Switzerland’s role in the multilateral system
Switzerland is an official partner of numerous institutions such as the UN and multilateral development banks by means of its membership status and the financial support it renders. As such, it codetermines their policies, using its influence for the benefit of partner countries who are incapable of representing their own interests effectively enough.
Swiss representatives voice their opinions in these institutions through their voting rights and by participation in steering and supervisory organs. Next to this high-level input, Switzerland also marks its presence in the daily activities of multilateral institutions and is actively involved in task forces and networks such as the Development Assistance Committee (DAC). On a multilateral level, Switzerland assumes the role of representing both its own interests as well as that of its partner countries.
Major contribution by Switzerland
Thanks to its membership in various institutions, Switzerland can revert to its wealth of development policy experience in discussions and help to find original solutions thanks to its creative ideas. In this way, Switzerland has over the past years decisively contributed to internationally acclaimed and innovative results, e.g. in the area of debt relief policies, the coordination of various policy issues, and the consolidation of national resources.
The SDC is responsible for Swiss cooperation with development-related UN institutions. Together with the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (seco), i.e. the Swiss Federal Department of Finance (FDF), it can also advocate the Swiss position in the international financial institutions.
Switzerland's objectives in multilateral cooperation
In its Report on Foreign Affairs for the year, the Federal Council accords Switzerland's multilateral involvement a key role because it is usually the international organizations and fora that tackle newly emerging problems and promote the break through of innovative solutions. According to the Federal Council, bilateral and multilateral development cooperation are two complementary components of one and the same policy.
The specific objectives of multilateral activities are laid down in a strategy paper. It defines the following cornerstones to guide its multilateral commitment:
- The multilateral system must be strengthened.
- Cooperation in the multilateral system must be effect-oriented.
- Priorities should be set.
- Synergies with bilateral development aid should be utilized.
- Multilateral partners should be carefully selected.
- Partner countries should be actively supported.
- Civil society, the private sector and research should be closely involved.
- Swiss enterprises should have access to tenders published by multilateral organizations.
Committed to the Millennium Development Goals
In all of its multilateral activities, Switzerland is committed to reaching the Millennium Development Goals. It set this target back in September 2000 at the Millennium Summit in New York where the international community confirmed its resolve to scale up efforts for a world free of poverty, fear and ecological destruction. Achieving this objective is only possible through cooperation with multilateral development institutions.
Additional Information and Documents
- La Suisse et la Banque mondial
Lignes d'action - 2004
Download (PDF, 1038 KB) : [de] [fr]
- L’accent multilatéral / septembre 2012 : ONU - dix ans au coeur du système
L’effort de cohérence
Download (PDF, 2659 KB) : [de] [fr]
- La Suisse et la Banque Asiatique de Développement (ADB)
Download (PDF, 1074 KB) : [de] [fr]
- La Suisse et la Banque Africaine de Développement (BAD)
Lignes d'action 2005
Download (PDF, 850 KB) : [de] [fr]
- Coopération multilatérale
Un instrument indispensable à la coopération suisse au développement
Download (PDF, 615 KB) : [de] [fr]
- La Suisse et la Banque Interméricaine de développement
Download (PDF, 1111 KB) : [de] [fr]
- Purchase of goods and services by multinational organisations
Complementary study on the economic effects of PDA in Switzerland
Download (PDF, 4277 KB) : [fr]
- Multilateral Humanitarian Aid Concept
Download (PDF, 4155 KB) : [en]
- The Millennium Development Goals