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UNDP/UNICEF Swiss cut financial contributions to UN agencies

Two children in a refugee camp in Syria

Children often pay the heaviest price in an armed conflict. In Syria, they have become victims of a major humanitarian crisis.

(Keystone)

The Swiss government has decided to reduce by CHF30 million ($30.2 million) its financial contribution to United Nations agencies over the next three years.

The cutbacks for multilateral organisations are the result of a savings decided by the government, according to a foreign ministry spokesman.

In total, Switzerland has pledged CHF312 million to four UN agencies, according to a statement.

While the payments to the UN Population Fund (UNFPA) and the agency for gender equality and empower of women (UN Women) were left unchanged at CHF48 million each, the UN Development Programme (UNDPexternal link) and the UN children’s fund (Unicefexternal link) have to cope with cuts of around CHF24 million and CHF6 million respectively.

The payments are “in line with Switzerland’s humanitarian tradition and its values of shared responsibility, equal opportunities and sustainable development”, the government said on Wednesday.

“These agencies help to promote Switzerland’s interests through reducing inequality, poverty, conflicts and other challenges that have repercussions well beyond developing countries,” it added.

It described the four agencies as “key actors in achieving the sustainable development goals of the 2030 agenda.” Switzerland’s contribution is limited to CHF156.4 million for the UNDP and CHF59.6 million for Unicef.

In May, Foreign Affairs Minister Ignazio Cassis criticised the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees (UNWRA), causing a public outcryexternal link. But he stopped short of suggesting a significant reduction in payments.

swissinfo.ch with SDA-ATS; urs

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