Page 1




The Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) is part of the Swiss ministry of foreign affairs. Published by: Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) Copyright: SDC, Bern, 2002 Compiled by: SDC, Department of Development Policy and Multilateral Cooperation Design: BOH Consulting, Christian Jaberg, Solothurn Photos: SDC archives and Keystone Switzerland Orders and further information: SDC, Department of Development Policy and Multilateral Cooperation, CH-3003 Bern Telephone: +41 (0)31 322 34 76, Fax: +41 (0)31 324 16 92, This publication is also available in French, German and Italian.


INITIAL SITUATION . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1

THE CONTEXT AND SUBSTANCE OF MULTILATERAL COOPERATION THE GROWING IMPORTANCE OF MULTILATERALISM . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2 TRENDS AND PERSPECTIVES . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3 THE DOMESTIC CONTEXT . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 SDC’S MANDATE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5

STRATEGIC OBJECTIVES AND THEIR IMPLEMENTATION STRENGTHENING THE MULTILATERAL SYSTEM . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 EFFECTIVE COLLABORATION IN THE MULTILATERAL SYSTEM . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7 SYSTEMATIC EXPLOITATION OF SYNERGIES . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8 CONSCIOUS SELECTION OF MULTILATERAL PARTNERS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9 PARTICIPATION IN MULTILATERAL DIALOGUE WITH A THEMATIC FOCUS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10 ACTIVE SUPPORT FOR PARTNER COUNTRIES . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11 CLOSER INCLUSION OF CIVIL SOCIETY, THE PRIVATE SECTOR AND THE RESEARCH COMMUNITY . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12 TAKING ACCOUNT OF ADDITIONAL SWISS INTERESTS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13 COMMUNICATING SWITZERLAND’S MULTILATERAL COMMITMENTS MORE EFFECTIVELY . . 14

MEANS OF IMPLEMENTATION FINANCIAL AND HUMAN RESOURCES . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15 MONITORING MULTILATERAL INSTITUTIONS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16 PLAN OF IMPLEMENTATION AND CONTROLLING . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17

GLOSSARY OF TERMS AND INSTITUTIONS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18


In recent years, there has been an increasing need for cooperation at the multilateral level, resulting directly from a recognition of global challenges. The number of actors at the international level has increased.

Switzerland has many years of experience in multilateral development cooperation and humanitarian aid, and is a member of every important multilateral institution concerned with these areas. As a UN member since 10 September 2002, it is now also in a position to participate fully in the activities of principal UN organs. SDC derives its multilateral responsibilities – and its mandate to coordinate the overall concept for Switzerland’s contributions in international development cooperation, humanitarian aid, and cooperation with the countries of Eastern Europe – from the following legal basis: The Swiss federal law on international development cooperation and humanitarian aid (1976) The Swiss federal decree relating to this law (1977) The Swiss federal decree on cooperation with the countries of Eastern Europe (1995) The Swiss Foreign Policy Report 2000 The Guidelines North-South (1994) Messages and framework credits relating to development cooperation and humanitarian aid

The SDC Strategy 2010

The Foreign Policy Report 2000 assigns a key role to Switzerland’s multilateral activities. Strategy 2010 declares that SDC will play an active role in formulating problem-solving approaches to international problems, commit itself to building a strong international network, and purposefully integrate its development concerns into multilateral dialogue. The SDC multilateral strategy presented here is based on the following vision:

The growing complexity of the multilateral system and the limited availability of financial resources make it necessary for SDC to formulate a strategy for its multilateral cooperation. This strategy is based on the principles discussed in

JOINT RESPONSIBILITY AND SOLIDARITY THROUGH PARTNERSHIP SDC aims to make an effective contribution towards the achievement of international development goals. To do this, it needs multilateral institutions that set international rules and standards, coordinate many different actors, and address and deal with complex international problems. SDC is resolutely committed to a strong multilateral system that fulfils its normative and operational responsibilities, and that supports the efforts being made by developing and transition countries. SDC determines the institutional and thematic emphasis of its multilateral work in accordance with its experience and its competence. In doing this, it makes use of existing synergies in its bilateral and multilateral programmes, and works closely with its partners in the federal administration, civil society, the private sector, and the research community.

the present document. SDC regards its multilateral strategy primarily as an executive document with respect to its Strategy 2010.



