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Swiss development agency stresses importance of working with UN

Deza supports the UN to the tune of SFr170 million a year


The Swiss government's development aid agency, Deza, has underlined the importance of close ties with the United Nations. At a news conference, Deza said UN agencies were a major recipient of Swiss development funds.

"For months now the UN has been a theme in Swiss domestic politics," Deza director Walter Fust told the meeting in Bern on Monday. "But for our agency it has been a theme for decades."

Two thirds of the agency's annual budget of SFr1.1 billion ($670 million) will this year go on direct cooperation between Switzerland and individual nations. The remaining third will be passed to international organisations for their work in developing countries.

Fust said that SFr170 million of the amount given to international organisations would be shared among the 15 UN agencies supported by the Swiss government. Among the bodies to benefit are the United Nations Development Programme, the children's agency Unicef, and the refugee agency.

The size of Switzerland's contribution puts it among the top 12 biggest supporters of the UN's development work.

"The UN is the only universal forum in which all countries can take part in drawing up solutions to global development needs," Fust said.

He added that Switzerland's support of UN agencies allowed Deza to be active in countries where it had no direct presence.

Fust also noted that Switzerland's broad experience in bilateral development work and humanitarian aid meant it could play a key role in many UN agencies, although the country itself is not a UN member.

swissinfo with agencies


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