International cooperation: FDFA and EAER launch consultation on goals and priorities of 2025–28 strategy
Bern, 20.06.2023 - Interested parties have three months to submit comments on the draft version of Switzerland's next international cooperation strategy. Public consultation is a key stage before the Federal Council will decide on adopting the new strategy in spring 2024. CHF 11.45 billion has been earmarked for the 2025–28 period. Swiss international cooperation contributes to freedom, security and prosperity in Switzerland and around the world and demonstrates solidarity in the face of global challenges.
The Federal Council reviews the goals and priorities of Swiss international cooperation (IC) every four years. Interested parties can now submit comments on the draft IC Strategy 2025–28 until 20 September 2023. The IC strategy is implemented by the SDC, the FDFA's Peace and Human Rights Division (PHRD) and SECO, which falls under the Federal Department of Economic Affairs, Education and Research (EAER). The Federal Council is expected to adopt the new strategy in spring 2024. The idea to have a public consultation on the draft IC strategy was initiated four years ago by two federal councillors, Ignazio Cassis and Guy Parmelin, with a view to facilitating a broad-based debate on the objectives of Switzerland's IC efforts.
The draft IC Strategy 2025–28 sets out the following goals:
- saving lives and ensuring access to basic services,
- contributing to sustainable economic growth,
- protecting the environment and combating climate change,
- promoting peace and human rights, and strengthening democracy and the rule of law.
These are a continuation of the current strategic priorities (2021–24 period) and ensure the continuity and coherence of Switzerland's engagement as implemented by the SDC, PHRD and SECO. To this end, Swiss efforts in this field will continue to be guided by the following three criteria:
- the needs of the affected population,
- specific added value from Switzerland's involvement,
- long-term Swiss interests.
CHF 11.45 billion has been earmarked for the IC Strategy 2025–28. Of this, CHF 1.5 billion is to be allocated for support to Ukraine, and CHF 1.6 billion to combat climate change.
Switzerland's IC strategies pursue long-term goals but can also respond quickly to emerging needs. The health, economic and social consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic and Russia's war against Ukraine have necessitated adjustments to IC programmes and projects. Major challenges remain: The number of people living in extreme poverty, which has risen for the first time in 30 years, is one example. Furthermore, the number of people in need of humanitarian aid is significantly higher today (400 million) than in 2019. About a third of the population of Ukraine has been displaced because of the war.
The new IC strategy responds to these ongoing developments. It now has a separate section on IC measures in Ukraine, for example. The Federal Council plans to allocate CHF 1.5 billion to Ukraine and the neighbouring region as part of the 2025–28 strategy period. Humanitarian and development cooperation activities will continue as before, for which 5-10% of the total IC budget (around CHF 850 million) has been earmarked. Recovery efforts in Ukraine include rebuilding and upgrading socio-economic infrastructure to ensure the sustainable reconstruction of the country. To this end, the Federal Council has also reserved a contingency fund for the next strategy period (around CHF 650 million).
The public consultation on the draft IC Strategy 2025–28 will run from 20 June to 20 September 2023. This will give the cantons, political parties, communes, cities and mountain regions, umbrella business associations and other stakeholders the opportunity to express their views on the future direction of Swiss international cooperation. The draft strategy can be found following the link below. It will be finalised and submitted to the Federal Council after this consultation stage, and will then be forwarded to Parliament for deliberation and entry into force on 1 January 2025.
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