The growing importance of multilateralism The major problems and challenges of our time know no international boundaries. Frequently, they exceed the capacity of individual countries to deal with them. There is a growing need for solutions by the international community as a whole. Multilateral cooperation is an indispensable instrument for the implementation of development policy. As a rule, multilateral institutions have a global presence. Institutions such as the World Bank and UNDP are valuable partners of governments in developing and transition countries in the areas of planning and concept development. In countries where they are represented and conduct operations, they usually play a key role in

Normally it is multilateral fora and institutions that address new problems and devise new solutions and strive to implement them. They ensure political coordination and establish norms and principles that are valid at the global level. In brief: they determine the international framework conditions. With respect to complex and politically sensitive topics such as questions of global governance, internal conflicts, democracy and human rights, gender, and environmental protection, multilateral fora and institutions have a very important role to play in multilateral dialogue and at the local level. Multilateral institutions are particularly involved in large-scale projects concerned with infrastructure and reform, in view of the

money, capacity and expertise required by such projects. They are also able to carry out major emergency relief programmes in a rapid and focused manner. In order to deal successfully with all these responsibilities, multilateral cooperation depends heavily on the experience of bilateral agencies and NGOs at many different levels. Unless they collaborate closely with these partners, multilateral institutions will scarcely be able to take account of all existing circumstances and needs at the local level. Moreover, they will also benefit from the innovative problem-solving approaches developed and tested by smaller but more flexible institutions in the course of bilateral cooperation.

donor coordination.

SPECIAL CHARACTERISTICS OF MULTILATERAL INSTITUTIONS AND FORA A They are theoretically open to all countries. This lends the necessary legitimacy to their efforts to solve global problems.



They are usually connected globally (UN system, Bretton Woods Institutions, World Health Organisation) or at least continentally (regional development banks), and frequently linked with related external representations. This allows them to mobilise knowledge and financial resources around the world for use in accordance with existing needs.


All important decisions (policies, strategies, programmes, projects, management) require approval by the management and supervisory bodies of the respective institutions, which normally represent the interests of all countries (or groups of countries).


Their core budgets are provided by non-binding contributions from member countries. This guarantees multilateral institutions the financial autonomy they need. Of course, financial burden sharing and contributions from member countries vary from institution to institution.


Their largely multicultural staffs as a rule are keenly aware of the cultural aspects of development and cooperation.


Notice of large-scale projects is systematically given at the international level. This makes it possible to procure goods and services in an economic fashion.


Trends and perspectives The multilateral system must continually adapt to new challenges. SDC has a mandate to carefully monitor the resulting changes and examine the consequences for Switzerland’s multilateral cooperation policies.


MANY SIGNIFICANT TRENDS CAN CURRENTLY BE OBSERVED A Since the 1990s, the efforts of international development cooperation have focused on achiev-

ing the Millennium Development Goals established as a result of special UN conferences. The catalogue of goals is being expanded by continuous large-scale UN conferences, their action plans, and by so-called Global Public Goods.



The number of multilateral institutions (organisations, conferences, networks) is steadily increasing, and many have unclear and overlapping mandates. Even though a growing number of institutions are fortunately dedicating themselves to fulfilling their responsibilities effectively, it remains difficult to assess their effectiveness, their efficiency and their relevance on a regular basis and in accordance with objective criteria.



Multilateral initiatives and networks are gaining importance, especially in terms of new responsibilities, opportunities, and threats. By contrast with conventional multilateral institutions, they are more open to actors in civil society and the private sector, as well as those in the scientific and research communities. They are also increasingly including these actors in funding and decision-making processes.



The private sector and civil society participate in different ways and for different reasons in the establishment of development goals and in the furnishing of Global Public Goods. They are mobilising growing numbers of people and resources for this purpose.


Initial experience has been gained with new instruments of development coordination that give greater responsibility to partner countries.


Individual donor countries are increasingly influencing the programmes and policies of multilateral institutions through contributions earmarked for specific goals. This is leading to the multi-bilateralisation of aid. If multilateral institutions are simultaneously weakened, this trend could undermine the multilateral system.


The USA and the G-8 are increasingly putting their own interests at the centre of their global political activities. Their growing influence also affects the multilateral agenda.


Given the new dimensions of violent conflicts, it is clearly urgent to use all available means – especially multilateral cooperation – to alleviate the causes and triggering mechanisms of these conflicts, and to promote intercultural communication.




The domestic context In addition to the international context – consisting of global challenges and possible courses of action determined at the international level – domestic conditions are also important in shaping Swiss foreign policy, and hence Swiss development policy and multilateral activities.

Successful multilateral policy is inseparable from a clear and realistic concept of Switzerland’s role in the world. The recurring question is what role Switzerland will play as a nation in international policy, and what contributions it will make. Thus to a considerable

Switzerland can contribute most effectively to the solution of global problems, while also acting to promote its own enlightened interest, if it is part of an international network and plays an active role in multilateral decision-making processes. This calls for collaboration on multilateral policy involving the government, the public sector, and the population. It also requires an in-depth understanding of global challenges, interconnections, and possible courses of action within the multilateral framework. At the same time, there is a need to integrate important ideas and concrete initiatives on the basis of experience.

extent the shaping of multilateral policy is also a question of political will.


