New Strategy for Communication Abroad with a view to safeguarding Switzerland's interests and new FDFA sponsorship guidelines

Bern, 18.12.2020 - At its meeting on 18 December 2020, the Federal Council approved Switzerland's Strategy for Communication Abroad 2021–24, which sets priorities for the coming years. The strategy aims to promote Switzerland's image abroad and help safeguard its interests. Given the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, appropriate communication and networking platforms will raise the profile of Swiss economy. New FDFA guidelines on cooperation with sponsors will apply from 2021.

Promoting a positive and nuanced image of Switzerland is an important means of maintaining its global competitiveness. Communication abroad can actively shape public perceptions of our country abroad. Targeted communication initiatives can explain Switzerland's position, strengths and actions as well as promoting its interests. In this way, communication abroad contributes to an effective foreign policy.

Over the next few years, communication abroad will be guided by five thematic priorities, building on the main pillars of Switzerland's Foreign Policy Strategy 2020–23: innovation, the economy, Swiss-European relations, the Swiss financial centre and sustainability. Communication campaigns will be carried out to bolster the perception of Switzerland as an innovative and competitive nation with a sense of solidarity and responsibility as well as a country with a high standard of living. Cooperating closely with various public and private sector stakeholders will be crucial to these initiatives.

Given the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, public-private partnerships will be particularly important. Since Switzerland is an export-oriented, globally integrated economy, these partnerships will provide the means to raise Switzerland's profile in key markets.

In 2021, for example, a House of Switzerland will be in Stuttgart, the capital of Baden-Württemberg, one of the main neighbouring regions with which Switzerland does business. The House of Switzerland will rent an already existing city centre location which will serve as a communication and networking platform. The platform will be run in cooperation with partners from business, the scientific community, politics and culture, with the aim of showcasing Switzerland as a reliable, innovative and sustainable partner to further consolidate its strong relationship with Baden-Württemberg.  Although the platform is intended for the general public, it will also cater to the B2B sector. A hybrid physical and digital communication platform has been created to respond to the repercussions of the COVID-19 pandemic.

With the new established FDFA guidelines, cooperation with sponsors is standardised. The new guidelines will apply to head office in Berne, throughout the whole external network and to Switzerland's participation in major international events.

Key features of the new guidelines:

  • Transparency: the FDFA must name all sponsors and disclose information on sponsors to the general public.
  • Image transfer: the FDFA focuses on the image transfer between Switzerland's official image and the Swiss companies involved.
  • Due diligence: the FDFA takes decisions regarding potential sponsorships on a case-by-case basis. Due diligence is carried out on the basis of various criteria, including corporate responsibility and sustainability, and is aligned to international guidelines such as the OECD Due Diligence Guidance. A sponsorship will not be entered into if a risk-benefit analysis indicates that the desired image transfer cannot be achieved, or is at risk. Detailed requirements and procedures are set out clearly in the new guidelines.

Address for enquiries

For further information:
Ambassador Nicolas Bideau
Head of Presence Switzerland
Tel.: +41 79 667 69 15


The Federal Council

Federal Department of Foreign Affairs