non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and partnership funds: these funds support projects that strengthen civil society and promote partnerships with Swiss institutions. The SDC is responsible for this thematic area.