Technical cooperation and financial aid for developing countries

Switzerland conducts its international cooperation activities by networking with many partners.
The SDC is present on various continents. © DEZA

The SDC works with priority countries and regions and responds to the global challenges with five global programmes. It is also involved in development banks and development organisations.

The SDC works to reduce poverty – in all its forms – and to lessen exposure to global risks. It seeks to improve the living conditions of the populations in developing countries while making certain that biodiversity and the sustainability of natural resources is maintained in accordance with the 2030 Agenda.

In the period 2017–2020, the SDC will focus its efforts on three main lines of action:

  1. Bilateral cooperation with countries located in priority countries and regions
  2. Five global programmes to tackle global challenges and to shape global public policy in the areas of climate change and the environment, food security, water, health, migration and development
  3. Membership in multilateral organisations, including the World Bank, regional development banks, UN agencies working in the field of development, and global funds and networks

Thematic priorities

The SDC's activities provide prospects for the future and create jobs. They facilitate basic education and vocational training, income creation and development of the local private sector. The SDC will continue to stress the importance of equality between women and men, and of good governance. It will also reinforce its commitment to providing assistance in fragile contexts, particularly in Africa and the Middle East. 

Geographical priorities

Countries and regions are assigned priority status based on various criteria, such as levels of poverty and fragility, openness to dialogue and the degree to which they are of interest to Switzerland's development policy and foreign policy.

In the period 2017–2020 it will focus on the following priority countries and regions:

  • Benin, Burkina Faso, Mali, Mozambique, Niger, Tanzania, Chad, Bangladesh, Nepal, Mongolia, Myanmar, Bolivia, Haiti and Cuba
  • The regions of the Horn of Africa, Southern Africa, the Great Lakes, North Africa and the Middle East, the Mekong, the Hindu Kush and Central America

Cooperation with multilateral organisations

Switzerland's cooperation with multilateral organisations leads to concerted action to solve common problems. Switzerland is an active member of development banks, UN development agencies, and other funds and networks.

The SDC and SECO choose the organisations they work with on the basis of the following four criteria:

  1. The importance of the organisations in terms of Switzerland's development policies;
  2. the past performance of the organisations;
  3. the possibility of influencing the policies and strategies of the organisation, and
  4. Switzerland's foreign policy interests.

Justice and security: a project carried out in 86 countries

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) is, together with the World Bank, Switzerland's main multilateral partner institution.  By supporting the UNDP, the SDC contributes to improvements in the conditions of access to justice and security for the citizens of 86 countries. In 2014, some 750,000 people around the globe – 51% of them women – availed themselves of legal assistance services.