Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation
The Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) is an office-level agency in the federal administration of Switzerland, and a part of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs. Together with other federal offices, SDC is responsible for overall coordination of Swiss international development activities and cooperation with Eastern Europe, as well as humanitarian aid.
As of 2008, the SDC is led by Director-General Martin Dahinden. It has a staff of 536, no revenues and annual expenditures of CHF 1,433 million.
Organisation and tasks
The Swiss constitution states that Switzerland contributes to the alleviation of hardship and poverty in the world, to respect for human rights, and to the promotion of democracy and the peaceful coexistence of nations. The SDC is charged with implementing this mission.
The SDC’s activities are divided into three areas:
- In the context of bilateral and multilateral development cooperation, the SDC promotes economic and national self-sufficiency, works to improve conditions of production, assists in dealing with environmental problems and helps to ensure better access to education and healthcare for the poor. For example, SDC was a major donor to the International LUBILOSA Programme: which developed a biological pesticide for locust control, in support of small-holder farmers in the Sahel.
- The mission of the Confederation’s agency for humanitarian aid is to save lives and alleviate suffering. During armed conflicts and following natural disasters, it provides help through the Swiss Humanitarian Aid Unit and supports humanitarian partner organisations such as the Red Cross.
- Cooperation with Eastern Europe assists the countries of Eastern Europe and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) to make the transition to democracy and the market economy.
Swiss bilateral development assistance is as of 2008 focused on 17 priority countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America. Cooperation with Eastern Europe centres on ten countries in South-Eastern Europe and the CIS. At the multilateral level, the SDC works with UN agencies, the World Bank and regional development banks.
The SDC’s specialist units are grouped in the Thematic and Technical Resources Department. They focus mainly on conflict prevention, good governance, social development, employment and income, natural resources and the environment.
- This section has been adapted from The Swiss Confederation – a brief guide 2008, p. 51. The text of that publication is in the public domain in Switzerland. All figures are as of 2008, unless otherwise noted.
- SDC website: www.deza.ch
- Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation in the Dodis database of the Diplomatic Documents of Switzerland