Aid increase rejected in parliament
The House of Representatives has turned down a proposal to gradually boost development aid from 0.37 per cent to 0.7 per cent of gross domestic product.
Three years ago the government said it had no plans to meet the United Nations target of a spending increase by 2015 in line with global efforts to reduce poverty and improve health under the Millennium Development Goals.
The house on Tuesday approved SFr5.3 billion ($5.1 billion) for the aid agencies of the foreign and economic ministries over the next four years.
The decision, which has to be confirmed by the Senate, comes despite calls by centre-left political parties and a coalition of aid organisations, churches and trade unions for a higher financial commitment by the Swiss authorities.
The foreign ministry said it would reduce its aid activities to 14 countries by 2010.
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