SDC in brief

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The Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation implements the Federal Council's foreign policy on humanitarian aid, development cooperation and cooperation with Eastern Europe and at multilateral level. Switzerland's international cooperation for the 2021–24 period has four strategic goals that address development challenges and build on Switzerland's unique expertise.

The SDC focuses its activities on reducing poverty and distress, as well as curbing global risks. It also aims to preserve natural resources for future generations. The SDC prioritises fragile and conflict-affected regions, where up to two-thirds of the world's poor will be living by 2030. The SDC supports countries in their efforts to overcome poverty and development-related problems, giving disadvantaged groups better access to good quality basic services, including basic education and healthcare. The SDC helps find solutions for environmental problems and creates better prospects for young people and women, both through vocational skills development and income generation.

Switzerland's international cooperation for the 2021–24 period has four strategic goals:

  1. Economic development
    Contributing to sustainable economic growth, market development and the creation of decent jobs
  2. Climate change and the environment
    Addressing climate change and its adverse effects and managing natural resources sustainably
  3. Human development
    Saving lives, ensuring basic services (especially in relation to education and healthcare) and reducing the causes of forced and irregular migration
  4. Peace and governance
    Promoting peace, the rule of law and gender equality

Switzerland's International Cooperation Strategy: jobs, climate, migration and the rule of law

Swiss Humanitarian Aid Department

The mission of Swiss Humanitarian Aid is to save lives and alleviate suffering. It is guided by international humanitarian law and the internationally recognised principles of humanity, neutrality, impartiality and independence.

The victims of crises, disasters and conflicts are at the heart of Swiss Humanitarian Aid activities. Swiss Humanitarian Aid activities are an expression of Switzerland's solidarity with people in need and are founded on shared values such as the inalienable dignity of every individual.

Swiss Humanitarian Aid focuses its efforts on three core areas:

  • Emergency aid and survival assistance (emergency relief)
  • Sustainable development
  • Disaster risk reduction and prevention

The Swiss Humanitarian Aid Unit provides direct aid via rapid response missions and seconds specialists to multilateral organisations.

Swiss Humanitarian Aid Department and the Swiss Humanitarian Aid Unit

Cooperation with Eastern Europe Department

Switzerland's cooperation with Eastern Europe contributes to building democracy and social market economies in five countries in the Western Balkans and in five former states of the former Soviet Union. Cooperation with Eastern Europe includes transition cooperation and Switzerland's contribution to the new member states of the EU. Transition cooperation between the SDC and SECO promotes the rule of law, democracy and the social market economy, and strengthens civil society. In this way, Switzerland contributes to stability in politically volatile regions and provides people there with better prospects.

Through its contribution to selected EU member states, Switzerland helps to create stability and prosperity, reduce economic and social disparities and improve the management of migration. On 3 December 2019, Parliament approved Switzerland's second contribution to selected EU member states, although no financial commitments will be made until the EU ends all discriminatory measures against Switzerland.

Cooperation with Eastern Europe

Switzerland’s contribution to the enlarged EU

South Cooperation Department

The South Cooperation Department's bilateral development cooperation activities help to reduce poverty in four priority regions: Eastern Europe, North Africa and the Middle East, sub-Saharan Africa and Asia (Central, South and South-East Asia). Its main priority is to provide disadvantaged population groups with access to basic services (basic healthcare and education) and infrastructure (water), as well as employment and income generation opportunities.

The South Cooperation Department's 800 or so programmes and projects revolve around ten themes. Activities are aimed at addressing the various needs of partner countries:

  1. Peacebuilding, conflict prevention and promotion of human rights
  2. Basic education and vocational skills development
  3. Jobs and economic development
  4. Agriculture and food security
  5. Water
  6. Health
  7. Migration
  8. Climate change
  9. Gender equality
  10. Good governance (democratisation, decentralisation, the rule of law)

South Cooperation Department

Global Cooperation Department

Through its work at the multilateral level – with organisations such as the UN, the World Bank and regional development banks, for example – Switzerland is helping to resolve development issues that are becoming increasingly complex.

With its global programmes in the areas of climate change and the environment, food security, migration and development, water and healthcare, the SDC is tackling these global challenges in tandem with its efforts to reduce poverty.

Multilateral Cooperation