Multilateral cooperation

Federal Council Ignazio Cassis and Michael Moller, Director of the UN in Geneva, are shaking hands in front of an UN flag.
Switzerland is developing numerous projects in partnership with international organisations and institutions. © UN

Global challenges such as climate change, public health crises and food scarcity hinder sustainable development. To deal with these problems, joint solutions and coordinated action by the international community are needed. That is why Switzerland is committed to a strong multilateral system and works in particular with UN organisations and international financial institutions.

Switzerland actively shapes the multilateral system in line with its interests and advocates for its concerns vis-à-vis other countries. It drives ideas for reforms to increase efficiency and effectiveness, and advances coordinated cooperation between the various institutions. Switzerland's aim is to improve how low- and middle-income countries can respond to global challenges. Within the multilateral system, it is seen as a neutral and innovative actor with a high degree of credibility thanks to its democratic and humanitarian tradition.

Some 40% of the commitments under the existing technical cooperation framework credit for low- and middle-income countries are channelled to multilateral organisations in the form of general financial assistance (known as core contributions). Bilateral cooperation accounts for around 60%. Around one fifth of these bilateral funds are used for projects that are directly implemented by multilateral organisations in low- and middle-income countries.

Thanks to their many years of experience and considerable resources, multilateral organisations play a key role in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the 2030 Agenda.


Switzerland’s multilateral engagement also enables it to defend its values and interests by helping to set international standards and agendas. Furthermore, Switzerland’s multilateral cooperation and bilateral cooperation mutually benefit from each other’s experience.

Multilateral organisations

Development banks, UN development organisations and global funds and networks are important pillars of development cooperation, contributing both knowledge and funding. Switzerland’s portfolio of priority partner organisations reflects new global challenges as well as the country’s development priorities.


In its work with multilateral organisations, Switzerland provides expertise, technical support and funding, backed up by continuous policy dialogue to enhance their efficiency and effectiveness.

2030 Agenda: the international community’s global development goals

On 25 September 2015, the 193 countries of the UN General Assembly adopted a new development agenda entitled ‘Transforming our world: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development’. The agenda defines 17 new universal Sustainable Development Goals.

Sustainable Development Goals

SDC division dedicated to multilateral cooperation

Information on the SDC’s engagement with priority multilateral organisations, specific themes, publications and links.