2016 was a year shaped by crisis and conflict, which presented major challenges to the international community. The new Dispatch 2017–2020 gives Switzerland the means to continue to make an effective and sustainable contribution.
Switzerland and the international community faced a turbulent global environment in 2016. Just a year after the UN’s 2030 Agenda was adopted, there was growing critical and in some cases populist sentiment, which increasingly called into question the liberal world order and the multilateral system of cooperation. Many countries saw a rise in nationalism. Movements that rebelled against open borders and open societies gained more political influence in 2016. An increasing number of countries appeared to become more inward-looking, shifting their focus back to domestic policy interests.
The reasons for this are many and varied, but in particular include long-term weak economic growth, rising inequality in society and a growing sense of precariousness among the population. Ongoing conflicts, such as those in Syria and the Middle East, Ukraine and the Horn of Africa, as well as geopolitical tensions, created widespread economic and political insecurity in 2016.
For many, it became apparent for the first time that the willingness of the international community to cooperate was seriously at risk – therefore also jeopardising joint efforts to develop sustainable solutions to combat poverty, crises and conflicts. With its Dispatch 2017–2020, Switzerland reaffirms its commitment to international cooperation to contribute to solutions and sends out a clear signal against isolationism.