Within the federal administration, SDC strives to formulate Switzerland’s multilateral interests more effectively, based on its mandate to coordinate the overall concept of Switzerland’s contribution to international development cooperation and humanitarian aid. This allows federal offices such as SDC, the Directorate of Political Affairs in the Foreign Ministry, the State Secretary for Economic Affairs (seco), the Federal Office for Finance, the Swiss Agency for the Environment, Forests and Landscape, the Federal Office for Agriculture, the Federal Office for Refugees and others to combine forces and work in complementary fashion. As part of this process, SDC aims to improve coherence between other areas of policy, as well as the overall goals of development policy. One example is the integration of aspects in other

areas of policy that are relevant to development, such as international trade, finance, economic issues, agricultural issues, research concerns, the labour market and migration, policy on refugees, environmental protection, and others. Switzerland’s membership in the main UN agencies poses a major challenge, in terms of collaboration among different government administrative offices and in relation to information about Switzerland’s participation in concrete terms. It is important that SDC represents Switzerland’s prime development concerns in these principal UN organs, where an increasing number of decisions are being made that have direct impact on UN funds, programmes, and specialised organisations. Aside from expanded possibilities for collaboration, Swiss membership in the UN also means additional work and responsibility for SDC.


SDC’s Mandate There are numerous dimensions to SDC’s multilateral responsibilities. First of all, Switzerland as a member country and by virtue of its financial contributions is jointly responsible and has a shareholder role in many multilateral institutions; however, SDC also plays the role of a stakeholder in the multilateral system. SDC’s role as a shareholder consists of rights as well as duties. Its most important rights as a member are voting, participation in managerial and oversight bodies, and the resulting opportunities to exert influence and participate in joint decision-making. Among its duties are the need to make financial payments, i.e. capital and other forms of contribution to development banks and funds, as well as obligatory contributions and un-tied annual contributions to multilateral development and humanitarian institutions. These financial contributions constitute multilateral aid and hence multilateral cooperation in a narrow sense, as defined by the DAC. As a shareholder, however, Switzerland also has the right to influence the objectives, policies and working methods of these multilateral institutions. Switzerland is obligated to support and implement common decisions.

SDC’s multilateral responsibilities as a stakeholder include a wide range of development interests. Among these are representation of the concerns of partner countries in multilateral institutions, including involvement with civil society and the private sector. SDC also represents certain Swiss national interests. It is crucial that SDC’s position in both roles be coherent vis-à-vis these institutions and the multilateral system.

There are significant interactions between the two roles as shareholder and stakeholder. SDC can play a more important role as a stakeholder wherever it is a relevant shareholder. On the other hand, the greater SDC’s competence in terms of issues, the greater its influence on the shape and the focus of a multilateral institution.










Strengthening the multilateral system SDC aims to improve division of labour and coordination within the multilateral system. Multilateral institutions should focus on areas and functions in which they have clear comparative advantages. Law should be applied prior to the use of force in international cooperation, and legally established procedures should be adhered to. As there are virtually no fora in which the multilateral system is

Thorough knowledge of the entire multilateral system, and of its main institutions, responsibilities, and working style is a fundamental condition for successful participation in this system.

discussed as a whole, it is primarily strengthened through multilateral institutions and conferences.


SDC engages in ongoing dialogue with important multilateral partner institutions. In this way, it helps to make division of responsibilities and coordination within the multilateral system more effective. Moreover, SDC representatives in the executive bodies of different organisations meet regularly in order to discuss aspects of the system and assess the consequences for work in their own institutions.

Of equal importance is more accurate knowledge about the achievements of multilateral partner institutions. SDC undertakes its own evaluations in this respect. It participates in joint evaluations with partners, carries out visits in the field, and assigns cooperation offices to conduct periodic monitoring. With respect to cooperation among multilateral institutions at the local level, SDC aims to use donor committees as a forum for dialogue to enhance efficiency. SDC will also seek and make use of further options for enhancing the functioning of the multilateral system.


Effective collaboration in the multilateral system Active participation in multilateral institutions should allow SDC to incorporate its positions on development into the multilateral system in an effective manner. It demands individual institutions to fulfil their own responsibilities as efficiently as possible. Collaboration in the multilateral system is carried out primarily through interventions in executive bodies, as well as through informal and formal contacts with partner institutions. Within these executive bodies, SDC representatives need, in addition to proven negotiating talent, credible commitment to the individual institution as well as a good network of relationships with the institution’s management and administration. This in turn makes it necessary to take a clear position. Wherever possible, SDC acts through strategic alliances with countries that share its concerns, and works systematically to develop such alliances.

Participation in multilateral debate requires intensive internal cooperation and agreement within SDC’s various departments and services, as well as with important external partners. Accordingly, it is worthwhile to make financial contributions to multilateral institutions, networks and initiatives, including international NGOs, that are earmarked for special purposes, with the objective of complementing multilateral activities. Support for Swiss networks with a specific thematic focus contributes to effective participation in multilateral debate.

SDC aims to conduct a structured dialogue and expand the exchange of experience among bilateral and multilateral engagements, for the purpose of optimising cooperation with multilateral institutions. Accordingly, SDC participates actively in the formulation of strategies

Partnerships with a specific thematic focus can serve to incorporate field experience and specialised SDC competence into dialogue with multilateral institutions. Such partnerships lead to increased know-how on both sides over the long term. Additional fixed contributions to the shaping of policy and to knowledge management in high-priority multilateral institutions are possible as well. These include, for example, much of the work done in the area of humanitarian aid. SDC may also elect to engage in cofinancing and parallel financing of projects, or finance secondments of its own personnel to multilateral institutions for specific purposes.

for multilateral institutions. SDC also collaborates with multilateral institutions in carrying out operational activities.



