Flexible approaches in an unstable world: Federal Council adopts Switzerland's International Cooperation Strategy 2025–28

Bern, 22.05.2024 - At its meeting on 22 May 2024, the Federal Council adopted the Dispatch on the International Cooperation Strategy 2025–28 (IC Strategy 2025–28). The dispatch outlines the objectives and priorities of Switzerland's international cooperation for the next four years and proposes them to Parliament for approval. The IC Strategy 2025–28 provides for a budget of CHF 11.27 billion over four years. In light of an ever-changing world, the strategy pursues long-term objectives – combating poverty and promoting sustainable development – while maintaining a high degree of flexibility to respond to the many current crises.

The IC Strategy 2025–28 focuses its geographical action on the regions where it is needed most by the population. The selection of regions is based on three criteria: the needs on the ground, Switzerland's long-term interests, and the added value provided by its international cooperation efforts. As the 2021–24 strategy has been successful in responding to current crises and conflicts, its four objectives have been retained: saving lives and ensuring access to basic services; contributing to sustainable economic growth; protecting the environment and combating climate change; and promoting peace, democracy, the rule of law and respect for human rights.

Flexibility to adapt to a changing world

Through the objectives of the IC Strategy 2025–28, the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), the FDFA's Peace and Human Rights Division (PHRD) and the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) of the Federal Department of Economic Affairs, Education and Research coordinate and ensure the coherence of Switzerland's actions. Current geopolitical and financial uncertainties, combined with global challenges, mean that the IC Strategy 2025–28 needs to maintain a flexible approach. As a result, the guarantee credit for humanitarian aid has risen to a quarter of the total IC Strategy 2025–28 budget. Particular emphasis is also placed on health, migration and cooperation with the private sector.  Finally, at the multilateral level, the focus is on global challenges such as peace, security, human rights, climate and new technologies.

CHF 11.27 billion for the three pillars of international cooperation

The Federal Council is proposing that Parliament approve guarantee credits totalling CHF 11.27 billion (the 2017–20 and 2021–24 strategies had credits of CHF 11.11 billion and CHF 11.25 billion respectively). These funds will be used to finance the three pillars of international cooperation: humanitarian aid, development cooperation and the promotion of peace and human rights.

The war in Ukraine represents a major paradigm shift for Switzerland, in addition to many other crises and armed conflicts around the world. Of the total credits earmarked for the IC Strategy 2025–28, CHF 1.5 billion will be devoted to Ukraine (13% of the total international cooperation budget). The remainder of the budget (87%) is mainly allocated to the four priority regions – namely Africa, the Middle East, Asia and Eastern Europe. Under the current plan, this amount is divided between bilateral development cooperation and promotion of peace (29%), humanitarian aid (20%), multilateral affairs (21%), global thematic programmes (12%) and core contributions to Swiss NGOs (5%) in a proportion similar to the current strategy. Accordingly, Switzerland remains active both in ongoing crises and in contexts where political conditions are deteriorating dramatically.

Adoption of Accountability Report on the IC Strategy 2021–24

The IC Strategy 2025–28 is also based on a review of the current strategy, for which the Federal Council also approved the accountability report today. The report shows that Switzerland's international cooperation has shown flexibility in contributing to crisis and conflict management without losing sight of long-term measures. At the same time, it analyses the reasons why certain projects have not achieved the desired results.

According to the report, 1.3 million people were able to take part in vocational training programmes. The Swiss Humanitarian Aid Unit carried out 660 missions in 73 countries, including Haiti, Turkey and Sudan. The IC strategy helped 16 million people adapt to climate change and prevented 69 million tonnes of CO2 emissions. Lastly, Switzerland supported an average of 20 peace processes each year and led ceasefire negotiations in seven countries, including Myanmar and Nigeria. The methods used to measure the effectiveness of international cooperation will be further improved in the future to increase their relevance.


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The Federal Council
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Federal Department of Foreign Affairs
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