The Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) is Switzerland’s international cooperation agency within the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA). In operating with other federal offices concerned, SDC is responsible for the overall coordination of development activities and cooperation with Eastern Europe, as well as for the humanitarian aid delivered by the Swiss Confederation.
The goal of development cooperation is that of reducing poverty. It is meant to foster economic self-reliance and state autonomy, to contribute to the improvement of production conditions, to help in finding solutions to environmental problems, and to provide better access to education and basic healthcare services.
SDC carries out its activities with an annual budget of CHF 1.87 billion (2012) and a staff of some 550 Swiss nationals in Switzerland and abroad, as well as about 900 local employees. The Agency engages in direct operations, supports programmes of multilateral organizations, and helps to finance programmes run by Swiss and international relief organizations in four operational areas:
Regional Cooperation steers SDC’s bilateral cooperation with countries in the Middle East, Africa, Asia, and Latin America. With the decision made in 2008 to reduce by the year 2012 the number of its priority countries from the previous 17 to 12, and the number of its special programmes from 7 to 6, SDC has consolidated the geographical focus of its activities. At the end of 2009, SDC withdrew from Ecuador. The programmes being conducted in India, Bhutan, Pakistan, Peru, and North Korea were, by the end of 2011, either terminated or reoriented. The regional development banks are also considered to be key partners in the domain of regional cooperation.
Global Cooperation is primarily active in the multilateral domain, cooperating with the organizations of the UN system and with the World Bank. By fostering global programmes in the domain of climate change, food security, water and migration, global cooperation makes its contribution to tackling global challenges.
Humanitarian Aid aims at saving lives and alleviating suffering. Direct relief is provided in the wake of natural disasters and in the context of armed conflicts, while humanitarian partner organizations can be the recipients of both manpower and financial support. The core domains of intervention are prevention, emergency aid and survival assistance, reconstruction, and advocacy for the causes of forgotten humanitarian crises. Swiss humanitarian aid is active in 9 regions.
THE SDC’S AREAS OF DEPLOYMENT
The SDC is active in partner countries across four continents. The list of priority countries and special programmes can be found under the link “Additional Information”. It should be pointed out that from 2012 on, Bhutan, Pakistan, Peru, and North Korea will no longer be vested with the status of priority countries, nor be host to special programmes.
Countries and Focus Regions for SDC (status January 2011):
Bilateral Development Cooperation - 15 priority countries and regions
2. Burkina Faso
15. Nicaragua / Central America
Seven Special programmes:
1. West Bank and Gaza
2. Southern Africa
3. Great Lakes
5. North Korea
Cooperation with Eastern Europe and the CIS-Six priority countries and regions:
2. Bosnia and Herzegovina
3. Serbia and Montenegro
5. South Caucasus
6. Central Asia
Four Special programmes:
1. North Caucasus
Contribution to the enlarged EU: the 12 partner countries:
4. Czech Republic
Humanitarian Aid - 9 focus areas:
2. Horn of Africa
6. Sri Lanka
9. Palestine (UNRWA programme for Palestinian refugees)
THE THEMES OF THE SDC
To ensure the greatest possible effectiveness of its work, the SDC concentrates on selected thematic domains that are particularly crucial for development processes and in which Switzerland has particular expertise thanks to experience gained to date.
Agriculture / Rural development
Climate change and Environment
Rule of Law, Democracy
Conflict prevention and transformation
Emergency aid and reconstruction
Employment and income
Where is Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC)