International cooperation in 2019: the environment, jobs, cooperation with the private sector, health

The Annual Report on Switzerland's International Cooperation 2019 has just been published. Last year, Switzerland was active in environmental issues, basic education and vocational skills development and increased cooperation with the private sector, among other areas. Activities in the health sector were also a key priority, as they help to strengthen partner countries' resilience during the COVID-19 crisis.

Millions of young people took to the streets in 2019 for Fridays for Future. Young people's concerns are also a priority for Switzerland's international cooperation.

There can be no sustainable development without mitigating climate change.
Manuel Sager, SDC director general, November 2014 to April 2020

In 2019, Switzerland continued to put its expertise to good use in international cooperation, supporting programmes and projects aimed at reducing poverty and creating prospects for people in their own communities. It provided concrete and effective support in a number of areas, including the environment, basic education and vocational skills development, and enhanced cooperation with the private sector. Activities in the health sector were also a key priority.

  • Switzerland provided expertise and financial support to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, for example. The Global Fund's goal is to achieve effective control of epidemics such as HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria by 2030.
  • In Vietnam, Switzerland helped to build a solar park which generates electricity that reduces the country's annual CO2 emissions by 240,000 tonnes.
  • In Benin, Switzerland supported a project targeting youngsters between the ages of 9 and 15 who were too old for primary school but too young to learn a trade. A total of 98 alternative education institutions were opened, where the teenagers have an opportunity to obtain a diploma and then go on to find work.

COVID-19: Swiss IC pays dividends

Many Swiss international cooperation programmes strengthen the resilience of partner countries to cope with crises and disasters. This has recently proven particularly necessary in the health sector: in 2019, no one could have foreseen that in 2020 international cooperation would also have to deal with the effects of the COVID 19 crisis.

2021–24 strategy equips international cooperation for the future

Switzerland endeavours to target its international cooperation efforts where they can achieve maximum effect. The Federal Council adopted the International Cooperation Strategy 2021–24 on 19 February 2020. The strategy makes international cooperation fit for the future and sets four thematic priorities: creating jobs, combating climate change, reducing the causes of irregular migration and forced displacement, and promoting the rule of law. International cooperation is also an investment in Switzerland's prosperity and security.

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