Fight against poverty and inequality: Federal Council sets Switzerland’s contributions to four UN agencies for 2018–20

Press release, 15.08.2018

In line with Switzerland's humanitarian tradition and its values of shared responsibility, equal opportunities and sustainable development, at its meeting on 15 August 2018 the Federal Council reached decisions on Switzerland’s contributions to the following four United Nations specialised agencies: the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and the agency for gender equality and the empowerment of women, UN Women. As key actors in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals of the 2030 Agenda, these agencies help to promote Switzerland's interests through reducing inequalities, poverty, conflicts and other challenges that have repercussions well beyond developing countries.

A group of children in a classroom
Millions of children remain exposed to risks related to poverty, humanitarian crises, armed conflicts, forced migration and environmental degradation. © Keystone

Despite major progress made in the fight against poverty, almost 800 million people in the world are still living in extreme poverty. Half of these people live in fragile countries or in those affected by armed conflict. Climate-related disasters have also increased in number and scale, putting development gains at risk. The UNDP assists developing countries in the areas of policy formulation, strengthening institutional capacities, sharing solutions for sustainable development, adapting to climate change, crisis response and democratic governance. For example, the UNDP made it possible for half a million eligible voters to be entered in a biometric electoral register in Nepal in 2016. For the period from 2018 to 2020, Switzerland will support the UNDP with an overall contribution of CHF 156.4 million.

Since 1990, both the proportion of undernourished children and the mortality rate among children under five have halved. In developing countries, the net primary school enrolment ratio reached 92% in 2016. Nevertheless, millions of children remain exposed to risks related to poverty, humanitarian crises, armed conflicts, forced migration and environmental degradation. UNICEF focuses on the development and protection of children, especially those from the poorest, most excluded and marginalised population groups. In 2016, UNICEF facilitated the vaccination of more than 61 million children against measles, the anti-retroviral treatment of 870,000 children living with HIV, and the distribution of learning materials to 16 million children. For the period from 2018 to 2020, Switzerland will support UNICEF with an overall contribution of CHF 59.6 million.

In 2018, the world population exceeded 7.5 billion. More than 200 million women do not have access to voluntary family planning methods, and more than 800 pregnant women die every day from complications linked to pregnancy and childbirth. The UNFPA aims to achieve universal access to sexual and reproductive health and rights.  It also aims to reduce maternal mortality and improve the living conditions of women and girls. Between 2014 and 2016, for example, the UNFPA enabled 33.4 million adolescents to benefit from integrated sexual and reproductive health services. For the period from 2018 to 2020, Switzerland will support the UNFPA with an overall contribution of CHF 48 million.

Globally, women remain under-represented in political and economic decision-making processes. Many women still do not have access to decent work. One woman in five falls victim to acts of violence and discrimination. UN Women is dedicated to strengthening human rights law on gender equality, the elimination of discrimination, and the empowerment of women and girls. Switzerland played a decisive role in establishing this agency in 2010. With the support of UN Women, 24 countries with a combined female population of more than one billion strengthened their legislation to combat violence against women and girls. For the period from 2018 to 2020, Switzerland will support UN Women with an overall contribution of CHF 48 million.

Switzerland gives a positive overall assessment of its long collaboration with the UNDP, UNICEF, the UNFPA and UN Women. These four UN agencies are part of the 15 organisations active in multilateral development cooperation to which Switzerland gives priority. To ensure that Switzerland's contributions translate into tangible results for poor and vulnerable people, Switzerland is actively involved in the governing bodies of these agencies. It is also involved in efforts to reform United Nations system for development.


Address for enquiries:

FDFA Information
Tel. +41 58 462 31 53
info@eda.admin.ch


Publisher:

The Federal Council
Federal Department of Foreign Affairs