Instruments of Switzerland's multilateral cooperation

Switzerland engages with multilateral organisations through continuous political dialogue and offers them expertise, technical support and funding.

Switzerland has been a member of the Bretton Woods institutions (World Bank and International Monetary Fund) for more than 25 years and a member of the United Nations (UN) since 2002. It has played an active role in the governing bodies of multilateral organisations ever since. The level of Switzerland's contributions to the international financial institutions is based on a burden sharing mechanism among the member states. Financial contributions to the UN organisations are voluntary, therefore Switzerland can use them systematically to pursue its own development priorities. Switzerland works with international organisations in four different ways:

Financial contributions

Switzerland supports the implementation of the mandate of the multilateral organisations with core contributions to its priority UN organisations and multilateral development banks. It complements these core contributions with a dialogue on the organisations' strategic approach and results and takes on an active role in the governing bodies, where key decisions are made regarding strategic plans, policies and evaluations.

Switzerland funds the implementation of specific projects of the multilateral organisations, sometimes in conjunction with other donors (multi-bi cooperation). These projects contribute to the achievement of the strategy and objectives of the Swiss bilateral cooperation.

Technical support

Switzerland supports priority themes via targeted contributions aiming to improve the way in which the international development and humanitarian system functions. It also promotes the exchange of experiences between international development actors. This support can take the form of funding or knowledge transfer.

Switzerland encourages multilateral organisations to leverage innovative solutions that result from Swiss bilateral cooperation. The multilateral organisations can replicate such approaches on a wide scale and ensure their integration into national policies and strategies. In return, the Swiss bilateral cooperation obtains access to knowledge and expertise developed by the multilateral organisations.

Policy dialogue

Membership in major multilateral organisations and participation in the inter-governmental fora allow Switzerland to influence the global development agenda, suggest innovative solutions and play a bridge building role. For example, in 2016 Switzerland mediated the negotiations of the general guidelines and binding reform objectives for the UN's operational activities in the field of development. This led to the reform of the UN Development System that was launched by the UN Secretary General António Guterres in 2018. Switzerland takes a leading role in supporting the full implementation of the reform at country level for the benefit of people in low and middle-income countries.

Access to qualified staff

Switzerland contributes substantial technical and thematic experience to its multilateral partner organisations through access to highly qualified Swiss experts and through the promotion of business partnership opportunities with the Swiss private sector.