Burkina Faso + 3 more

SDC Annual Media Conference: The fundamental human right to live in security

Berne, 4 February 2003 - With its campaign for fighting poverty, its humanitarian aid programmes and its commitment to peace and the rule of law, the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation SDC makes a contribution towards improving human security. At SDC's annual media conference, held in Berne on 4 February 2003, Director Walter Fust presented its theme for 2003: Security Though Development. He provided an overview of the preparations underway to step up humanitarian aid to Iraq. The SDC is also concerned that the refugee problem in the Ivory Coast is deteriorating.

In his address to the conference, Walter Fust said that development work is a "declaration of war" on apathy. Food security, access to water and healthcare services, protection against arbitrariness and violence are the basic pillars of human security, he argued. "It is simply not right that security become a commodity that only a few can afford and the rest of humanity cannot".

Without security, there's no development; without development, there's no security.

In this connection, Walter Fust pointed to the preventive character of development cooperation with regard to migration and called for partnership policies on migration which would treat the problems of the partner countries just as seriously as Switzerland does, emphasising that development cooperation that draws on the partners' expertise could play a major role in this field.

No fear of poverty, of violence, of the future

Concrete examples from the work of the SDC illustrate well this aspect of human security. The independent information that Radio OKAPI is able to broadcast in the war-torn Democratic Republic of the Congo makes an invaluable contribution to reconciliation and understanding amongst the population. In the poorer districts of Lima, thousands of youths have a chance of a secure future - thanks to the training and work opportunities now provided. In South-east Europe, the SDC is supporting efforts to reform the justice and police systems, efforts which are leading to the rule of law and boosting the confidence of the citizens in the state.

Latest priorities

As war in Iraq looms, the SDC - in association with the UN and the International Committee of the Red Cross - is intensifying its humanitarian measures already in place. An SDC humanitarian aid coordinator is permanently stationed in Baghdad, and experts from the Swiss Humanitarian Aid Corps SHA are on stand-by for interventions in Iraq. Meanwhile, according to a survey of the situation in the Ivory Coast, any further deterioration there could trigger large waves of refugees. The surrounding countries of Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger are already focal points for Swiss development aid projects.

Media and Communications

Please note that SDC's Humanitarian Aid Department is moving premises. As of 10 February 2003, you will find us in Köniz at the postal address of Sägestrasse 77. Our telecom numbers and addresses remain unchanged.

For any further information, please call SDC Spokesperson Barbara Affolter on +41 31 323 0863.