Switzerland to introduce more focused development aid

Foreign Minister Joseph Deiss said Tuesday that Switzerland would implement a more focused development aid policy by tailoring Swiss support programmes abroad to the specific needs of a region and its people.

This content was published on June 22, 1999 - 17:54

Deiss said the priorities for government development aid would remain the same: helping to secure and maintain peace and stability, respect for human rights and democracy, fighting poverty and improving living standards, helping to solve environmental problems, and supporting access to education and basic health care.

Deiss, speaking in Zurich, said the Swiss government would now assess its aid projects and try to introduce the successful ones elsewhere.

The foreign minister said Switzerland would also step up cooperation with national, regional and local authorities abroad in order to help guarantee sustainable development projects.

The government’s Agency for Development and Cooperation has an annual budget of about SFr1 billion and 400 staff members. About 70 percent of the money goes to support aid projects in 17 countries, according to Deiss.

The foreign minister was speaking at a get-together marking the 40th anniversary of the aid group Swisscontact, an organisation which is co-financed by the Swiss government and Swiss industry.

Swisscontact said a recent poll carried out in six countries showed that people in those nations would like to see aid projects focus primarily on training and economic growth.

Fighting hunger and poverty were of less importance, according to the poll. Environmental protection was at the bottom of the priority list, Swisscontact said.

The poll was based on the answers of 100 development and cooperation project leaders in Peru, Bolivia, El Salvador, Kenya, Sri Lanka and the Philippines.

Swisscontact maintains aid projects in Asia, Africa, Latin America and eastern Europe. It focuses on education and job training, provides support for small and medium-sized enterprises and helps set up environmental projects in urban areas.

source: sda-ats

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