Systematic exploitation of synergies SDC aims to optimise the synergies between its multilateral and bilateral work. It expects to apply lessons learned from the experiences of its multilateral partners to modifications at the programme and organisational levels. But SDC also aims to capitalise on its own experience and make its knowledge accessible within the multilateral system. In addition, it strives to enhance its cooperation with other federal offices and external partners.

SDC aims to achieve greater efficiency and coherence in representing its interests in the multilateral system. To this end, it intends to participate in the preparation and implementation of decisions taken at major (UN) conferences (e.g. Johannesburg). The systematic exploitation of synergies in multilateral work undertaken by Switzerland is indispensable, particularly with respect to achieving the Millennium Development Goals.


SDC consciously fosters synergies between its multilateral and bilateral work. In this regard, it tries to optimise linkages between its own bilateral experience and its multilateral activities and, vice versa, it applies what it has learned in the multilateral arena to its bilateral work. It thereby strengthens its position as a dynamic, innovative development organisation that is open to learning. This applies especially to systematic feedback on the work of the Development Assistance Committee (DAC) received in all sections of SDC. Synergies need to be exploited within SDC (in the field as well as at headquarters), within the federal administration, and in collaboration with other actors in Swiss development cooperation. While SDC has overall responsibility for United Nations funds and programmes, it shares the responsibility for international financial institutions with seco. Overall coordination of work with most of the specialised agencies in the UN system, on the other hand, is the responsibility of federal offices with relevant expertise. But SDC is also responsible to these offices for coordination of Swiss positions on North-South issues. In all these institutions, SDC assumes the role of shareholder and stakeholder.

In institutions where several federal offices are involved, SDC aims to achieve a clear division of labour within the federal administration. This applies to new initiatives and networks, and particularly to the area of global public goods. SDC also strives for efficient ways to represent certain interests within the Bretton Woods Institutions and the various development banks. With respect to representation of interests in the UN and other institutions, it examines opportunities for synergies within and outside federal departments. Membership in the key UN bodies offers an excellent opportunity to do this. All units concerned within SDC participate jointly in Switzerland’s multilateral efforts in a coordinated fashion, and in an active and critical manner.


Conscious selection of multilateral partners SDC purposely focuses its commitment on strategically significant multilateral institutions, networks and fora. This institutional prioritising allows it to incorporate its development concerns and apply its own resources effectively within the multilateral system. SDC aims to participate selectively in new forms of multilateral cooperation, such as multilateral initiatives and networks, while openly and critically examining their relative importance. To make an effective effort in the multilateral context, SDC must periodically assess its cooperation with partner countries and focus on areas that are relevant to its responsibilities. In selecting and evaluating multilateral institutions, SDC applies a number of criteria. All multilateral institutions are classified in three priority categories, based on monitoring, in order to obtain a clear ranking. The priority loops in the diagram below facilitate appropriate allocation of financial and human resources. A. High-priority institutions, in which SDC participates with above-average financial and/or human resources; B. Medium-priority institutions that are important and necessary, in which SDC is currently involved to only a modest degree;

For institutions in priority loop A, institutional strategy papers must be formulated to cover thematic priorities and proposed use of financial and human resources. Pertinent profiles that give brief information about the contribution and interests of SDC are maintained for all other multilateral partner institutions.

The priority loops have

Switzerland is guided by the multilateral principle of burden-sharing, according to which it contributes to core financing of multilateral institutions in proportion to its relative economic strength. Contributions reflect the politics of multilateral priorities, and must be financeable as well as foreseeable. Switzerland recognises that it does not have equal room for manoeuvre in all institutions, for legal reasons as well as reasons of domestic and foreign policy.

approved by the SDC board

a medium-term focus of three to five years and cover all types of multilateral institutions. They are periodically assessed and of directors, incorporating regular evaluations of performance and cooperation from the relevant departments and divisions of SDC.

C. Low-priority institutions, in which SDC involvement is below average. SDC involvement is limited to a specific thematic focus.









Participation in multilateral dialogue with a thematic focus SDC aims to achieve a clear thematic focus within the multilateral system and vis-Ă vis its partners. Wherever appropriate, it is also willing to assume a leadership role. SDC intends to integrate its development concerns through contributions to the formulation of policy and strategy as well as to knowledge management within multilateral institutions. SDC takes new themes from the international discourse and checks their importance. SDC perceives the rich international discourse on multilateral issues as a strategic opportunity

SDC pursues certain thematic priorities in its multilateral engagements. These priorities are derived from its Strategy 2010 and have a special added value in multilateral terms. Their focus is on poverty alleviation and on reducing

structural inequities and sources of conflict. SDC also makes commitments in areas that are of special importance from the point of view of multilateral and global governance.

