Swiss official development assistance

Switzerland’s official development assistance (ODA) comprises contributions from the federal government, cantons and communes that are meant to facilitate the economic and social development of recipient countries. ODA is recorded in accordance with the international directives of the OECD's Development Assistance Committee (DAC).

Switzerland's ODA 2018

In 2018, Switzerland spent CHF 3.022 billion on ODA, which is CHF 68 million less than in the previous year. ODA expenditure fell to 0.44% of the country's gross national income (GNI) last year, its lowest level since 2013, following several years of gradually increasing contributions towards the 0.5% ODA/GNI target set by the Swiss Parliament. This decrease is mainly attributable to the drop in asylum costs recorded in Switzerland's ODA, but also to the Confederation's cost-cutting measures that were approved by the Swiss Parliament.

Development of Swiss ODA 2004 – 2018 (in CHF million)


Switzerland's international cooperation is implemented mainly by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) and the Economic Cooperation and Development Division of the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO), the two bodies which are charged with executing the Federal Act on International Development Cooperation and Humanitarian Aid and the Federal Act on Cooperation with Eastern European Countries. Spending by the SDC and SECO accounted for 79% of ODA expenditure in 2018.

In accordance with DAC reporting rules, Switzerland also declares as ODA the costs of receiving asylum seekers, temporarily admitted persons and refugees from developing countries during their first 12 months in Switzerland. These costs include the flat rate contributions paid by the State Secretariat for Migration (SEM) to the cantons (CHF 125 million), the occupation programmes and the costs of the Swiss Confederation's registration centres (CHF 124 million), legal representation fees (CHF 8 million), translators (CHF 11 million) and the costs borne by the cantons for the education of the children of asylum seekers (CHF 8 million). This group of costs declined by 15% relative to 2017 and accounted for 9% of total ODA in 2018 versus 11% in 2017. This decrease is mainly attributable to a lower number of asylum applications in 2018, but also to changes made to the DAC directives.

Other federal bodies are also involved in Switzerland's international cooperation, including the Human Security Division (HSD), which is responsible for the promotion of peace and human rights, and the Federal Office for the Environment (FOEN).

The part of Switzerland’s ODA expenditure provided by the cantons and communes remained flat at 2%.