International cooperation strategy 2021–24: greater focus and impact

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

Swiss development cooperation will become more focused, making it more effective. This is reflected in Switzerland's new international cooperation strategy for 2021–24, as adopted by the Federal Council on 19 February 2020. It calls upon Parliament to approve CHF 11.25 billion for the strategy’s implementation.

Press conference 19.02.2020

  • Federal Councillor Ignazio Cassis
  • Marie-Gabrielle Ineichen-Fleisch, State Secretary, Director of the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs
  • Thomas Gass, Assistant Director General of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC)

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.