to influence dialogue. In its involvement in multilateral dialogue and in the positions it takes on

SDC’S THEMATIC PRIORITIES A Multilateral and global governance: Development financing and coordination; maintenance

of a strong multilateral system with division of labour; appropriate representation of developing countries in multilateral institutions; international financial architecture, including debt relief; market access in the framework of the international trade system.

policy-normative topics, it focuses on internationally acknowledged norms and


Crisis prevention and crisis management: Analysis and reduction of multiple sources of conflict; alleviation of suffering caused by conflict; rehabilitation; peace-building measures. Prevention and readiness, as well as strengthening of efficient and adequate mechanisms for reacting to crises and disasters. Use of the multilateral level as a vehicle of awareness for the benefit of current and potential victims of suffering.


Governance: Creation of conditions conducive to a democratic order; good governance; empowerment of civil society and equality of opportunity.


Social development: Fostering social equity; reduction of inequalities and access to health care, water, and education.


Labour and income: Improvement of the conditions for poverty-oriented and sustained growth; development of the private sector; employment and socio-political measures that support employment of the disadvantaged.


Natural resources and environment: Promotion of sustainable resource management; prevention of and protection against natural, environmental and technological disasters.


Knowledge for development: Promotion of scientific exchanges and elimination of the digital

values, the hallmarks of Swiss foreign policy, and SDC’s own guiding principles. In this way, SDC helps to set international norms, and also raises the level of coherence in the shaping of relations between the national and international levels.

divide as a new form of inequity.

Thematic priorities and their concrete expression are adapted to individual multilateral institutions and their programme priorities. Institutional strategy papers prepared for this purpose describe thematic objectives in institutional terms, modalities of interaction, and the financial and human resources required. Because the multilateral system continually takes up new themes and launches new initiatives, SDC aims to develop a way of assessing these new trends.


Thus it regularly examines the extent to which such trends are relevant in its view, and how they might be incorporated into its own work. At the same time SDC gives consideration, in the light of its own experience, to how the multilateral system might develop along innovative lines and where it ought to establish new priorities.


Active support for partner countries SDC is committed to ensuring that the concerns of its poorest partner countries are adequately represented. To this end, it supports the poorest developing and transition countries in multilateral institutions. At the same time, SDC aims to see that these countries participate on their own in important debates and decisionmaking processes.

SDC is committed to supporting the concerns of the poorest developing and transition countries in multilateral institutions. It strives to advance their concerns when multilateral institutions establish priorities and make use of their resources. In addition, it provides technical support that allows its partner countries to participate on their own in important debates and decision-making processes. In its work with executive bodies, SDC attempts to develop and maintain alliances with partner countries in the South and the East. Together with them, and with representatives of other industrialised countries, SDC advances proposals for reform to ensure that the poorest developing and transition countries are adequately represented in the executive committees of leading organisations.

At the country level, SDC is committed to seeing that its partner countries become key actors, based on participation by members of civil society. To this end, it fosters the formulation of solid, broadly based national development strategies, such as strategies for poverty alleviation. Such strategies are indispensable in order to attain international development goals. SDC uses these strategies as a frame of reference in the formulation of its own country programmes. Within the management bodies of multilateral institutions, it makes efforts to see that other actors also focus on these strategies. SDC offers support in the development and execution of new forms of cooperation, such as budgetary assistance and pooling agreements that involve both bilateral and multilateral actors. It also makes efforts to see that multilateral actors carry out their responsibilities in a cooperative way.



Closer inclusion of civil society, the private sector and the research community SDC encourages the inclusion of civil society, the private sector and the research community in all aspects of the multilateral system. In particular, it aims to mobilise as many relevant actors as possible for the production of global public goods. Civil society, the private sector and the research community are increasingly

SDC WORKS TO ENSURE THAT A Multilateral institutions open themselves to

civil society and the private sector, take their concerns seriously, include them as partners when implementing their own activities, and incorporate their constructive criticism as a source of information in their own controlling system.

important stakeholders at the national and international levels. Often they are originators as well as important members of multilateral initiatives and networks. Their representatives have


As many representatives as possible from civil society, as well as important actors in the research community and the private sector, participate in the production of global public goods, thereby fulfilling their own responsibilities.


Internationally acknowledged codes of conduct are established for the benefit of civil society and the private sector.


Incentives are created, especially for the private sector and the research community, which allow them to make contributions to economic development that create jobs and alleviate poverty.


Civil society, the private sector and the research community cooperate constructively as partners at the national level and in the framework of multilateral relations.


Multilateral institutions cooperate more closely in work at the local level, with local and international representatives of civil society, the private sector, and the research community. In addition, SDC aims to include Swiss development organisations and corporations as sources of information and as partners in assessing the work of multilateral institutions.


Civil society, the private sector and the research community are given an enhanced role in providing information about multilateral cooperation in Switzerland. SDC offers a suitable platform for doing this.

a voice at UN conferences and often work closely with multilateral institutions of which they themselves are not members.



