Federal Council bleeds development cooperation dry

The Federal Council presented the key figures for the 2025 budget today. It also provides for a reduction of 1.4% in international cooperation (IC). Just last year, in the dispatch on IC 25 - 28, it had planned an increase of 2.5% to finance the reconstruction of Ukraine. The Federal Council has only one way out of this mess: it must take the consultation on the IC Dispatch seriously and provide extraordinary funding for reconstruction.

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Parliamentary Services 3003 Bern

This press release was issued by Alliance Sud, the development policy competence center supported by terre des hommes schweiz and other Swiss aid organizations.

The CHF 1.5 billion reserved for Ukraine in the IC Dispatch is already a dramatic shift at the expense of the poorest countries. The planned growth would only generate CHF 650 million, the rest would have to be cut in the South. With a cut instead of an increase in 2025, the clear-cutting will be complete. In 75% the Consultation responses on the IC strategy (IC) 25-28, it was demanded that aid to Ukraine should not be at the expense of other IC regions and priorities, such as sub-Saharan Africa or the Middle East. If the Federal Council makes its own plan even worse with the cut in Budget 25, it is disregarding the consultation process all the more.

Extraordinariness instead of an unnecessary bending of the law

There is a solution that the Finance Committee of the National Council (FK-N) also prefers, namely the creation of a fund for the reconstruction of Ukrainewhich is booked as an extraordinary expense and not as part of the regular international cooperation budget. The Russian attack on Ukraine marks a "turning point". It undoubtedly represents a special development that cannot be controlled by the Confederation in accordance with the Financial Budget Act, which the Federal Council acknowledges, as it recognizes the accommodation of people seeking protection from Ukraine as extraordinary. The federal government does have financial leeway for this, as the enclosed factsheet from Alliance Sud shows.

Financing the reconstruction of Ukraine from international cooperation funds, on the other hand, contradicts the "Federal Act on International Development Cooperation and Humanitarian Aid". This stipulates that development cooperation should "primarily support poorer developing countries, regions and population groups". The reconstruction of a European country is not envisaged and therefore probably does not comply with the law. Until 2024, there was also the "Eastern Europe Act" for the support of countries of the former Soviet Union; however, this law expires this year and therefore there is no basis for financing the reconstruction of Ukraine from the regular IC budget.

"In the polycrisis, savings must not be made on the poorest. The reconstruction of Ukraine must be financed extraordinarily. Wealthy Switzerland has sufficient financial leeway for this. This is also in the interests of Switzerland's security," says Andreas Missbach, Managing Director of Alliance Sud. This is why a broad alliance of civil society organizations and personalities from the worlds of culture and science launched A campaign for strong development cooperation.

Further information:

Andreas Missbach, Managing Director Alliance Sud, Tel. 031 390 93 30, andreas.missbach@alliancesud.ch

Side dish: Factsheet on extraordinary financing for the reconstruction of Ukraine

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