Switzerland is a key multilateral player with a strong humanitarian tradition and a commitment to addressing fragility. Multilateral organisations and civil society organisations (CSOs) are its main implementing partners. Switzerland’s total official development assistance (ODA) increased in 2022 to USD 4.5 billion (preliminary data) due to an increase in in-donor refugee costs. This represented 0.56% of gross national income (GNI).

Find the methodological notes behind the profile here.

Switzerland’s International Cooperation Strategy 2021-24 identifies four thematic priorities: 1) creating decent local jobs; 2) addressing climate change; 3) reducing the causes of forced and irregular migration; and 4) promoting the rule of law, building on its extensive multilateral and humanitarian experience. Within this new strategy, Switzerland is planning to focus its programmes on Asia, Eastern Europe, North Africa and the Middle East, and sub-Saharan Africa.

Switzerland sees its multilateral engagement as an important pillar of its development co-operation to address global and regional development challenges, including climate change, fragility, emergency relief, and the integration of developing countries into the global economy. Switzerland uses multilateral partnerships, particularly for delivering emergency relief and to encourage more pro-climate private sector investment in developing countries.

The OECD-DAC mid-term review conducted in 2022 recognised Switzerland’s efforts to increase the focus of its bilateral co-operation by reducing its number of priority partner countries, as well as its strong commitment to gender equality and governance. It encouraged Switzerland to continue efforts to safeguard the focus of its ODA on poverty reduction and sustainable development, clarify its strategies for engaging civil society, and communicate with the public. It also encouraged Switzerland to further pursue efforts towards coherent policies for sustainable development. Learn more about Switzerland’s 2022 mid-term review.

Switzerland provided USD 4.5 billion (preliminary data) of ODA in 2022, representing 0.56% of GNI.1 This was an increase of 16.1% in real terms in volume and an increase in share of GNI from 0.50% in 2021. Excluding in-donor refugee costs, its ODA fell. Switzerland’s ODA budget had been declining since its peak in 2016and started to increase again in 2020. Switzerland is in line with its domestic objective of a 0.46% ODA/GNI ratio over 2021-24, but below international commitments to achieve a 0.7% ODA/GNI ratio by 2030. Within Switzerland’s ODA portfolio in 2021, 98.9% was provided in the form of grants and 1.1% in the form of non-grants.2

Switzerland ranked ninth among Development Assistance Committee (DAC) member countries in relation to its ODA/GNI ratio in 2022. Switzerland is among the DAC members that channelled the highest share of its bilateral ODA support to and through CSOs in 2021 (32.4%).

Switzerland is committed to several international targets, Development Assistance Committee standards and recommendations. Learn more about DAC recommendations.

Switzerland provided a lower share of its ODA bilaterally in 2021 than in 2020. Gross bilateral ODA was 75.8% of total ODA. Thirty per cent of gross bilateral ODA was channelled through multilateral organisations (earmarked contributions). Switzerland allocated 24.2% of total ODA as core contributions to multilateral organisations.

In 2022, Switzerland provided USD 215.7 million of gross bilateral ODA to Ukraine to respond to the impacts of Russia’s war of aggression, of which USD 136.6 million was humanitarian assistance (preliminary data). In 2021, it provided USD 45.8 million.

In 2022, Switzerland provided USD 127.4 million in ODA for the COVID-19 response. Regarding COVID-19 vaccines, donations of excess doses to developing countries accounted for USD 18.8 million of ODA. In 2020 and 2021, Switzerland’s total bilateral support for COVID-19 response was USD 593.3 million and USD 443.5 million, respectively.

In 2021, Switzerland provided USD 1.9 billion of gross ODA to the multilateral system, an increase of 13.1% in real terms from 2020. Of this, USD 959 million was core multilateral ODA, while non-core contributions were earmarked for a specific country, region, theme or purpose. Project-type funding earmarked for a specific theme and/or country accounted for 26.1% of Switzerland’s non-core contributions and 73.9% was programmatic funding (to pooled funds and specific-purpose programmes and funds).

