Switzerland increases its commitment to development and gender equality

29 Nov 2013

Bern - The Federal Council is strengthening Switzerland's commitment to development and gender equality via the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women), in order to make an even more decisive contribution to reducing poverty, eliminating discrimination and improving the situation of disadvantaged women and girls.

To this end and based on its positive assessment of the effectiveness of these organisations, Switzerland is increasing its overall contribution to UNDP and UN Women. Its funding to UNDP is to go up from CHF 54 million to CHF 60 million per year for 2013 and 2014. The amount to UN Women will go up to CHF 12 million for 2013 and CHF 14 million for 2014. The Federal Council's decision takes due account of these organisations' important mandates and the express will of the Swiss Parliament, which increased the framework credit for international development cooperation for the 2013-2016 period.

UNDP seeks to significantly reduce poverty as well as inequality and exclusion in developing countries. To this end, it supports countries to formulate and implement their own development strategies and programmes. UN Women works to promote gender equality, help eliminate gender discrimination and empower women and girls. To this end, UNDP and UN Women work together with the other UN organisations, with governments, NGOs and the private sector. The fields of activity of UNDP and UN Women are fully consistent with the concerns and priorities of the Swiss Development Cooperation set out in the dispatch on Switzerland's international cooperation for 2013-2016.

In today's decision, the Federal Council granted the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) CHF 60 million each year for 2013 and 2014. For the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women) it  allocated contributions of CHF 12 million for 2013 and CHF 14 million for 2014.

Both organisations belong to the thirteen priority multilateral institutions of Switzerland's international development cooperation strategy, which has been approved by the Parliament. When it adopted the 2013-2016 dispatch on international cooperation, the Parliament endorsed the goal to increase Switzerland's official development assistance (ODA) to 0.5% of gross national income (GNI) by 2015.

Through its contributions to UNDP and UN Women, Switzerland is helping to overcome global challenges, while safeguarding economic and foreign policy interests by reducing inequality and poverty – and thereby conflicts – which can have an impact on Switzerland. The contributions will allow Switzerland to exercise further important leverage over the policy and strategies employed by the UNDP and UN Women.

UNDP's priorities are sustainable development, building up and consolidating broad-based democratic governance and strengthening the resilience of recipient countries.  UNDP is providing an increasing amount of support to fragile states, in particular in crisis prevention and reconstruction. UN Women's priorities are the economic empowerment of disadvantaged women, increasing participation in decision-making, putting gender equality into practice in programme and budget planning, preventing and ending violence against women and girls, especially in conflict situations, strengthening women's involvement in peacebuilding, and continuing to develop standards, policies and laws on gender equality.

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