Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Switzerland To Increase Aid Budget

As the United Kingdom did some days ago, the Parliament of Switzerland voted for increasing overseas aid for development for the next years, despite the international economic crisis. With the additional funding, Switzerland's foreign aid value will reach 640 million Swiss francs, which is equivalent to 690 million US$. The Swiss Senate has also decided to scale the country's contribution to development and aid up to a 0.5% of the GNI before 2015. That level is still shorter than the famous goal of 0.7, but it is considerably bigger than the US 0.16%. Today, only four countries assign 0.7% of their GNI to official development aid: Denmark, Sweden, Luxemburg and the Netherlands.

The reasons declared by Switzerland's Foreign and Economy Ministers, this increase responds not only to the desire of reducing poverty, but also to advance Swiss interests abroad and to tackle the causes that lie beneath insecurity, conflicts, migration fluxes or environmental problems. The US should be taking note when even a country traditionally isolationed, neutral and barely involved in international affairs as Switzerland starts taking measures in this sense in the middle of an economic crisis.

- David Nebreda