Press releases, 18.11.2020

Despite progress in implementing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the 2030 Agenda, some 600 million people worldwide live in extreme poverty. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this number is rising sharply for the first time in decades. The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) plays a key role in poverty reduction. The Federal Council has therefore decided on 18 November to allocate a contribution of 52.7 million francs to the UNDP.

The World Bank estimates that the COVID-19 pandemic could cause up to 115 million people to fall back into extreme poverty. This is the first increase in the number of people affected by extreme poverty since 1998. The UN estimates that 10.3 billion US-Dollar is needed to meet the humanitarian needs and longer-term social, economic and political impact of COVID-19 in the poorest countries. By 2030, an estimated 80 percent of the world’s poorest will live in fragile contexts or regions affected by conflict.

With its support of 52.7 million francs to the UNDP for 2021, Switzerland is making an important contribution to overcoming the COVID-19 crisis and achieving the SDGs of the 2030 Agenda. The UNDP supports developing countries in reducing poverty and overcoming structural obstacles to achieving sustainable development, for example by promoting conflict prevention and strengthening democratic governance and crisis management capacities. The UNDP's objectives are consistent with Switzerland's interests, working as it does to reduce inequality and poverty, and to mitigate the effects of conflicts and other threats that have an impact far beyond the developing countries.

Between 2018 and 2019, the UNDP improved access to basic services for 48 million people, half of whom were women. It created jobs or improved livelihoods for five million people in 28 crisis-affected countries. Regarding the rule of law, UNDP projects supported election processes in 23 countries and contributed to the registration of 28 million new voters, 48 percent of whom were women. The UNDP is taking a leading role in the response to the COVID-19 pandemic, analysing the socio-economic impact on over 60 countries and coordinating the UN's medium-term socio-economic support. Around 10 percent of the UNDP's core contributions this year have been used for the COVID-19 pandemic response.

The UNDP has been a strategic partner of Switzerland since 1974 and is one of Switzerland's priority multilateral organisations for international cooperation. The work of the UNDP is in line with the goals of Switzerland's International Cooperation Strategy 2021–2024, namely to promote economic and human development, peace and the rule of law, to address climate change and its effects and to manage natural resources sustainably. To ensure that the Swiss contribution leads to effective outcomes for poor and vulnerable population groups, Switzerland plays an active role in the UNDP's governing bodies. It is committed to strengthening the UNDP's effectiveness and reform efforts and is involved in the development of the UNDP's Strategic Plan for 2022–2025.

Further information:

Ten points explaining why the UNDP is a key partner for Switzerland

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