Taking account of additional Swiss interests SDC also takes account of additional Swiss interests when participating in multilateral cooperation. The objective is to strengthen the political and economic position of Switzerland.

SDC COLLABORATES CLOSELY WITH OTHER FEDERAL OFFICES IN THE FOLLOWING AREAS A It campaigns to locate newly established multilateral institutions in Geneva, and to relocate

those considering a change of venue, in Geneva. SDC offers to organise international conferences whenever the opportunity arises. To this end, it collaborates in particular with the Directorate of Political Affairs in the Swiss Foreign Ministry and with the diplomatic mission in Geneva.


In the constitution of managerial bodies of multilateral institutions, SDC seeks opportunities that simultaneously allow for appropriate representation of the poorest developing and transition countries as well as representation for Switzerland.


In cooperation with seco, SDC attempts to gain advantages for the Swiss private sector when business orders are given and loans are made to multilateral institutions in the capital markets.


SDC supports the employment of Swiss citizens in multilateral institutions, particularly employment of women, and provides political support in the managerial bodies of these institutions to this end. SDC also seconds its personnel for specific purposes. As part of its training programme, it offers young professionals the opportunity to gain initial experience in multilateral development cooperation and humanitarian aid.



Communicating Switzerland’s multilateral commitments more effectively SDC aims to enhance and systematise exchange of information and opinions with political decision-makers about its multilateral objectives and achievements. It is also SDC’s objective to enhance understanding of multilateral policy in the Swiss political community and among the public.

SDC fosters exchange of opinion and cooperation with organisations and representatives from politics, civil society, the private sector and the scientific community. It brings the concerns of multilateral cooperation into the Swiss political process and also introduces its own positions, values and initiatives into the multilateral arena. SDC engages in active communication about multilateral themes and increasingly employs existing SDC information vehicles (publications, the SDC annual conference, the annual press conference) to advance multilateral concerns. It presents concrete, positive achievements as success stories. Examples are offered that specifically illustrate the problem-solving capacities of multilateral institutions. These include cases in which SDC has assumed a leading role, showing how Switzerland’s commitment had an impact in terms of the multiplier effect.


Personification of Switzerland’s multilateral commitments in the form of Swiss personnel in international institutions and networks is a further form of effective communication. More attention should be given to the crucial selfinterest of the Swiss public in such topics as security, prevention of migration, market access, jobs, social equity and environmental protection. In the final analysis, it is important that SDC and its own personnel maintain direct contact with the public through panel discussions, public events, articles in the press, and an attractive web site.


Financial and human resources SDC intends to make adjustments in allocation of its resources in light of the growing importance of multilateral cooperation. One third of SDC’s financial resources will be allocated to multilateral cooperation, with periodic monitoring of the suitability of dividing resources between bilateral and multilateral cooperation. In order to play an active role in the shaping of multilateral policy and cooperation, SDC will reinforce its human resources at headquarters and in the field. It will also adapt the structure of its multilateral department in light of this strategy.

AS PERSONNEL ARE OF CENTRAL IMPORTANCE IN IMPLEMENTING THE MULTILATERAL STRATEGY, SDC AIMS TO A Accelerate the dissemination of multilateral knowledge and competence within its own ranks.

In particular, this will involve, among other things, participation in advanced training courses, field visits, coordination meetings among donors, and conferences devoted to special topics.


Assign equal weight to multilateral and bilateral experience in personnel planning.


Give greater emphasis to including all SDC departments in cooperation with international financial institutions.


Maintain a culture of lively exchange of experience and information between all SDC departments and the multilateral system, and vice versa.


Establish trans-departmental working groups to deal with important themes and institutions in order to define their significance.


Take care to see that its departments pragmatically agree on division of labour and cooperation in accordance with specific areas of competence.


Foster dialogue between SDC personnel and the diplomatic service.

Support rotation of personnel among departments and creation of 50-50 jobs where working time is distributed between two departments. This will be based on SDC’s new personnel strategy.



Monitoring multilateral institutions The growing complexity of the multilateral system requires SDC to undertake continual monitoring of its institutional and thematic priorities with a view to the preparation of strategy papers. In addition, by monitoring its engagement in the most important organisations in the multilateral system, SDC also obtains answers to the following questions:

IS THE MULTILATERAL INSTITUTION A relevant to development? Does it have the capacity to influence the international framework A A

conditions, global governance, the system of international development cooperation, and the production of global public goods? efficient, effective and sustainable in its operational activities? open to the private sector and to civil society?

DOES IT HAVE A clear comparative advantages, focused objectives, specific and contextual expertise, A A

acceptability, operational capacity, rapid response capability, etc., by comparison with other institutions? capacity and willingness to engage in dialogue, learning processes, and innovation? Are partners ready to engage in learning partnerships and capable of doing so? good governance in terms of transparency, accountability, and co-determination, particularly in developing and transition countries?

WILL THE WORK OF SWITZERLAND/SDC A have a significant influence on the institution or greater influence in future? A result in added value that has an impact on development? A create substantial synergies with other SDC programmes? A help to safeguard other Swiss interests? IS SDC REQUIRED TO A cover new ground or change its priorities? A increase its capacity or make adaptations?