Sixty-eight per cent of Switzerland’s total contributions to multilateral organisations in 2021 was allocated to the World Bank and the UN system (in descending order).

The UN system received 41.1% of Switzerland’s multilateral contributions, mainly in the form of earmarked contributions. Out of a total volume of USD 770.3 million to the UN system, the top three UN recipients of Switzerland’s support (core and earmarked contributions) were UNDP (USD 123.2 million), WFP (USD 110 million) and UNICEF (USD 61.6 million).

See the section on Geographic and sectoral focus of ODA for the breakdown of bilateral allocations, including ODA earmarked through the multilateral development system. Learn more about multilateral development finance.

In 2021, Switzerland’s bilateral spending remained stable compared to the previous year. It provided USD 3 billion of gross bilateral ODA (which includes earmarked contributions to multilateral organisations). This represented an increase of 0.1% in real terms from 2020. In 2021, Switzerland focused most of its bilateral ODA on addressing the gender equality, peace, and reduced inequality goals of the UN 2030 Agenda.

In 2021, country programmable aid was 40.5% of Switzerland’s gross bilateral ODA, compared to a DAC country average of 45.2%. In-donor refugee costs were USD 368.4 million in 2021, an increase of 9.9% in real terms over 2020 and represented 12.3% of Switzerland’s gross bilateral ODA.

In 2021, Switzerland channelled bilateral ODA mainly through CSOs, multilateral institutions as earmarked funding and the public sector. Technical co-operation made up 1.9% of gross ODA in 2021.

In 2021, CSOs received USD 971.5 million of gross bilateral ODA. Ten per cent of gross bilateral ODA was allocated to CSOs as core contributions and 22.3% was channelled through CSOs to implement projects initiated by the donor (earmarked funding). From 2020 to 2021, the combined core and earmarked contributions for CSOs decreased as a share of bilateral ODA, from 39.6% to 32.4%. Learn more about ODA allocations to and through CSOs, civil society engagement in development co-operation, and the DAC Recommendation on Enabling Civil Society in Development Co-operation and Humanitarian Aid.

In 2021, Switzerland’s bilateral ODA was primarily focused on Africa. USD 680.4 million was allocated to Africa and USD 450.6 million to Asia (excluding the Middle East), accounting respectively for 22.7% and 15% of gross bilateral ODA. USD 230.1 million (7.7%) was allocated to Latin America and the Caribbean. Switzerland’s International Cooperation Strategy 2021-24 aims to progressively move out of Latin America and the Caribbean as well as Mongolia. Asia was also the main regional recipient of Switzerland’s earmarked contributions to multilateral organisations, in line with the policy priorities of its overall strategy.

In 2021, 15.1% of gross bilateral ODA went to Switzerland’s top 10 recipients. Its top 10 recipients are in priority regions and/or fragile countries, notably in West Africa and Asia. The share of gross bilateral ODA that was not allocated by country was 48.1%, with 25.6% of this unallocated bilateral ODA spent on refugees in the donor country

In 2021, the least developed countries (LDCs) received 24.1% of Switzerland’s gross bilateral ODA (USD 723.6 million). This is greater than the DAC average of 22.9%. Switzerland allocated the highest share of gross bilateral ODA (24.1%) to least developed countries in 2021, noting that 48.1% was unallocated by income group. Switzerland allocated 17.5% of gross bilateral ODA to land-locked developing countries in 2021, equal to USD 525.8 million.

Support to fragile contexts reached USD 899.5 million in 2021, representing 30% of Switzerland’s gross bilateral ODA. Twenty-three per cent of this ODA was provided in the form of humanitarian assistance, which is the same share as in 2020, while 22.4% was allocated to peace, increasing from 20.6% in 2020. Four per cent went to conflict prevention in 2021 and 2020.

Learn more about support to fragile contexts on the States of Fragility platform.

