Framework credits 2013–2016
Questions concerning the Message 2013-20161. Why just one message to parliament and not four as in the past ?
Switzerland’s main actors in the field of cooperation, the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation and the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO), have decided to present their instruments of international cooperation in a single dispatch to parliament. This manner of proceeding makes possible a more efficient commitment as well as improved coordination of resources. It also satisfies the request of the Federal Council to ensure that the period covered by the four Framework Credits for development cooperation – humanitarian aid, cooperation with the South, economic cooperation and Cooperation with Eastern Europe – coincides with the 2012-2015 legislative programme.
2. What is new in the dispatch to parliament for the 2013-2016 period?
The dispatch to parliament for 2013-2016 covers all four Framework Credits in the area of development coop-eration: humanitarian aid, development cooperation with the South, economic cooperation and cooperation with Eastern Europe. This should make it possible to improve the coordination of resources and programmes and to ensure greater effectiveness in these areas.
Equally new is the fact that Switzerland intends to strengthen its commitment at two levels:
1° Fragile contexts.States regarded as fragile are those unable to provide their populations with the services indispensible for development, security and/or respect for human rights for example. Switzerland intends to strengthen its commitment in these areas since it is precisely here that development progress is the weakest and populations are in the greatest need.
2° Global challenges. Climate change, lack of food security, water scarcity, lack of access to health services, migration, as well as economic and financial instability have a negative impact on the development opportuni-ties in poor countries. Switzerland is preparing innovative solutions in these areas which take the form of six global programmes. Confederation is able to influence specific areas of international policy.
Switzerland also intends to considerably strengthen its efforts to improve the coherency of development policy and the effectiveness of cooperation in general.
Video: The importance of climate change on cooperation and development
3. Is there a conditionality between development cooperation and migration policy?
The Federal Council is generally in favor of a connection between Switzerland's development cooperation activities and its migration policy interests, in so far as this is appropriate and possible. An analysis is carried out about whether development and economic policy interests should be connected to progress in cooperation relating to migration. The main focus here is on repatriation and on the fight against irregular migration.
Connections of this kind are made for example in migration partnerships. As part of a holistic approach, the causes of migration are taken into account and positive incentives for the partner country are created. Parallel to this, migration control, for example in the form of repatriation, is carried out. Improved repatriation is a priority for Switzerland, both in operational cooperation and in the form of bilateral repatriation agreements. These factors are combined with other components such as economic cooperation, assistance for returning migrants, the creation of structures and capacities for migration management and support in the fight against human trafficking and the protection of exposed population groups and transit migrants (“protection in the region“).
Combating the causes of migration
There are situations in which a reduction or even the cancellation of development aid makes sense as an ultima ratio and should be applied if this is legally possible. The Federal Council can take such a measure within the framework of its existing competences. By contrast, a general, strict and negative conditionality, i.e. the demand that development aid should always and in all places depend on the willingness of the country concerned to cooperate in migration policy, is rejected. Connections of this nature are generally counter-productive and not in the interests of Switzerland. The cancellation of support means that it is impossible to combat the causes of migration, for example poverty.
The withdrawal of support is not suitable as a means of exerting pressure because, as a rule, Switzerland is not significant enough as a donor country. Withdrawal of support moreover does not affect the uncooperative governments as much as the impoverished populations, and this in turn further intensifies migratory pressure. Finally, there is a danger that the use of negative conditionality as a means of exerting pressure will seriously reduce the willingness of countries of origin to cooperate, with the result that negotiations about repatriation agreements or the implementation of deportations will be completely blocked in practice.
4. How much will the Confederation’s development aid increase in the period 2013-2016?
According to the Message 2013-2016, the framework credit dedicated to official development assistance (SDC + SECO) amounts CHF 11.35 billions. Between 2012 and 2016, the spending on development assistance (SDC + SECO) will increase by 9.2% per year to reach CHF 2.671 billion in 2016.
