Switzerland: Joint aid cooperation package published

The cabinet has earmarked SFr11.35 billion ($12.4 billion) for international cooperation and development aid for the next four years.

At a joint presentation with the foreign ministry on Wednesday, Economics Minister Johann Schneider-Ammann said approval of combined credit package for the years 2013-2016 was aimed at increasing transparency and improving cooperation between the ministries.

Parliament is still to discuss the bill which covers humanitarian aid, development cooperation, and economic and trade policy measures, including funds for eastern European countries.

Foreign Minister Didier Burkhalter said the total amount earmarked was equivalent to SFr1 per Swiss citizen a day and was one twentieth the expenditure on healthcare.

He said strong international cooperation is crucial for a country which is closely interconnected at a global level.

Poverty reduction is to remain the main objective of public development cooperation, but Switzerland seeks to focus more on “activities in a fragile context” to contribute to the fight against climate change, lack of food and water, health care and migration as well as economic instability.

Countries in East Africa, as well as Haiti and Tunisia, were singled out as special focus regions.

Burkhalter rejected calls by the rightwing Swiss People’s Party to make development aid dependent on cooperation on asylum matters.

A year ago parliament decided on a SFr640 million increase raising the quota for public development aid to 0.5 per cent of Gross Domestic Income. It places Switzerland mid-field in an international comparison.

Urs Geiser, swissinfo.ch

Leave a Reply