State Secretariat for Economic Affairs SECO Economic Cooperation and Development

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Aims and principles of the Economic Cooperation and Development division

To implement its economic and trade policy measures, SECO pursues the five strategic goals of international cooperation:

  1. preventing and overcoming crises, conflicts and catastrophes
  2. creating access for all to resources and services
  3. promoting sustainable economic growth
  4. supporting the transition to democratic, free-market systems
  5. helping to shape pro-development, environmentally friendly and socially responsible globalisation

SECO contributes to these goals by promoting sustainable growth - in economic, ecological and social terms - that supports the transition to a greener economy and creates new jobs. The priority is on achieving goals no. 3 and 5, although SECO's activities also contribute to achieving goals no. 1 and 2. Goal no. 4 is addressed with Switzerland's contribution to reducing the economic and social imbalances in EU enlargement, jointly implemented by SECO and SDC.

Efforts to create sustainable growth in partner countries are made on two fronts:

  • integrating these countries into the global economy
  • strengthening the competitive abilities of domestic economies

The first pillar, integrating partner countries into the global economy, paves the way for Switzerland's partner countries to access capital and markets. Such integration can only work, however, if the domestic economies become more competitive. This then forms the second pillar of the implementation strategy: improving the framework conditions to develop the private sector and fostering sustainable access to factors of production (capital, labour, natural resources) so as to increase economic output.

The responsibility for promoting sustainable growth and successful integration into the global economy lies primarily with the partner countries. It is up to them, at their own initiative, to define and implement an appropriate policy for their development with the support of external partners like SECO. The adoption of reforms, coordination of partner organisations and utilisation of existing systems in the partner countries are important parameters that SECO takes into consideration in its operational activities. It also considers the economical and effective use of public funds when awarding contracts to companies and institutions. SECO also adheres to the principles of transparency, equal treatment and the strengthening of competition. It sets clear priorities and limits its operations to certain defined themes and countries. It ensures that the partner country promotes and protects universal human rights to the greatest possible extent. SECO engages in policy dialogue with these partner countries and globally on a specific and selective basis, so as to pass on best practices and lessons learned in the programmes.


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State Secretariat for Economic Affairs SECO Economic Cooperation and Development
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