Global warming disrupts economic development and threatens to destroy the progress that has been made in reducing poverty. That is why Switzerland incorporates climate protection and the global impact of climate change in its international development policy, and provides expertise, technical solutions and financial resources for climate protection as part of its development projects and via international funding mechanisms.
The SDC's focus
People in developing countries are particularly affected by climate change because their livelihoods depend directly on natural resources. Such countries often lack the financial and technical capacities that are required for climate change adaptation. Climate change impairs both economic and social development globally and compromises what has already been achieved.
Synergies with poverty reduction
Switzerland is active in climate change mitigation and adaptation internationally and aims for its funding for developing countries to be deployed effectively. It takes into account the challenges its partner countries face and anchors its own measures in a long-term strategy to reduce poverty worldwide. To this end, the SDC creates synergies between climate protection and improving food security or governance, for example, to ensure that Switzerland's official development assistance is used in an optimal way.
International financing mechanisms
Switzerland is represented in the steering committees of the most important climate and environment funds, where the SDC advocates in particular for giving adequate attention to the needs of the poorest countries. To do this, the SDC relies on its long-standing experience in its partner countries. It makes sure that policies, procedures and the funding earmarked for climate protection are used to help the weakest people, communities and regions over the long term.
As part of this goal, the SDC was actively involved in creating the Green Climate Fund (GCF). The GCF is aimed at financing eco-friendly measures in developing countries in order to increase sustainable development. Today it is a central component of the international financing for climate protection. Through its representation in the GCF's steering committee, the SDC works actively to ensure greater multilateral cooperation and to promote innovative approaches.
The SDC, the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) and the Federal Office for the Environment (FOEN) make contributions to international financing mechanisms for climate change mitigation and adaptation. In the 2015–17 period, Switzerland made its first contribution of USD 100 million to the GCF.
Switzerland works to ensure that the existing approaches to combating climate change are deployed where they can have the largest impact. It aims to ensure that the needs of the people most affected by climate change are taken into account in particular, and that the adaptation measures that are needed receive sufficient funding. The SDC undertakes this work as part of its mandate under the Federal Act on International Development Cooperation and Humanitarian Aid. The international cooperation dispatches set out the priorities for each period. For Switzerland's international cooperation strategy 2021-2024, climate change – a growing challenge for development policy – is a key focus.
Increasing awareness at the international level
Because measures to adapt to climate change and a transition to sustainable development are needed, industrial countries – including Switzerland – are making commitments at the international level. Sustainable Development Goal 13 of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development underlines the importance of combating climate change and its effects. Under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the international community has committed itself to mobilising public and private funds for this. Switzerland has a high degree of credibility in this area because of its careful and sustainable approach to its environment (e.g. recycling, building standards, private sector collaborations) and its highly industrialised economy at the same time. This allows Switzerland to position itself proactively in international discussions and find an audience for its concerns.