Swiss official development assistance in 2016

Bern, 03.04.2017 - The Swiss Confederation spent 0.39% of its gross national income (GNI) on international cooperation and international aid in 2016, compared with 0.41% in 2015. The reduction is the result of the savings measures adopted by the Swiss parliament. Switzerland's official development assistance (ODA) nonetheless increased from 0.51% of GNI in 2015 to 0.54% in 2016 when the costs associated with a significant number of new asylum-seekers in 2015 are taken into account.

Including asylum costs counted under official development assistance (ODA), Switzerland spent CHF 3.51 billion on official development assistance in 2016. This figure is CHF 114 million higher than the previous year, and takes the share of GNI accounted for by ODA to 0.54%, compared to0.51% in 2015.

This increase is attributable to the costs associated with asylum-seekers, which increased by CHF 202 million in 2016 – 42% higher than in 2015, even though the number of new requests for asylum fell compared with the previous year. In the period under review, this increase is accounted for by the asylum costs calculated in the twelve months following applications for asylum made in Switzerland. There was a significant number of arrivals in the second half 2015 (in particular from crisis-ridden areas such as Syria or Iraq, as well as Eritrea and Afghanistan).

Meanwhile, spending on international cooperation and humanitarian aid fell by CHF 143 million, or 5.3% compared with 2015 as a result of the cost-saving measures determined by the federal government. Furthermore, the share of GNI devoted to development and humanitarian aid is 0.39% in 2016, which is lower than in 2015.

The way in which ODA is calculated is based on the directives of the OECD Development Assistance Committee (DAC). This allows for a statistical comparison of the commitment of the 29 member States of the DAC at the international level, in terms of the proportion of GNI each devotes to ODA.

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