2016: Switzerland’s commitment to creating long-term prospects

Press release, 20.06.2017

Disasters and protracted conflicts, forced migration, rising inequality: 2016 saw troubled times for much of the planet.  In the face of these challenges, Switzerland strengthened its engagement in fragile and conflict-affected regions and worked to develop sustainable solutions in partner countries. The Annual Report, published jointly by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) and the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO), examines the results of Switzerland's international cooperation in 2016.

Young men and a young woman are trained to become electricians in a vocational training centre in Tanzania.
Vocational education and training can make a significant contribution to reducing poverty. © Sven Torfinn/Panos

In the course of the past year, Switzerland pursued its efforts to fight poverty and reduce global risks. It stepped up its activities in fragile regions and focused on creating and maintaining long-term prospects for the populations of partner countries. The Annual Report presents, in concrete examples, a selection of projects and programmes implemented by the SDC, SECO and partners, and the results achieved during the year 2016. It is complemented by a booklet providing detailed statistical information on Switzerland's international cooperation efforts.

"Swiss international cooperation achieved many good results in 2016," said the director of SECO, Marie-Gabrielle Ineichen-Fleisch and the director general of the SDC, Manuel Sager. For example, Switzerland increased its emergency aid to the Syrian population to help deal with the humanitarian disaster taking place in the country. It also created many jobs, especially for young people and women, through vocational training and entrepreneurship support programmes. It contributed to the establishment of sustainable economic growth in its partner countries through administrative and financial reform projects. It also sought to strategically strengthen the link between international cooperation and migration policy.

The year 2016 was marked by the decision by Parliament to save CHF 175 million in international cooperation, in order to adhere to the debt brake. This decision led to reductions in several SDC and SECO programmes, for example in the field of water management and in contributions to partner organisations.

Strategic priorities for the period 2017–2020

Parliament also adopted the new dispatch on international cooperation, which sets out the strategic priorities for the period 2017–20. It will be implemented by the SDC, SECO and for the first time by the FDFA’s Human Security Division (HSD). For the next four years, Switzerland is committed to “a vision of a world without poverty and in peace, for sustainable development”. Ms Ineichen-Fleisch and Mr Sager underlined that by “focusing on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the dispatch aims to reduce global poverty and risks and promote peace and human rights. It is above all an expression of the solidarity of the Swiss people with those in the world who are living in poverty and distress”.