The Federal Council has submitted to Parliament a mid-term report on the current state of implementation of the Dispatch on Switzerland's International Cooperation 2017–2020. Through a series of expected outcomes, the dispatch set out the Federal Council's priorities to reduce poverty and hardship in partner countries, conserve natural resources, create sustainable economic prospects and promote peace, democracy and human rights.
Implementation of the dispatch is on schedule. For example, thanks to Switzerland, some eight million people now have better access to clean drinking water and efficient irrigation systems for agriculture. Nine million people, more than half of whom are women, now participate in basic education and vocational education and training courses with Swiss support. Some 4.4 million inhabitants of 48 cities in Africa, Asia and Latin America benefit from a more sustainable approach to urban planning. And in six countries, including Myanmar and Colombia, Switzerland is providing support for ceasefire negotiations.
Based on the findings of external evaluations and project-integrated impact assessments, the vast majority of projects are achieving their set targets. By way of example, a team of independent experts analysed 70 SDC and SECO projects in the area of employment, and almost 85% of these were rated between satisfactory and very good (p. 19 of the mid-term report).
Impact assessment serves not only as a means of rendering account but also to steer projects and promote shared learning from missed targets. In Bolivia, for example, a project on environmentally friendly waste management and wastewater treatment was discontinued because it failed to adequately cater for the needs of the local population and authorities (p. 10). In Moldova, Switzerland's activities in migration did not achieve the intended results, and so the programme was modified for 2018–2021. Apart from the element of job creation, the project now also targets potential migrants to develop the skill sets in demand on the local labour market (p. 15).
Around 730 million people worldwide still live in extreme poverty, getting by on less than USD 1.90 a day. Climate change, armed conflict, weak state institutions and poor economic prospects threaten the livelihoods of many people in developing and threshold countries. It is in Switzerland's own interest to help improve this. With a global open-market economy, Switzerland is reliant on a stable international order that fosters cooperation. Global challenges such as climate change, water scarcity, irregular migration and pandemics transcend national boundaries. They affect Switzerland too and thus call for joint action.
The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development is the first global framework for the international community to address the multiple dimensions of such challenges: social, economic and environmental. Switzerland's engagement in international cooperation also makes an important contribution to implementing the 2030 Agenda.
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