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 2020

In 2020, Switzerland spent CHF 3.343 billion on ODA, CHF 263 million more than in the previous year. The rise in ODA is linked to the supplementary credit approved by Parliament in June 2020 to support international efforts to mitigate the repercussions of the COVID-19 pandemic. The ratio of ODA to gross national income – the ODA/GNI ratio – stood at 0.48% in 2020. The increased ODA/GNI ratio in 2020 compared to 2019 (0.42%) can be explained by the combination of these extra resources and the exceptional pandemic-related economic downturn in 2020. However, it continues to remain below the 0.5% target set by Parliament. 

Development of Swiss ODA 2004 – 2020 (in CHF million)


Switzerland's international cooperation is implemented mainly by the SDC and SECO’s Economic Cooperation and Development Division, 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 almost 80% of ODA expenditure in 2020.

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 to the cantons (CHF 98 million), the occupation programmes and the costs of the Swiss Confederation's registration centres (CHF 173 million), legal representation fees (CHF 22 million), interpreters/translators (CHF 7 million) and the costs borne by the cantons for the education of the children of asylum seekers (CHF 3 million). These costs amounted to 9% of Swiss ODA in 2020.

Other federal bodies are also involved in Switzerland's international cooperation, including the FDFA’s Peace and Human Rights Division and the Federal Office for the Environment.

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