Switzerland's international cooperation efforts must continue to focus on reducing poverty, mitigating global risks and promoting a stable and collaborative international order, for example by stepping up activity at multilateral level. With these aims in mind, the Federal Council has defined three levels of strategic analysis to help chart the course of the upcoming dispatch (2021–2024) as well as Switzerland's future commitments in the context of international cooperation. Due consideration should be given, firstly, to the needs of populations in partner countries, secondly, to the promotion of Swiss economic, migration and security interests, and thirdly, to the comparative benefits of Swiss international cooperation (added value, capabilities and innovation).
The Federal Council has also outlined the strategic markers for developing approaches to the upcoming dispatch. The Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA) and the Federal Department of Economic Affairs, Education and Research (EAER) intend to ramp up efforts to harness innovation, expert knowledge and opportunities for private sector investment in sustainable development. There are also plans to consolidate strategic links between migration policy and international cooperation, for example by addressing the root causes of conflicts and forced migration.
At the geographical level, the upcoming dispatch will identify four priority regions for FDFA initiatives in relation to bilateral development cooperation as well as specific issues to be addressed within these regions. The four priority regions are: 1) North Africa and the Middle East, 2) sub-Saharan Africa, 3) Asia (Central, Southern and South East Asia) and 4) Eastern Europe (non-EU member states). The FDFA plans to progressively reallocate resources, currently used in a number of middle-income Latin American and East Asian countries, to the four priority regions. This would provide the funding and critical mass needed to ensure that its activities are effective. The reallocation of resources will continue throughout the period of the 2021–2024 dispatch and will not result in budgetary cuts. Humanitarian aid, multilateral efforts and action to tackle global challenges will be focused on the FDFA's four priority regions, without compromising the universal mandate. The State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) will retain a limited number of partner countries in the four regions, in addition to some emerging countries in Latin American and South East Asia, and continue to focus on its core competencies in relation to economic development.
For the first time, an optional consultation procedure will be undertaken in respect of the dispatch on international cooperation 2021–2024. The consultation, which is expected to run between May and August 2019, will gather a range of views from the cantons, political parties represented in the Federal Assembly, the municipal authorities, cities and mountain regions, umbrella organisations, business and other stakeholders. The shared vision emerging from this wide-ranging consultation will help to shape the upcoming dispatch on international cooperation and Switzerland's response to a range of challenges facing the international community, including humanitarian crises, armed conflict, migration, socio-economic inequality and climate change.
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