In 2021, almost half of Switzerland’s bilateral ODA was allocated to social infrastructure and services. Investments in this area accounted for 46.6% of bilateral ODA commitments (USD 1.5 billion), with a strong focus on support to government and civil society (USD 593.6 million), health (USD 461.8 million) and education (USD 227.9 million ODA for economic infrastructure and services totalled 7.8% of bilateral ODA commitments (USD 248.3 million), focusing on business (USD 82.9 million), banking and financial services (USD 79.7 million) and energy (USD 75.1 million). ). Bilateral humanitarian assistance amounted to USD 403.9 million (12.7% of bilateral ODA). In 2021, earmarked contributions to multilateral organisations focused on government and civil society, health and emergency response.

In 2020-21, Switzerland committed 63.3% of its screened bilateral allocable aid to gender equality and women’s empowerment, as either a principal or significant objective (up from 58.8% in 2018-19, compared with the 2020-21 DAC average of 44.4%). This is equal to USD 1.5 billion of bilateral ODA in support of gender equality. The share of screened bilateral allocable aid committed to gender equality and women’s empowerment as a principal objective was 3.7% in 2020-21, compared with the DAC average of 4.5%. Switzerland includes gender equality objectives in 24.2% of its ODA for humanitarian aid, compared with the 2020-21 DAC average of 21.2%. Switzerland screens the majority of activities against the DAC gender equality policy marker (94.4% in 2020-21). Switzerland committed USD 32.8 million of ODA to end violence against women and girls in 2020-21. Learn more about ODA focused on gender equality, the DAC Network on Gender Equality and the DAC Recommendation on Ending Sexual Exploitation in Development Co-operation.

In 2020-21, Switzerland committed 27.2% of its total bilateral allocable aid (USD 700.6 million) in support of the environment and the Rio Conventions (DAC average of 34.3%), up from 23.3% in 2018-19. Unpacking the environmental data further:

  • Six per cent of screened bilateral allocable aid focused on environmental issues as a principal objective, compared with the DAC average of 11.3%.

  • Twenty-three per cent of total bilateral allocable aid (USD 598.9 million) focused on climate change overall (the DAC average was 29%), up from 19.5% in 2018-19. Switzerland had a greater focus on adaptation (19.1%) than on mitigation (15.1%) in 2020-21.

  • Six per cent of total bilateral allocable aid (USD 152.2 million) focused on biodiversity (compared with the DAC average of 6.5%), down from 7.2% in 2018-19.

Learn more about climate-related development finance and the DAC Declaration on Aligning Development Co-operation with the Goals of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change.

The OECD initiative Sustainable Oceans for All shows that Switzerland committed USD 6.2 million in support of the conservation and sustainable use of the ocean in 2021, up from USD 2 million in 2020. The 2021 value is equivalent to 0.2% of Switzerland’s bilateral allocable aid. Learn more about development co-operation in support of a sustainable ocean economy and the data platform on development finance for a sustainable ocean economy.

In 2021, Switzerland also:

  • Committed USD 16.8 million of bilateral ODA to the mobilisation of domestic resources in developing countries, amounting to 0.7% of its bilateral allocable aid. Regarding the payment of local tax and custom duties for ODA-funded goods and services, Switzerland generally requests exemptions on its ODA-funded goods and services in partner countries and territories. It makes this information available on the OECD Digital Transparency Hub on the Tax Treatment of ODA.

  • Committed USD 484.5 million (18.9% of its bilateral allocable aid) to promote aid for trade and improve developing countries’ trade performance and integration into the world economy in 2021. Switzerland is among the top 10 official providers of aid for trade globally.

  • Committed USD 354.2 million (13.8% of its bilateral allocable aid) to address the immediate or underlying determinants of malnutrition in developing countries across a variety of sectors, such as maternal health, water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) or agriculture.

  • Committed USD 141.3 million (5.5% of its bilateral allocable aid) to development co-operation projects and programmes that promote the inclusion and empowerment of persons with disabilities.

Switzerland uses leveraging mechanisms to mobilise private finance for sustainable development. In 2021, the Swiss Investment Fund for Emerging Markets (SIFEM), the Swiss Agency for Development and Co-operation and the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs mobilised USD 85.3 million from the private sector through shares in collective investment vehicles and simple co-financing.

In 2020-21, 20.9% targeted middle-income countries and 0.9% LDCs and other low-income countries (LICs), noting that 78.2% was unallocated by income. During the same period, the top beneficiary region of this financing was Africa (50.5% of the total).

