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Mandate of the Economic Cooperation and Development division

Cooperation with developing or transition countries and with new member states of the European Union (EU) is an important part of Switzerland's foreign policy and external economic policy.

Development cooperation

Development cooperation is based on the Federal Law of 19 March 1976 on development cooperation and humanitarian aid. Under the Ordinance of 12 December 1977, application of the Law is entrusted to the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) and to SECO. The latter is responsible for economic and trade policy measures.

The strategy of the Federal Council regarding development cooperation rests on the following three pillars:

  • Achieving the Millennium Development Goals  - poverty reduction
  • Promoting human security and reducing safety-related risks
  • Pro-development globalisation for the benefit of development

Economic development cooperation focuses on the third pillar of the Federal Council's strategy on development cooperation, and concentrates its activities in two areas.

Area 1
: support for the integration of partner countries into the global economy, encouraging their development and strengthening sustainable growth.

Objective 1:  to limit the risks of globalisation in developing countries and to reduce poverty sustainably, all of which forms the basis of economic, social and cultural development for  the populations in partner countries.

Area 2: participation in the formulation of the policy of the international financial institutions, namely the World Bank and the regional development banks (in collaboration with the SDC), and UN trade-related organisations connected to trade.

Objective 2: to guarantee that these institutions contribute effectively and efficiently to the cooperation and the development at an international level.

Transition aid

Transition aid is an important part of Switzerland's foreign policy and external economic policy. By linking this aid to promoting stability, security, the rule of law, and prosperity on the European continent, it also takes account of Swiss economic and political interests and objectives.

Cooperation with countries in transition and with the new member states of the European Union (EU) is based on the [Swiss] Federal Law of 24 March 2006 on cooperation with the states of Eastern Europe.

The purposes of transition aid are:

  • to promote and reinforce the rule of law and the respect of human rights and to establish a democratic system based on stable political institutions
  • to promote sustainable economic and social development founded on the principles of the market economy and favourable to economic stability, to growth in incomes and to improving the living conditions of the populations, while at the same time encouraging cultural development and contributing to protection of the environment

Under the Ordinance of 6 May 1992, the implementation of transition aid is under the joint authority of SECO and the SDC:

  • SECO is responsible for economic and financial cooperation
  • The SDC is responsible for technical cooperation

Contribution to EU enlargement

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State Secretariat for Economic Affairs SECO
Economic Cooperation and Development
Holzikofenweg 36
3003 Berne / Switzerland

Tel. +41 (0) 58 464 09 10
Fax +41 (0) 58 464 09 62