The just-published 2012 Annual Report on Switzerland's International Cooperation sets out a unified strategy that encompasses – for the first time – humanitarian aid, technical and financial cooperation, economic and trade policy measures, and cooperation with the countries of Eastern Europe. SDC Director-General Martin Dahinden and State Secretary and Director of SECO Marie-Gabrielle Ineichen-Fleisch stress that this important milestone has been welcomed both by Parliament and by public opinion. The report presents the main results of Switzerland's commitment to combating poverty and reducing global risks.
Published jointly by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) and the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO), the 2012 annual report presents a sample of results achieved so far and shows how Switzerland is contributing to solving local, regional and global problems. The report is enriched by a number of first-hand accounts that shed light on specific international cooperation activities. Various contributors were also given carte blanche to write comments or analyses of specific events that occurred in 2012 (such as the use of social media for political events). A statistical brochure inserted in the report contains information on the use of funds.
Switzerland's official development assistance (ODA) continued to increase in 2012, reaching CHF 2.833 billion (+4.7% compared with 2011), equivalent to 0.45% of gross national income (GNI). By 2015, Swiss ODA will have reached 0.5% of GNI.
For the first time, Switzerland has adopted a unified strategy that encompasses humanitarian aid, technical and financial cooperation, economic and trade policy measures, and cooperation with the countries of Eastern Europe. SDC Director-General Martin Dahinden and Secretary of State and Director of SECO Marie-Gabrielle Ineichen-Fleisch stress that this is an important turning point, recalling the very positive reception given by Parliament in 2012 to the Federal Council Dispatch on International Cooperation 2013-2016 when it approved framework credits totalling CHF 11.35 billion for this period.
Switzerland is determined to step up its commitment in conflict zones and countries where state structures have failed, because that is where people are most in need of help. In tandem with the fight against poverty, Swiss development cooperation is now more focused on controlling global risks that undermine the livelihoods of millions of people. In this context, the additional funds Parliament decided to earmark for activities related to water and climate change were all spent in 2012. The results presented in the report show that to meet these challenges, the SDC and SECO manage financial resources efficiently and ensure tangible benefits.
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