Mobilised private finance by Switzerland in 2020-21 mainly benefited activities in the industry, mining, construction sector (83.5%). Furthermore, over this period, 12.9% of Switzerland’s total mobilised private finance was for climate action.

Learn more about the amounts mobilised from the private sector for development.

In 2021, Switzerland’s DFI Swiss Investment Fund for Emerging Markets (SIFEM) extended USD 74.3 million in the form of private sector instruments. Of this, loans represented 26.9%, whereas equities accounted for 73.1%.

In 2021, USD 12 million (16.1%) of Switzerland’s private sector instruments were allocated to the LDCs and other LICs, with 23.7% received by middle-income countries and LMICs in particular (23.3%). Moreover, USD 44.7 million were unallocated by income, primarily including equity investments to collective investment vehicles with a regional focus.

The top three recipients included Nepal, Kenya and India, together accounting for 32.2% of Switzerland’s private sector instruments to developing countries in 2021.

In terms of sectoral distribution, 59.6% of Switzerland’s private sector instruments were extended in support of projects in the industry, mining, and construction sector, followed by banking and financial services (29.1%), energy, (4.8%) and agriculture, forestry, and fishing (3.3%). Health, education and other social sectors received USD 1.3 million through private sector instruments. A share of 9.1% of this financing focused on climate change mitigation and/or adaptation.

Three institutions share responsibility for Switzerland’s development co-operation: the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC); the Division of Peace and Human Rights (HSD) within the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs; and the Economic Cooperation and Development Division of the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) within the Federal Department of Economic Affairs, Education and Research. Every four years, the Swiss parliament adopts its Dispatch on International Co-operation, which sets strategic objectives for the country’s development and humanitarian assistance. The latest dispatch was approved in 2020 for the period 2021-24. A “Fit for Purpose” restructuring process took place within the SDC in 2022, and the institution is now divided into three geographical divisions, one thematic division and one multilateral division. The Swiss Federal Audit Office regularly assesses aspects of Swiss co-operation; for instance, it published a report on subsidies to NGO partners in humanitarian affairs in 2022.

Switzerland has a consultative and consensus-based system of government, and the preparation of the Strategy for 2021-24 involved broad public consultation. Several CSOs active in development co-operation, humanitarian assistance and global citizenship education co-ordinate through the umbrella body Alliance Sud.

Internal systems and processes help ensure the effective delivery of Switzerland’s development co-operation. Select features are shown in the table below.

The Global Partnership for Effective Development Co-operation monitoring exercise tracks the implementation of the effectiveness commitments. Following a reform of the exercise during 2020-22, the 4th global monitoring round (2023-26) has resumed. More detailed results for Switzerland based on the 2016 and 2018 Monitoring Rounds can be found here. Monitoring profiles for other providers are available here.

Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Directorate for Development and Cooperation: https://www.eda.admin.ch/sdc

State Secretary for Economic Affairs: https://www.seco.admin.ch/seco/en/home/Aussenwirtschaftspolitik_Wirtschaftliche_Zusammenarbeit/Wirtschaftliche_Zusammenarbeit_Entwicklung.html

CSO umbrella organisation Alliance Sud: https://www.alliancesud.ch/en

Switzerland’s practices on the Development Co-operation TIPs: Tools Insights Practices learning platform: https://www.oecd.org/development-cooperation-learning?tag-key+partner=switzerland#search

Member of the OECD Development Assistance Committee since 1968.

The methodological notes provide further details on the definitions and statistical methodologies applied, including the grant-equivalent methodology, core and earmarked contributions to multilateral organisations, country programmable aid, channels of delivery, bilateral ODA unspecified/unallocated, bilateral allocable aid, the gender equality policy marker, and the environment markers.


← 1. DAC members adopted the grant-equivalent methodology starting from their reporting of 2019 data as a more accurate way to count the donor effort in development loans. See the methodological notes for further details.

← 2. Non-grants include sovereign loans, multilateral loans, equity investment and loans to the private sector.

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