In 2018, the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) is centring its mandate and priorities around delivering humanitarian aid to people in distress, intervening in fragile contexts to ensure access to healthcare and helping reduce poverty by giving people access to basic education and vocational training, thus also creating better prospects for their future.
In an increasingly globalised world, the needs and requirements of international cooperation are constantly changing, calling for new modes of collaboration between political and economic actors, civil society and researchers. To ensure it can deliver aid as effectively as possible, the SDC works very closely with Swiss researchers and institutions on developing innovative ideas and approaches.
A large number of SDC projects already incorporate ingenious ideas and technologies, such as new funding mechanisms for education or improved access to market prices for agricultural smallholders via their mobile phones.
Another case in point can be found in relation to health, one of the SDC’s main global programmes: antibiotic resistance has become a serious global public health concern. In Tanzania, it affects 70% of the population. The lack of rapid diagnostic methods means antibiotics are regularly prescribed for children with fever, even though only 10% of them actually has a bacterial infection. A project in this area uses electronic algorithms and digital tablets to enable prompt diagnosis, thus allowing proper treatment that reduces both the use of antibiotics and resistance to them.
The SDC is also highly committed to action on climate change. The construction industry – and buildings themselves – account for 39% of energy-related greenhouse gas emissions. A project developed by the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne (EPFL) and other academic partners aims to manufacture a new type of cement that will reduce CO2 emissions by 30% compared with normal cement.
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