The Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) is Switzerland’s international cooperation agency within the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA). In operating with other federal offices concerned, SDC is responsible for the overall coordination of development activities and cooperation with Eastern Europe, as well as for the humanitarian aid delivered by the Swiss Confederation.
The goal of development cooperation is that of reducing poverty. It is meant to foster economic self-reliance and state autonomy, to contribute to the improvement of production conditions, to help in finding solutions to environmental problems, and to provide better access to education and basic healthcare services.
SDC carries out its activities with an annual budget of CHF 1.87 billion (2012) and a staff of some 550 Swiss nationals in Switzerland and abroad, as well as 900 local employees. The Agency engages in direct operations, supports programmes of multilateral organizations, and helps to finance programmes run by Swiss and international relief organizations in four operational areas:
- Regional Cooperation steers SDC’s bilateral cooperation with countries in the Middle East, Africa, Asia, and Latin America. With the decision made in 2008 to reduce by the year 2012 the number of its priority countries from the previous 17 to 12, and the number of its special programmes from 7 to 6, SDC has consolidatedthe geographic focus of activities. At the end of 2009, SDC withdrew from Ecuador. The programmes being conducted in India, Bhutan, Pakistan, Peru, and North Korea were, by the end of 2011, either terminated or reoriented. The regional development banks are also considered as key partners in the domain of regional cooperation.
- Global Cooperation is primarily active in the multilateral domain, cooperating with the organizations of the UN system and with the World Bank. By fostering programmes in the domain of climate change, food security, and migration, global cooperation makes its contribution to tackling global challenges.
- Humanitarian Aid aims at saving lives and alleviating suffering. Direct relief is provided in the wake of natural disasters and in the context of armed conflicts, while humanitarian partner organizations can be the recipients of both manpower and financial support. The core domains of intervention are prevention, emergency aid and survival assistance, reconstruction, and advocacy for the causes of forgotten humanitarian crises. Swiss humanitarian aid is active in 6 regions, including the sizeable deployment following the earthquake in Haiti.
- Swiss Cooperation with Eastern Europe and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) supports democratic and market economy reforms in partner countries of Southeast Europe and the former Soviet Union. The main concerns in providing this transition assistance are the building of democratic institutions, the reform of health and social services, and the improvement of the environment. Since 2008, Switzerland has been providing a so-called Enlargement Contribution to the new EU Member States so as to help reduce the social and economic disparities within the enlarged EU
Related publications and links
- Message on the continuation of technical cooperation and financial aid - abridged version
for developing countries 2004-2007 May 2003
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- Switzerland's international cooperation: annual report 2007
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- Annual Report 2008 on Switzerland's Contribution to EU Enlargement June 2009 /
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- Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC)
- The Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO)