Swiss Cooperation Programme for the Near East 2021–24

Lively debate between members of a community about future projects for their village as part of an SDC engagement in Gaza.
Lively debate between members of a community about future projects for their village as part of an SDC engagement in Gaza. Photo and © CFTA - Culture and Free Thought Association

The Swiss Cooperation Programme for the Near East 2021–24 aims to contribute to peace efforts, the protection of human rights and economic opportunities in the Near East. It is guided by Switzerland’s Foreign Policy Strategy 2020–23, the International Cooperation Strategy 2021–24 (IC Strategy 2021–24) and the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) Strategy 2021–24. Switzerland‘s engagement in the region is grounded in the three criteria set out in the IC Strategy 2021–24: the needs of the local population, Swiss interests, and Switzerland’s added value. Other thematic strategies of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs on Gender Equality and Women’s Rights as well as on Human Rights are important references.

In order to achieve its objectives, Switzerland will explore new fields of cooperation by venturing into new themes (innovation, job opportunities), establishing new partnerships (research, private sector where possible) and by bringing in Swiss expertise, while continuing its engagement for a just and sustainable solution to the conflict.

Portfolios and outcomes for 2021–24

The new cooperation programme aims at enhancing prospects for Palestinians to live in dignity, prosperity and peace with Israel engaging in four thematic domains/portfolios. While the vulnerable population in the oPt is the primary beneficiary under the programme, Switzerland engages with all actors concerned in the oPt and Israel, including at regional and global level.

Portfolio 1 - Conflict prevention and peace promotion

Switzerland supports the feasibility of a two-state solution and promotes the conditions that allow for Palestinian reconciliation and national unity. The Swiss peacebuilding programme covers Israel, West Bank including East Jerusalem and Gaza.

Portfolio 2 - Rule of law, protection and gender equality

Switzerland promotes respect for human rights and international humanitarian law by all parties. It also supports the rights of Palestinians to enjoy access to land, water and natural resources. Switzerland promotes gender equality.

Portfolio 3 - Inclusive economic development, youth employment and innovation

To strengthen social cohesion and stability, Switzerland contributes to create jobs and to improve conditions for inclusive business opportunities, with particular focus on youth and women.

Portfolio 4 - Local governance and essential service delivery

Switzerland seeks to strengthen social inclusion at local level and to improve the provision of high-quality essential services to everyone. A close link between development and humanitarian aid is ensured.