The SDC presents its priorities
From 2013 to 2016, the management of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) plans to increase its activity in fragile contexts, to tackle global risks, to strengthen its cooperation with private industry and to step up monitoring of the effectiveness of development cooperation. These four priorities are set out in the dispatch on international cooperation approved by the Swiss Parliament in September 2012. The four priorities were illustrated at the SDC's annual press conference which was held on Thursday 4 April in Bern. Haiti was quoted as a case in point.
About 1.5 billion people are living in countries or in regions with inadequate state structures and with governments that do not operate effectively or do not enjoy adequate legitimacy. These problems seriously affect efforts to reduce poverty. “Finding solutions to the problems of poverty in fragile states such as Afghanistan and Mali at the moment, or the Horn of Africa, requires close collaboration between diplomacy, development aid and humanitarian aid", Martin Dahinden, director of the SDC, pointed out in his speech.
In weak and fragile states, Switzerland supports development-oriented state measures and the efforts of civil society organisations to combat poverty. Maya Tissafi, deputy director of the SDC, referred in her speech to Switzerland's work in Haiti. Having dealt with the humanitarian emergency, she said that the task now was "to lay the foundations for social and economic development so that young Haitians can find a way out of poverty in their own country." Switzerland supports Haiti at the local and national level to enable the country's citizens to live in peace, security and dignity.
Global challenges and Switzerland's contribution
Poverty, climate change, dwindling resources, water shortages and environmental changes are global challenges that have a massive impact on the development prospects of poor countries. But they also affect our own future and call for responses at the national and global level. With targeted programmes Switzerland contributes to the reduction of global risks. In the area of food security, which is a top SDC priority, Switzerland supports efforts to strengthen landowning rights. Therefore Switzerland participates in the formulation of the voluntary guidelines on land governance in the UN Food Security Committee.
From 2013 to 2016, Swiss aid cooperation will also look to increase cooperation with private companies. Martin Dahinden said: "By combining the skills of the private sector and those of the SDC, we can find effective joint solutions to development problems and to the reduction of global risks." The effectiveness of international cooperation is the fourth SDC priority. In 2014 a report will be presented on the effectiveness of Swiss development cooperation in the field of climate change. This follows the publication of reports on water in 2008 and on food security in 2010.
International development agenda
At the international level, following the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20), Switzerland advocates common goals for sustainable development and is playing an active part in the negotiation of these goals. Since 2000 the Millennium Development Goals have focused on combating poverty in the poorest countries in the world, in which 1 billion people are living below subsistence level. The task in the next three years will be to fix global sustainability goals that will equally affect affluent and poor countries. The aim is to ensure that the 9 billion people soon to be living on this planet can attain a decent standard of living within the limits imposed by global constraints.