The Swiss Agency for Cooperation and Development (SDC) will focus its work over the next four years on education, fragile regions, and migration, but its director has played down expectations that development aid can stem the tide of migrants coming to Europe.
Parliament adopted a dispatch on International Cooperation 2017-2020 during its autumn session last year, which the SDC is now implementing, SDC director general Manuel Sager said at a press conference in Bern on Friday.
In terms of migration, parliament had called for development aid to be more closely linked to migration policy.
There have been some expectations among some politicians that the SDC’s activities could help reduce the number of migrants.
Cited on Swiss public television RTS, Sager said that this type of aid does not solve all the problems. “International cooperation has certainly some effect but it can’t, nor will it, stop migration. Migration has always taken place, but we work on the causes of forced migration.”
He added that an engagement in fragile countries – such as the Middle East, North Africa and sub-Saharan Africa -and extra funds for education should help curb high migration.
The education strategy encompasses basic education and vocational training and the funds for this will be increased by 50% (CHF210 million -$210 million) for 2017-2020, the SDC said.