Plan of implementation and controlling A plan of implementation, outlining the most important measures, responsibilities and deadlines, will be put into effect in order to execute the strategy presented here.

Monitoring of the strategy will take place on two levels: monitoring of achievements will be carried out by means of selected key indicators, while progress in putting the plan of implementation into effect will also be monitored. The results will be presented to SDC management in an annual report on implementation.

Institutional priorities and establishment of thematic priorities are instruments of strategic controlling that allow SDC management to undertake periodic monitoring of the priorities that have been established for its multilateral engagement. Strategy papers focusing on particular institutions can be used for controlling at the institutional level, and should guarantee the coherence of SDC’s position, despite any differences in the interests of shareholders and stakeholders. Four years after this strategy enters into force, an interim evaluation will be carried out and any necessary modifications will be made.



TERMS Bilateral Development Cooperation Direct cooperation between two countries. Burden-Sharing Principle according to which member states in multilateral institutions share the core financing of a particular institution among themselves. Although the share assumed by each country is determined by its relative economic strength, country contributions have also developed for historical reasons and are thus not the same in every organisation. Co-Financing Co-financing refers to a situation in which a donor country, alone or in partnership with other countries, finances a specific project or programme that is part of a development bank. The institution retains responsibility for the project in such cases. Coherence of Swiss Policy Comprehensive formulation and coordinated execution of all governmental measures in areas relevant to development, i.e. trade, finance, economy, agriculture, research, the labour market, refugee and migration policy, etc. Cooperation Offices Representations established by SDC, usually in priority countries in the South or the East (except in the case of humanitarian aid), which have local responsibility for overall direction of Switzerland’s country programme of development. Development Financing Development financing comes from a great variety of sources and is by no means restricted to official development assistance. The Financing for Development Conference in Monterrey, Mexico, in March 2002 addressed the entire range of development financing, beginning with local resources and extending to official development assistance (ODA), international financial flows, trade, debt relief measures, and the shaping of international financial architecture and global framework conditions.


Development Coordination Development coordination aims to harmonise measures for promoting development in such a way that they interact to achieve the optimal impact. It should also be based on common understanding of the concerns and objectives of all interested parties, i.e. the people affected, the countries involved, donors, development agencies, etc. Instruments of development coordination include the Comprehensive Development Framework (CDF), the United Nations Development Assistance Framework (UNDAF), and, in the realm of humanitarian aid, the Consolidated Appeal Process (CAP). Sector-Wide Approaches (SWAPS) and Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers (PRSPs) can also serve as instruments of development coordination, even if this is not their main purpose. Development Policy The sum total of all political, economic, social and ecological resources and measures employed to shape development in such a way that the conditions of life and general well-being in developing and transition countries are permanently enhanced. Donor Committees Groups of donor countries that come together for geographic, thematic or other reasons, and coordinate their development policies (e.g. OECD/DAC). Global Governance A policy on global order that aims to create formal and informal global conditions involving all actors – the state, civil society, and the private sector – in order to deal with the growing interdependencies of a globalised world. Regulations on trade, competition, currency, finance, social order, migration policy and the environment are the most important components of global governance. Global Public Goods Global public goods are universally used commodities, i.e. they are available in principle to everyone, including future generations. They include natural global commons (climate, the ozone layer), humanmade global commons (universal norms and principles such as human rights and knowledge), and global conditions (peace, health, financial stability, free trade, social equity, sustainability).

International Development Goals International goals of development acknowledged by important actors (G-8, UN, World Bank, etc.) which the international community aims to achieve by the year 2015. These goals and targets are the same whether they are referred to as international development goals ( or millennium development goals ( They are concerned with the following issues: • Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger • Achieve universal primary education • Promote gender equality and empower women • Reduce child mortality and improve maternal health • Combat HIV/Aids, malaria and other diseases • Ensure environmental sustainability • Develop a global partnership for development Multi-bilateral Assistance Multi-bilateral assistance refers to a situation in which a donor country such as Switzerland partially or entirely finances the implementation of a specific project or programme run by a multilateral organisation. Multilateral Assistance General contributions not tied to a particular project that are made to the core programme of an international development or humanitarian institution whose members consist exclusively of countries. Included are the statuary membership dues, capital contributions to development banks, and contributions to development funds, as well as general, non-tied annual contributions to UN funds and programmes. Multilateral Collaboration Development cooperation and collaboration with transition countries carried out in the framework of general programmes run by multilateral institutions or in cooperation with them. Multilateral Policy A process of elaborating internationally binding norms and principles that normally takes place in institutionalised form, i.e. within a multilateral institution.

