11/02/2014 - Switzerland provided USD 3 billion in official development assistance (ODA) in 2012, or 0.45% of its gross national income (GNI), in line with its goal to reach 0.5% of GNI by 2015.
In a new Peer Review of Switzerland, the OECD’s Development Assistance Committee (DAC) welcomed the country’s progress in channelling more resources into fighting poverty and sharpening its development policies in line with the DAC’s 2009 recommendations.
In particular, Switzerland complied with recommendations to make poverty reduction and sustainability an overarching goal for all its aid and for its aid agencies to co-operate more with federal Swiss bodies working in fragile states in areas like diplomacy and migration.
Noting its history of neutrality and pioneering humanitarian work, the DAC encouraged Switzerland to play more of a leadership role in development co-operation, particularly with regard to helping maximise the amount of private finance going into development projects.
“Switzerland’s ODA has increased steadily since 2010 and its policy of long-term commitments to recipient countries serves as an example to others,” said OECD DAC Chair Erik Solheim. “Switzerland is well-placed to become a more visible leader on development issues and can capitalise on its extensive experience on the ground to influence global policy in areas like conflict, fragility, food security and climate change.”
Given Switzerland now ranks as a mid-sized donor, positioned between Norway and Denmark as the DAC’s 11th biggest provider of aid by volume, the DAC recommended it work on ramping up its successful small-scale development projects into regional or national programmes whose size can enable more efficiency and sustainability.
Switzerland has shown that it has the right tools, systems and understanding of political risk to work in fragile states that need long-term support. The Review suggests that it focus more of its aid resources in such countries. Switzerland should also ensure that the share of its bilateral ODA going to least-developed countries does not decrease further. This is important given a shift in OECD countries' net bilateral ODA flows away from the poorest countries.
The DAC praised Switzerland’s effective management systems for development co-operation and its shift to more streamlined and decentralised procedures for field offices. However it noted that staffing policies need to ensure the right skills over the long term.
As a major international financial centre that is home to many multinational companies working in developing countries, Switzerland can add value by continuing to work to ensure correct and transparent taxation of individuals and companies, the Review noted.
Each DAC member is peer reviewed every 4-5 years as a way to monitor its development co-operation, hold it accountable for past commitments and recommend improvements. Led by two DAC members, a review typically takes 6-8 months and involves interviews with the government of the country under review and officials, other donors, civil society and the private sector in developing countries. Read more here: www.oecd.org/dac/peer-reviews/.
The Peer Review of Switzerland included visits to Burkina Faso and Kyrgyzstan. Fellow DAC members Korea and New Zealand were peer examiners, and China was an observer. For further information, journalists should contact Ida McDonnell in the OECD’s Development Co-operation Directorate or Catherine Bremer in the Media Division.