Swiss international cooperation celebrates its 50th anniversary in Ticino

Bern, Press release, 27.06.2011

This year, the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) celebrates its jubilee (1961-2011). To mark the occasion, it has decided to present its many activities to the public in several cities in Switzerland in the form of street actions. Following on from appearances in Geneva and Bern, the SDC street action will move to Bellinzona from 30 June to 2 July. The authorities of Ticino have been invited for the opening of the event, at which the head of the SDC’s Division for Cooperation with Eastern Europe, Kurt Kunz, will be present.

On 17 March 1961, the Federal Council appointed the first delegate of the Service for Technical Cooperation, which led to the creation of Swiss international development cooperation. Since then, Switzerland has been actively committed to reducing poverty in the world. With the slogan “50 years SDC – more than aid”, this 50th anniversary is an appropriate opportunity for the SDC to go to the Swiss public.

In Ticino, the SDC will stage a presentation on the Piazza del Sole in the centre of Bellinzona from 30 June to 2 July. The authorities of Ticino have been invited for the opening. According to the head of the SDC’s Division for Cooperation with Eastern Europe, Kurt Kunz: “Through its development cooperation with the countries of the South and of Eastern Europe, and through its multilateral cooperation and humanitarian aid, Switzerland accepts its global responsabilities and invests in a sustainable future. The objective of eradicating poverty and injustice in the world has been a consensus objective of Swiss society for the last 50 years”. 

As part of the SDC’s street action, Swiss development cooperation professionals will explain their work to the public. It will be possible to take part in simulations of search and rescue operations conducted by Swiss Rescue experts in response to natural disasters and to become familiar with the realities that the members of the Swiss Humanitarian Aid Unit are faced with during their operations in disaster-affected areas, as well as to observe the water-purification techniques currently in operation in Pakistan.

After Bellinzona, the final SDC jubilee street action will take place at Barfüsserplatz in Basel on 14-15 October 2011. Swiss international development cooperation will organise other events throughout Switzerland during the course of the year to raise public awareness of current challenges and the results of its work.

The commitment of the SDC over these years is presented in the touring exhibition “L'autre côté du monde - Histoires de la Suisse humanitaire” [The other side of the world – Stories of humanitarian Switzerland] which provides in-depth insights into Switzerland’s humanitarian tradition. This project in oral history based on interactive documentary films is currently on show in Geneva. The exhibition will tour other cities in Switzerland until 2013. 

For general information:
FDFA Information 031 / 322 31 53

Further information on the street action in Bellinzona:
Barbara Hofmann 079 / 243 35 45

Further information:

50 years SDC – more than aid
Exhibition « L'autre côté du monde - Histoires de la Suisse humanitaire »

Address for enquiries:

Information FDFA
Bundeshaus West
CH-3003 Bern
Tel.: (+41) 031 322 31 53
Fax: (+41) 031 324 90 47


Federal Department of Foreign Affairs