Switzerland has a long history and extensive experience in humanitarian relief assistance and international development cooperation. It supports new emerging regional players on the Arabian Peninsula in their efforts to achieve standardized Aid Effectiveness. As part of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA), the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) aims at conducting an institutional exchange on humanitarian and development issues with major donor countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), especially the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Kuwait and Qatar. The former two countries are, like Switzerland, among those that have endorsed the Busan Partnership for Effective Development Co-operation. The Busan Partnership is specifically concerned with promoting dialogue and concerted efforts to make development co-operation more effective.
In order to facilitate this dialogue, SDC has assigned a Regional Advisor to the Swiss Embassy in Abu Dhabi. His mandate is to engage in an institutional dialogue with selected donor organizations from the UAE and other GCC focal countries in order to improve donor coordination along shared principles, foster mutual understanding, and, thereby, ultimately contribute to aid effectiveness in needy third countries. This is mainly being done by means of joint learning and regular thematic exchanges.
The GCC countries such as the UAE, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia or Qatar have traditionally been generous donors and renowned worldwide for their major contributions to humanitarian relief efforts regionally and globally. Particularly the UAE has been playing an increasingly prominent and internationally acknowledged role in this field: Since 2012, the UAE ranks as the world’s top donor of Official Development Assistance (ODA) in proportion to its Gross National Income (GNI). It is the only GCC country which has established a Ministry for International Cooperation and Development (MICAD) – one of SDC’s key dialogue partners – as well as a major logistics hub for humanitarian aid, the International Humanitarian City. On July 1, 2014 the UAE became a participant (i.e. member as a non-OECD country) of the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development’s Development Assistance Committee (DAC).