On 17 March 1961, the Federal Council appointed the first delegate of the Service for Technical Cooperation, which led to the creation of Swiss international development cooperation. Since then, Switzerland has been actively committed to reducing poverty in the world. With the slogan “50 years SDC – more than aid”, this 50th anniversary is an appropriate opportunity for the SDC to go to the Swiss public.
Following on from appearances in Geneva, Bern and Bellinzona, the Swiss Agency for Cooperation and Development (SDC) will bring its final jubilee street action to the Barfüsserplatz in the city of Basel on 14 and 15 October 2011. Swiss development cooperation professionals will explain their work to the public. It will be possible to take part in simulations of search and rescue operations conducted by Swiss Rescue experts in response to natural disasters and to become familiar with the realities that the members of the Swiss Humanitarian Aid Unit are faced with during their operations in disaster-affected areas, as well as to observe the water-purification techniques currently in operation in Pakistan.
The Basel authorities and members of the media are invited to attend the opening ceremony, which will take place on Friday, 14 October from 12 noon to 2 p.m. In the words of Manuel Bessler, the humanitarian aid delegate of the Swiss Confederation and head of the Swiss Humanitarian Aid Unit (SHA), who will also attend the opening ceremony: “Less poverty and forced migration, fewer wars, and improved prospects for the countries of the South and East will mean a better future for the world and for Switzerland, too”.
The SDC has organised other events throughout Switzerland during the course of the year to raise public awareness of current challenges and the results of its work. The commitment of Switzerland, the SDC, its volunteers and its professional humanitarian aid workers over the years is presented in the touring exhibition “L'autre côté du monde - Histoires de la Suisse humanitaire” [The other side of the world – Stories of humanitarian Switzerland] which offers an in-depth account of Switzerland’s humanitarian tradition. The exhibition, which will tour a number of Swiss cities until 2013, will be on show at Basel University (Kollegienhaus) from 4 to 31 October.
The Centre for African Studies Basel has organised a series of parallel events focusing on “development cooperation actors”. And the city’s Stadtkino will also mark the SDC’s 50th jubilee by hosting a season of films from the South and the East.
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