The Message 2013-2016 is based on a decision taken by the Parliament on 28 February 2011 to increase official development assistance (ODA) to 0.5% of gross national product (GNP) by 2015 (2011: 0.46%). The budget set for the period 2013-2016 is therefore derived from the mandate given by Parliament. Let’s remind that one of the Millennium development goals defined by the international community is the increase of the official development assistance by 2015 to 0.7% of GNP.
5.Why invest in fragile states? Is it not true that the chances of success for development projects are very poor?
It is precisely because development progress has been the weakest in these so-called “fragile states”, whose populations are in the greatest need, that Switzerland would like to strengthen its commitment. One third of the world’s poorest people and half of the children who die before the age of five live in these fragile countries. According to the OECD, there are 48 nations in which it will not be possible to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) due to situations of conflict or the precarious nature of the rule of law.
As a neutral country with no colonial past, Switzerland has many advantages that enable it to operate effectively in these regions. Close collaboration with the multilateral organisations is of particular importance in such difficult contexts.
Video: Le quotidien d’un coordinateur de la DDC dans le Sud-Soudan
6. The sums invested seem to be considerable. Are such large amounts really necessary?
In 2010 Swiss public development aid (ODA) amounted to 0.41% of Gross National Income (GNI). In 2011 par-liament approved an increase to 0.5% of GNI to bring Switzerland up to the average for OCED countries.
Swiss development cooperation is based on the principle of solidarity, as well as defending Switzerland’s own interests. The challenges facing the world today can only be met through close cooperation among nations. A world in which there is less poverty, less inequality and less conflict will also be a better world for Switzerland’s own economy and security.
7. How is the proposed budget to be allocated?
8. What are the strategic objectives in the Message?
Switzerland’s commitments are based on the following five objectives:
1. To prevent and manage crises, conflicts and disasters
2. To promote universal access to resources and services
3. To promote sustainable economic growth
4. To support the transition to democratic systems based on a market economy
5. To contribute to a globalisation process that promotes development, safeguards the environment and respects civil society
9. Switzerland has been investing in development cooperation for more than 50 years and yet poverty remains. What is the point of continuing?
In spite of the growth of the world’s population, it has been possible to reduce the number of persons living in extreme poverty (less than USD 1.25 a day) by 600 million, falling from 42% in 1990 to 21% in 2008.
Infant mortality in the developing countries fell by more than a quarter between 1990 and 2007. In Africa the proportion of children attending primary school increased from 58% in 1999 to 74% in 2009.
While this progress has been achieved mainly thanks to the efforts of the poor countries themselves, coopera-tion has also played a significant role. Moreover efforts in other areas such as the climate, as well as financial and fiscal policy have had a decisive impact on development. Video: Making development work better (OCDE)
10. What are the 13 multilateral organisations which receive support from Switzerland?
1. International Development Association (IDA)
2. Asian Development Fund (AsDF)
3. African Development Fund (AfDF)
4. Fund for Special Operations (FSO) of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB)
5. United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)
6. United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF))
7. United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA)
8. United Nations Programme on HIV (UNAIDS)
9. United Nations Women (UN Women)
10. World Health Organization (WHO)
11. International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD)
12. Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR)
13. Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (GFATM)
Although the main focus is on these 13 multilateral organisations, cooperation is also possible, on an ad hoc basis, with other important multilateral actors such as the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).
11. Why help to finance multilateral institutions? Isn’t direct aid through bilateral projects much more effective?
Switzerland sees its own instruments (i.e. bilateral projects) as being complementary to the support it gives to the multilateral organisations (international financial institutions, United Nations agencies, global funds and networks).
As global challenges grow in importance, the efforts of the multilateral institutions become increasingly neces-sary as a supplement to bilateral cooperation. These organisations have the necessary critical size together with know-how that is recognised worldwide and indisputable advantages when it comes to coordinating and implementing measures at the international level. Switzerland is today represented at the main multilateral development banks and organisations and participates actively in the decision making processes and formulation of global standards.
For example Switzerland supports the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria to the tune of CHF 8 million per annum. Thanks to this Fund some 2.5 million people had access to antiretroviral drugs in 2009. Furthermore 105 million people received advice and were tested for HIV while 4.5 million orphans benefited from medical and psychosocial support.
