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Dear Reader

Alleviating poverty, mitigating global risks and preventing conflicts are some of the priorities set out by the Federal Council in its Message on International Cooperation. This Message is testament to the Swiss government’s solidarity with the disadvantaged and its commitment to ensuring a decent and peaceful future for all. This year, Parliament will decide on the four framework credits, totaling CHF 11.35 billion, proposed in the Federal Council’s Message.

The editors

Schweizerische Eidgenossenschaft
  Federal Council’s Message on International Cooperation 2013-2016

For the period 2013-2016 the Federal Council, for the first time, submitted a comprehensive Message on International Cooperation to Parliament. The four framework credits, totalling CHF 11.35 billion, fund the activities of humanitarian aid, technical cooperation and financial aid, economic and trade policy measures, as well as cooperation with Eastern Europe and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS).

Message (key points in brief)

  Switzerland: 10 years of UN membership

On 3 March 2002, the Swiss electorate voted in favour of Swiss membership of the United Nations (UN). Six months later, on 10 September 2002, Switzerland finally became a fully-fledged member. Over the last decade, Switzerland has played an active and innovative role in advancing the goals and furthering the development of the United Nations.

Achievements and prospects

  North Africa: increased assistance

A year ago the Federal Council issued mandates to five Federal Offices in three Departments to initiate support measures for North Africa. Approximately CHF 57m are available: CHF 4m for democratic transition, CHF 47m for economic development and CH 6m for migration and protection. Initial results have already been achieved.

Media release

  Ukraine: building on local government capacities

Switzerland supports local authorities in Ukraine with technical know-how and financial contributions to enable them to deliver municipal services, including water supply, to their local communities more effectively.

Decentralisation of municipal services

  Water: access for all

Access to clean water and sanitation: Switzerland will champion these two issues during the upcoming 6th World Water Forum in Marseille (12-17 March 2012). The recently launched “Swiss Water Partnership” will showcase innovative technologies and ideas to solve the world’s growing water problem.

World Water Forum
Switzerland’s water footprint
Swiss Water Partnership

  Eastern Europe: research grants for young scientists

Solar cells, biodiversity, mountains, Greek philosophy: these are just a few of the subjects researched by students accepted on to the scholarship programme of the Swiss Contribution Fund for new EU Member states. Four students explain what their work entails and their experiences as guest researchers in Switzerland. scholarship fund
Swiss Enlargement Contribution

  Switzerland-Mali: new Memorandum of Understanding

Switzerland and Mali recently signed a new Memorandum of Understanding, which sets out their shared rural development, education and local public management priorities for the 2012-2015 period. Particular focus is given to transparent governance. Efforts will be concentrated in the regions of Sikasso, Mopti and Timbuktu.

Cooperation with Mali
Cooperation Office (fr)

  Asia: better market opportunities for the poor

Thanks to an innovative franchising model for vocational training, some 20,000 poor young women and men in Nepal have successfully completed a training course and found employment. In Bangladesh the Katalyst project improves the market participation of disadvantaged communities.

Asia Brief Nepal
Asia Brief Bangladesh

  North Korea: Clean water and protection against erosion

With support from Switzerland, farmers in North Korea are protecting their very steep sloping land from erosion by planting fruit trees and grass ledges on the slopes, thus taking a step closer to sustainable production. The SDC has also recently launched a new drinking water and sanitation programme in the country.

SDC engagement in North Korea

  "Eine Welt"

In view of the fast-approaching sustainability conference, Rio+20, the latest edition of “Eine Welt” looks at the “green economy”. Analyses, statistics, and case studies demonstrate the potential and limitations of this economic model. The SDC magazine also features articles on Jordan and Tanzania. With many of its young people unable to find work, Jordan is pinning its hopes on the internet sector. Although better market access is improving the lot of Tanzania’s small farmers, some problems still persist.

View and order (de, fr, it)

  "Switzerland's contribution"

This brochure draws on real-life stories to demonstrate the SDC’s achievements between 2006-2010.

The report

  "Mountain Forests in a Changing World"

The biodiversity in mountain forests is nothing short of amazing. However, these forest resources are also a major source of income for local communities. The brochure “Mountain Forests in a Changing World” shows how these important ecosystems can be managed sustainably and preserved in the long term.

Mountain partnership

  The Other Side of the World

Former humanitarian aid workers talk about their experiences, which span from 1945 to the present day. A fascinating book which documents the successes and setbacks, formative encounters and invaluable insights that were gained during these missions abroad.

Order (de)

  "Aisha, Mussa, Zawadi…"

Elisabeth Kaestli talks to 13 people from Tanzania about their struggle for survival, their day-to-day lives, and their optimism. In addition to these profiles, the author briefly describes her experiences as a white woman living in East Africa.

The book is available in German and Swahili from bookshops.


Behind the scenes: insight into the structure and activities of the SDC

What contribution does Switzerland actually make to alleviating poverty, to sustainable development and to solving environmental problems? How is the SDC organised? These are some of the questions that are answered in a series of short films. SDC personnel talk about their day-to-day work both in Switzerland and abroad, while SDC Director-General, Martin Dahinden, explains the role that development cooperation plays. The SDC offers a behind-the-scenes look at its activities.

Order the DVD

SDC newsletter

Have you missed a previous newsletter? Maybe you would like to consult an old edition? Now you can, thanks to the new SDC Newsletter archive.

Newsletter archive
Swiss Humanitarian Aid of the Confederation

Annual Conference 2012

On 23 March 2012, Swiss Humanitarian Aid and the Swiss Humanitarian Aid Unit will hold its annual conference in Basel. The theme of this year’s conference, which is also open to members of the public, is "sharing responsibility".

Conference information

Personal impressions of a relief mission in the Philippines

Following the severe tropical storm that battered the south of the Philippines on 17 December 2011, six Swiss Humanitarian Aid experts were dispatched to assist relief efforts. Their work included helping the local authorities with the rehabilitation of the water supply to the town of Cagayan de Oro.

 Photo gallery
08.03. - 12.08.2012
Strawberries in Winter – a Climate Fairy Tale

Exhibition at the Natural History Museum, Berne (de)
23.03. - 01.07.2012
"The Other Side of the World" – travelling exhibition documenting the history of Switzerland’s humanitarian tradition

Museum Schlössli, Aarau (de)
"Women’s Economic Empowerment"

Public seminar, Allrest conference centre, Berne
Additional events

Publisher: Federal Department of Foreign Affairs FDFA, 3003 Bern
Contact: Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation SDC, E-Mail:

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