IC: Jobs, climate, migration and the rule of law

Two children with a water jug walk through a dried out riverbed.
Addressing climate change is a high priority for international cooperation in the 2021–24 period. © A. Ishokon

The international cooperation strategy is a foreign policy framework for Switzerland, based on the Federal Constitution, to alleviate need and poverty worldwide, improve respect for human rights, promote democracy and protect the environment. The Federal Council defined the thematic and geographical priorities for the next four years in February. In the 2020 summer session, the National Council is to discuss the subject.

Four thematic priorities

Based on the Federal Constitution and legislation, every four years the Federal Council and Parliament define the strategic approach of Switzerland's international cooperation. Alleviating need and poverty in the world and sustainable development are at the heart of the international cooperation mandate. The following thematic priorities have been set for 2021–24:  

  • creating decent local jobs 

  • addressing climate change  

  • reducing the causes of forced and irregular migration 

  • promoting the rule of law 

 
The Federal Council seeks to increase the impact of international cooperation through these four priorities, a focus on specific regions, innovation, and the use of digital technologies. This new approach will also give Switzerland greater flexibility in responding to crises and opportunities. 

Key figures

Under the current financial plan, a total of CHF 11.25 billion has been earmarked for the 2021–24 period (compared to CHF 11.11 billion for 2017–20). As a consequence of a correction to inflation, this amount is less than the CHF 11.37 billion that were expected at the time of the public consultation. Switzerland can undertake commitments up to this amount during the relevant period. The relevant funding will be determined by Parliament during the annual budget debates. Based on the latest projections, with the proposed payments, Switzerland's official development assistance (ODA) would amount to 0.46% of gross national income. As a consequence of the latest GDP prognosis, the expected rate of ODA is slightly above the rate expected at the time of the public consultation (0.45%). This is below the 0.5% target which was approved by Parliament in 2011 and has since been reaffirmed on several occasions. 

Parliament will debate the 2021–24 international cooperation strategy in the summer and autumn sessions of this year.

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