In keeping with its mandate, the SDC coordinates the orientation and the activities of Switzerland's international cooperation and in doing so sees itself as representing Switzerland in global development and transformation processes and in humanitarian work during conflicts and catastrophes. SDC humanitarian aid is quick and flexible and its longer-term cooperation is geared to a lasting effectiveness.
International cooperation is one of Switzerland's foreign policy instruments. The SDC is a specialized center which coordinates this cooperation administratively and tackles its tasks together with other federal offices, external institutions and organizations as well as with the private sector. It contributes actively to solving international problems which affect Switzerland and works to ensure that every aspect of Swiss foreign relations promotes development.
There are four key processes which form the foundation from which the SDC carries out its main tasks:<>
- Help for Self-Help
- Know-how as the most important investment
- International dialogue and
The SDC also strives to achieve sustainability. It promotes the desire of people to live in peace, freedom, security, justice and prosperity always keeping in mind the interests of future generations. At the forefront of its activities is the improvement in the living standards and the quality of life of destitute people in the countries of the South and East.
In dealing with ever quicker changes around the world, the SDC takes a forward-looking approach and focuses on global challenges:
- Population growth is causing a worsening of such problems as poverty, access to and use of resources, conflicts and involuntary migration.
- Women make up the majority of destitute and marginalized people. Power lies in the hands of men.
- Learning, communication, the new information technologies, in short, access to information and know-how are key factors in development.
- There is a redistribution of roles between the state, society and the private sector which requires mutual responsibility.
- The major strides made in the globalization of political and economic systems calls for international rules of play.
SDC programs supportand encourage self-initiative in partner countries, particularly in reducing poverty, in removing the structural causes of conflict and in relieving hardship. The SDC works in a spirit of partnership and in so doing demonstrates reliability, continuity and flexibility. It is established locally in partner countries and in the minds of the Swiss public and decision-makers.
The SDC works to achieve maximum effectiveness and builds on its present and future strengths. It is also in a good position to promote cross-sectoral cooperation in Swiss politics and to work internationally for solutions that are forward-looking and environmentally and socially acceptable. The motivation and professionalism of its staff as well as its institutional know-how brings considerable added value.