Development and humanitarian aid – a spirit of active cooperation

Doctor examines a sick child
Doctor examines a sick child © FDFA, Presence Switzerland

Switzerland and the EU both commit to fight poverty in the world, and promote stability and prosperity in fragile contexts. They cooperate in order to ensure a larger impact and more efficiency of their politics and initiatives when it comes to development and humanitarian aid. This cooperation between Switzerland and the EU takes place on a political and operational level.


The cooperation Switzerland – EU

Since 2012, regular meetings in form of political and thematic dialogues have been organized between the Direction of development and cooperation (DDC) and the General Direction for international cooperation and development (DEVCO). The discussions embrace fundamental issues such as the link between migration, safety and development; the promotion of democracy and governance. At the same time, they also cover transversal issues such as gender politics and the implementation of the 2030 Agenda with its sustainable development goals.

On an operational level, Switzerland and the EU cooperate in the field of joint programmation exercises executing of common programming, for example in Cambodia. In 2018, Switzerland participates in a High Level panel on the occasion of the European days on the development, which are organized by the DEVCO. Switzerland and the EU have signed in 2017an administrative agreement in the field of humanitarian aid and the protection of civil society that opens up the way towards a more intense collaboration in Switzerland as well as abroad. Switzerland also contributes to the EU’s trust funds that dedicated to Africa in order to deal with the root causes of migration and help to protect the migrants.


The Official Development Assistance in numbers

In 2017, the Official Development Assistance (ODA) of Switzerland has reached CHF 3.049 billion, which equals 0.46% of the gross national income (GNI). This amount represents a decrease of 16% compared to 2016. This decrease is due to a decrease of costs accounted for the ODA which are related to the asylum seekers during the first year of their stay in Switzerland and due to the saving measures adopted by the parliament. Despite this fact, Switzerland ranks one amongst the first third that donates most to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), maintaining the 8th position of the 29 members of the Development Assistance Committee (DAC) of the OECD.

By comparison, 11 members of the DAC increased their commitment in 2017, and 18 decreased it – Switzerland is part of the latter. Five countries (Denmark, Luxembourg, Norway, the United Kingdom and Sweden) reached their goal of 0.7% (in 2016, there were six countries).

In absolute numbers, Switzerland is on the 11th place on the ranking list. The ODA provided by the EU and its Member States reached the amount of 75.5 billion euro in 2016, which represents a historical level of 0.51% of the GNI. Thus the EU and its Member States become the most important donators worldwide.

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