12. Why be active in so many countries? How are they chosen?
Switzerland’s efforts are focused in 10 countries or regions that are relatively stable: Benin, Burkina Faso, Mali, Mozambique, Tanzania, Bangladesh, Mongolia, Bolivia, Cuba and Central America. The choice is based on a number of criteria including the urgency of the need, the development potential and the added value that Switzerland can offer. As Europe’s “water tower” Switzerland can for example make a significant contribution in countries affected by problems of water and sanitation. The same can be said of climate and food security, areas in which Swiss research institutes play a leading role. Switzerland is also strengthening its commitment in the so-called "fragile” countries and regions. It is indeed here that development progress has so far been weakest and where the populations are in the greatest need. And finally, since global challenges do not end at national boundaries, Switzerland is also able to intervene in support of specific innovations designed to manage these challenges better.
13. Given the corruption that reigns in developing countries, how can anyone be sure that Switzerland’s contribution is really helping the poor?
Switzerland is aware of the risks associated with corruption. Together with its partners, Switzerland is committed to reforms at the level of governance, the aim being greater transparency and effectiveness in the state apparatus, with less corruption an indirect but lasting result.
In the regions to which priority is given the Confederation works with state and non-state actors that act as external oversight mechanisms. Switzerland supports programmes designed to combat corruption at the multilateral level, and actively addresses this problem in its own programmes and the activities of its institutions.
In 1998 the SDC adopted a number of directives to combat corruption.
14.What is meant by global programmes and what are they?
Global programmes focus on innovative solutions to the major challenges facing the planet such as climate change, food insecurity, water shortage, lack of access to health services, migration, and economic instability. The approach is three-pronged: focused efforts in the field, multilateral political dialogue and suitable knowledge management. The programmes are not linked geographically, and are developed in regions where they will have the greatest impact.
The Message to parliament for 2013-2016 covers six global programmes:
1. Climate change
3. Food security
6. Finance and trade
15. Doesn’t Switzerland have its own needy people? Why not help them first?
The well-being of the Swiss population is the government’s first concern. In 2009, 35% of federal spending was on social security and training at home in Switzerland.
Moreover, in an increasingly globalised world, it would be wrong to think that the challenges facing Switzerland stop at the borders. Global problems such as climate change, migrations and armed conflicts have as much impact in Switzerland as anywhere else in the world. Clearly then, finding solutions to these global problems is in the interest of the Swiss themselves.
16. What advantages does development cooperation bring to Switzerland and its economy?
The Swiss economy is very much geared to the outside world. A world in which there is less poverty, less inequality and less conflict is a better world, including for the security of Switzerland and its economy. Switzerland’s priority interests tend towards a world in which there are sufficient public goods like water, health and food security for all. Success at the level of international cooperation contributes to Switzerland’s internal security as well as to the international political order. It also leads to sustainable economic growth, helps to bring order to international migrations and promotes cultural exchanges. Finally, Switzerland’s image in the world benefits from its international commitments, thus facilitating political and economic exchanges.
17. Can a small country like Switzerland really solve such global problems as poverty, climate change and food security?
By itself, certainly not. There are however areas in which the Confederation is a leader and thus able to provide real added value. As Europe’s “water tower” Switzerland can offer worthwhile know-how in areas that have little or no access to water and sanitation. The same can be said with regard to energy efficiency and peacebuilding, two areas in which Swiss research institutes are world leaders. In its effort to help solve global problems Switzerland works with local governments and actors in the field. Switzerland also collaborates with 13 multilateral organisations including the United Nations Development Programme and the World Bank. Thanks to its participation in their decision making bodies Switzerland can have a significant influence on major projects that have widespread impact.
Additional Information and Documents
- Questions and answers regarding development policy
Download (PDF, 345 KB) : [de] [en] [fr] [it] [es]
- "Millionen für Tunesien nur bei Asyl-Kooperation?": Interview mit dem Deza-Chef Martin Dahinden
Der Deza-Chef über den Plan des Bundesrates, Entwicklungshilfe und Migration zu verknüpfen.
Download (PDF, 103 KB) : [de]