The Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) plans to double the number of partnerships with the private sector in the next two years, it announced at its annual conference in Bern on Tuesday.
"We currently have 30 partnerships with the private sector. We plan to double this number by 2020 and we are confident of achieving this goal,” SDC external linkDirector Manuel Sager declared at the opening of the conference.
The aim is to launch projects with companies involved in sustainable development, and to improve cooperation with non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and universities, both in Switzerland and abroad.
The SDC is the largest unit of the Swiss Foreign Affairs Ministry, with a budget of CHF1.5 billion ($1.6 billion) for humanitarian and development work around the world.
In 2016, Switzerland spent 0.39% of its gross national income (GNI) on international cooperation and international aid, compared with 0.41% in 2015. The reduction is the result of the savings measures adopted by the Swiss parliament. Switzerland's official development assistance (ODA) nonetheless increased from 0.51% of GNI in 2015 to 0.54% in 2016 due to costs linked to new asylum-seekers in 2015.
Additional goals for 2020
Switzerland’s international cooperation strategy for the 2017–2020 period, led by SDC in conjunction with the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO), uses the United Nations’ 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Developmentexternal link and its 17 goals as its frame of reference. It focuses on providing humanitarian aid, technical cooperation and financial aid for developing countries; economic and trade policy measures for development cooperation; transition aid and cooperation with Eastern Europe; and measures for the promotion of peace and human security.