Switzerland makes savings at the expense of the very poorest

In May, the Swiss Federal Council set out its priorities for future international cooperation. In the course of the subsequent consultation, FAIRMED expressed its views on the strategy paper. You can read FAIRMED’s assessment of the government’s plans here.

The Federal Council has realigned its strategic objectives for international cooperation (IC). Thereby, the emphasis is on local job creation, combating climate change, improved migration management and commitment to peace-building and the rule of law.

FAIRMED welcomes the setting of thematic priorities in order to increase the effectiveness of IC. However, against the backdrop of Switzerland's vital role in global health, the topic of health must also be included as a strategic priority in pronouncements regarding IC.

In addition, despite its intention to focus on just a few key areas, IC should reaffirm the Sustainable Development Goals of the 2030 Agenda and set out what Switzerland intends to achieve in this regard, as these goals form the reference framework for international cooperation for all member states of the United Nations. Switzerland has also adopted the 2030 Agenda. However, the 2030 Agenda motto of “Leave no one behind” is not mentioned in the IC priorities.

Financial resources are too low
A further criticism from FAIRMED is the envisaged financial framework for IC. In 2011, the European Parliament decided to raise official development assistance (ODA) funding to 0.5% of gross national income. According to the forecast from the Federal Council, between 2021 and 2024, this ratio will only be around 0.45 percent.

With the signing of the 2030 Agenda, Switzerland has pledged to make a contribution of 0.7 percent of gross domestic product in the medium term. FAIRMED sees a risk of damage to Switzerland’s credibility if the figure of at least 0.5 percent is not adhered to, with 0.7 percent planned as a medium-term objective.

The full opinion from FAIRMED on international development cooperation can be found here.