Switzerland’s International Cooperation: Annual Report 2007 shows that ODA spending levels reached CHF 2.02 billion last year, or 0.37% of gross national income (GNI). Compared to the previous year, this constitutes a 3% aid reduction in real terms (0.39% in 2006).
SDC development cooperation activities have mainly been focused on twenty-six priority countries and eleven special programmes. Additional efforts are being made to reduce this number. Humanitarian aid was provided worldwide where it was most needed. SECO’s economic and trade policy measures are currently focused on twenty priority countries. The two federal agencies employ a total of 685 Swiss nationals at their respective headquarters and abroad; in addition, there are roughly a thousand locally hired employees working in partner countries. UN institutions, the World Bank Group and regional development banks are among the SDC’s and SECO’s key partners.
The two federal agencies reaffirm their resolve to pursue the Millennium Development Goals. The Report on Effectiveness: Swiss Development Cooperation in the Water Sector examines the impact of ODA spending on improved access to drinking water. External specialists carried out indepth analysis of twenty-three bilateral and multilateral measures. Project beneficiaries also took part in this assessment.
Thanks to programmes that Switzerland has implemented over the past five years, the number of people with improved access to drinking water and sanitation has increased by around 370,000 each year. Access to irrigation has also increased by about 30,000 people each year.
This aid has had a direct impact on beneficiaries; it has helped reduce the number of cases of illness, has reduced the amount of time spent looking for water, has increased disposable income and has led to greater understanding of hygiene. Aid has had a positive impact in terms of local economic development, environmental protection and the strengthening of local institutions. Swiss aid in the water sector also makes sense from an economic standpoint. For every CHF 1 spent on the projects considered, the social or economic return on the investment is about CHF 3-5.
Transferring ownership of SDC projects to local partners before these projects are discontinued ensures that the projects have a lasting positive impact after the SDC pulls out. Favourable conditions in the country are another crucial factor when it comes to maintaining the momentum. In the future, the impact and lasting effect of Swiss aid can be improved by adopting a more integrated approach to water management, particularly in anticipation of climate change. The positive impact requires a longterm commitment from Switzerland.
Switzerland has considerable influence on the International Agenda when it comes to water. Its commitment helps increase the effectiveness of multilateral and bilateral aid because it is able to bring relevant expertise and experience to the table.
The 2007 Annual Report on Switzerland's international cooperation and the Report on aid effectiveness in the water sector are available in French, German, Italian and English. Orders may be placed by e-mail email@example.com or by phone 031 322 44 12.
Address for enquiries:
Harry Sivec, SDC Spokesperson, 079 687 11 06
Odile Keller, Deputy Head of Evaluation & Controlling, 031 325 58 65