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New Swiss foreign aid strategy prioritises Ukraine and climate change

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A total of CHF1.5 billion has been earmarked for support to Ukraine. Keystone / Roman Chop

Switzerland has budgeted CHF11.45 billion ($12.75 billion) for international cooperation activities for the period 2025-2028. The focus will be on Ukraine and climate change.

The total budget is slightly higher than CHF11.25 billion allocated for the period 2021-2024. Almost 59% is allocated to development cooperation, 25% to humanitarian aid, 14% to the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (Seco) and almost 2.5% to peace and human security, the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA) and the Department of Economic Affairs (DEFR) said on Tuesday at the opening of the consultation process.

In the new budget, financial commitments to humanitarian aid have been increased in view of the growing needs and the longer duration of operations in crisis regions. The strategy sticks to the same four priority regions: sub-Saharan Africa, North Africa and the Middle East, Asia and Eastern Europe.  In total there are 47 priority countries, including six in protracted crisis. Morocco is now on the list while Colombia while will be excluded before the end of 2028.

Over a billion for Ukraine and climate change

A total of CHF1.5 billion has been earmarked for support to Ukraine. War has meant that ongoing projects have had to be adapted. Around a third of the Ukrainian population has been displaced.

Humanitarian and development cooperation will be continued, with a budget of some CHF850 million.  Around CHF650 million will go towards reconstruction, the total cost of which was estimated at $411 billion in March. 

The fight against climate change also occupies an important place, with a budget of CHF1.6 billion. The aim is to ensure that development is environmentally friendly and resilient to climate change and natural disasters.

The new strategy also aims to entrust the management of tasks to local players wherever possible. Switzerland will continue to share its expertise, particularly in the areas of federalism, vocational training and technological innovation.

The consultation period runs for the new strategy runs until September 20. The government is expected to adopt the strategy in spring 2024, after which it will be submitted to parliament for approval. 

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