Swiss President in video conference on development funding in Corona times
Press release, 28.05.2020
On Thursday 28 May 2020, the President of the Swiss Confederation, Simonetta Sommaruga, took part in a video conference on development funding at the invitation of the UN, Canada and Jamaica. The conference, which involved numerous heads of state and government, marks the start of a longer process which will focus on development funding at a global level during the pandemic and beyond.
The initiators want to prevent the progress achieved in global development over several decades from being wiped out by the current crisis. The guiding principle is the 2030 Agenda with its sustainable development goals for the global community. The conference aims to give impetus to a longer-term discussion of specific funding solutions and measures for managing the COVID-19 crisis.
‘As so often happens, it is the weakest among us who suffer most. In order to get through this crisis with dignity, we must develop a social model that is more sustainable, fairer and better equipped to adapt to changed circumstances’, Ms Sommaruga declared. This would mean making investments that are compatible with the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, she added. She also called for inequalities to be reduced. The Swiss President described the slump in the level of money transfers that migrants and Diaspora members are making to their countries of origin as ‘alarming’, reaffirming the call made by Switzerland and the United Kingdom to keep channels for these transfers open.
Also represented at the conference alongside the UN member states were the most important actors in development funding, including the OECD, the IMF and the World Bank. Switzerland views the UN’s capacity to intervene during the current crisis as a serious concern. Therefore it welcomes the UN’s decision to tackle the vital issue of development funding in more detail during the corona crisis. On Thursday a process was initiated that will continue to the end of the year; its issues have also been put down for discussion at the High-Level Political Forum on sustainable development (HLPF) and at the opening of the 75th UN General Assembly in September.
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UN Secretary-General António Guterres has appointed Swiss diplomat Stéphane Rey, head of Peace Policy and deputy head of the Human Security Division at the FDFA, to the Advisory Group of the Peacebuilding Fund. The FDFA welcomes Mr Rey's appointment, which acknowledges Switzerland's record as a bridge builder and its expertise in peace and security.
The Peacebuilding Fund is the UN's financial instrument of first resort, delivering rapid and effective support for interventions to sustain peace in areas at risk and prevent new outbreaks of conflict. This prepares the ground for a longer-term engagement by the international community. For example, the fund finances and supports peace negotiations and the implementation of peace agreements, national institutions for the peaceful resolution of conflicts and the reform of state institutions. The Advisory Group consists of ten members appointed by the UN secretary-general for a two-year term of office. Its mandate is to advise and oversee the use of the fund's allocations and to examine the implementation of the fund's new strategy for the 2020–24 period.
Stéphane Rey's appointment to the Advisory Group represents the recognition of Switzerland's good offices and its contribution to the peaceful coexistence of peoples. Switzerland also supports the UN secretary-general's reform efforts to create a more robust organisation, in which the Peacebuilding Fund will play a key role. In his statement, the UN secretary-general stressed the importance of these reforms and the UN's effectiveness, particularly in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Switzerland will continue to support the reforms, and the UN's peace and security agenda.
As a member of the fund's independent Advisory Group, Stéphane Rey will draw on his many years of experience in peacebuilding. This includes in particular his current activities as head of Peace Policy and deputy head of the Human Security Division, which has over 20 peacebuilding programmes. Mr Rey will continue to fulfil his current position at the FDFA.