Can Switzerland's international cooperation be compared to the work of the Gulf Cooperation Council?
Some topics are similar: for example education, health, and work and income are focal topics for the SDC as well as for most of the Arab donors. The same is true for water, food security and measures to combat climate change.
However, there are differences in approach: the most important GCC donors to development cooperation invest in infrastructure, which the SDC hardly does any more. They are also very active in sustainable types of energy and often issue low-interest loans, while the SDC provides grants exclusively. Switzerland's strength lies in what is known as the soft components of a programme – the development of local knowledge, good governance and gender equality and the sustainability of investments. Switzerland can thus add value to joint programmes, and this is in strong demand.
These different approaches create great potential for complementary action: sensible cooperation as part of a programme can mean, for example, that the GCC donors finance the infrastructure and the SDC contributes the aforementioned Swiss strengths