Multilateral System A system in which multilateral institutions and their partners collaborate in order to deal with common problems and challenges. NGOs Non-governmental organisations exist in every country. They are non-profit organisations that, among other things, focus on alleviating poverty. They are financed by their own fund-raising efforts or by public resources (usually from donor countries). In the multilateral context, they frequently engage in global awareness-raising campaigns concerned with specific social, economic, environmental and human rights problems, or sometimes represent their own interests directly. Official Development Assistance (ODA) The OECD defines official development assistance (ODA) as the total of all transactions which • are provided by public bodies (Confederation, cantons and communes) • are granted at concessional conditions (gifts or loans at low rates of interest) • have as the main objective the promotion of economic and social development of recipient countries • are intended to benefit countries or territories on the list drawn up by the OECD. Operational Activities This term refers to concrete implementation of development programmes and projects, which takes place primarily in developing and transition countries, with the central offices of bilateral or multilateral institutions and NGOs playing a leading role. Parallel Financing Execution of programmes run by multilateral institutions on a joint basis involving several donor countries, with donors administering their financial contributions themselves and programme execution usually done with a local partner or a multilateral institution. Partnerships Agreements between two partners, usually a donor country and a multilateral institution, which first determine and then continually monitor and adapt strategic and thematic goals of cooperation. This constitutes a form of multibilateral cooperation.


Pooling Agreements Joint financing of a development project by numerous bilateral and multilateral development agencies, in which financial resources are pooled and then administered on behalf of all donors, according to commonly agreed regulations. Depending on institutional capacity, the pool is managed by a recipient country or by a (usually multilateral) donor. Secondments A process by which a donor country makes personnel available to a multilateral institution for a certain period of time for strategic reasons (e.g. increased effectiveness or transfer of know-how) so that they can carry out commonly agreed tasks. The donor country bears the costs involved. Sector-Wide Approach (SWAP) A form of development cooperation in which the most important donors active in a particular sector focus on a sectoral strategy defined by the recipient. The SWAP usually involves different forms of budgetary assistance. Shareholder As an investor/member of an institution, a shareholder has interests as a partner and a party who shares responsibility, representing these interests in the institution’s managerial and oversight bodies, as well as to the institution’s management and to third parties. Stakeholder A representative of specific interests directly associated with development policy and with SDC’s foreign policy mandate.

MULTILATERAL INSTITUTIONS Bretton Woods-Institutions These consist of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank. DAC The Development Assistance Committee. As part of the OECD (Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development), the DAC ( monitors the development activities of industrialised countries, is involved in coordination efforts and joint procedures, and makes an effort to capitalise on and disseminate knowledge and experience gained in the process. Development Banks The leading multilateral development banks are the World Bank and the four regional development banks: The African Development Bank (, the Asian Development Bank (, the European Development Bank (, and the InterAmerican Development Bank ( Less important in significance are the so-called subregional development banks in Central America, West Africa, East Africa, etc. G-8 The group of eight industrialised countries, composed of the USA, Japan, Germany, Great Britain, France, Italy, Canada and Russia. The G-8 holds regular meetings to discuss topics of mutual importance, during which they take far-reaching decisions. The G-8 group is not regarded as a multilateral institution in the conventional sense. International Financial Institutions Included in this category are the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, the regional development banks, and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (

Multilateral Initiatives and Networks Forms of cooperation between multilateral institutions, states, civil society, and the private sector that focus on developing problem-solving approaches, usually for international problems of a specific nature. The Global Knowledge Partnership (GKP), which makes global knowledge accessible to the South, is an example. Multilateral (Development) Institutions All institutionalised forms of international cooperation, including governmental and in exceptional cases non-governmental actors in many countries (more than just donor and recipient countries). These include all international organisations involved with development. NGOs, international initiatives and international networks often collaborate with multilateral institutions in accordance with established regulations. One area of activity of multilateral (development) institutions is participation in major conferences, usually organised by the UN, and participation in conference follow-up activities. UNDP United Nations Development Programme. UN System The entire UN network, consisting of the core UN agencies and their funds and programmes, the specialised organisations, and associated organisations such as the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank. World Bank The World Bank Group consists of the following organisations: IBRD International Bank for Reconstruction & Development (, IDA International Development Association (, IFC International Finance Corporation (, MIGA Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (, ICSID International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (

SWISS FEDERAL OFFICES FFA Federal Finance Administration (, Federal Department of Finance. FOAG Federal Office for Agriculture (, Federal Department of Economic Affairs. FOR Federal Office for Refugees (, Federal Department of Justice and Police. DPA Directorate of Political Affairs, Swiss Ministry of Foreign Affairs ( SAEFL Swiss Agency for the Environment, Forests and Landscape (, Federal Department of Environment, Transport, Energy and Communications (UVEK). SDC Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (, Federal Department of Foreign Affairs. seco State Secretary for Economic Affairs (, Federal Department of Economic Affairs.

WTO World Trade Organisation (


SDC Department of Development Policy and Multilateral Cooperation Freiburgstrasse 130 CH–3003 Bern Telephone +41 (0)31 322 34 76 Fax +41 (0)31 324 16 92 E-mail

The SDC Multilateral Strategy  
The SDC Multilateral Strategy  

Cooperation, Objectives, Implementation, Institutions