From urgency to sustainability: the President of the Swiss Confederation Ignazio Cassis opens summit on effective development cooperation in Geneva

Swiss President Ignazio Cassis

Geneva, 12.12.2022 

On  December 12, 2022, in Geneva, President of the Confederation Ignazio Cassis opened the summit of the high-level conference on effectiveness of the development cooperation.. Around 75 ministers and 3 heads of state participate, alongside more than 3000 people attending virtually or in person. In his opening address, President Cassis underlined that only a stronger and more effective cooperation can respond to the global challenges. True to the principle of inclusivity, the summit brings together government representatives, donor countries and civil society to anchor sustainable development more strongly in local realities.

The effectiveness of development cooperation has long been a key topic for Switzerland. The country aims to inspire others through its work in this area – notably through the strong anchoring of the SDC in beneficiary countries and an ecosystem in Geneva that unites science and diplomacy.

Since 2019, Switzerland has represented the donor countries as co-chair of the Global Partnership for Effective Development Cooperation. In this role, and as the host country, it is responsible for drafting the outcome document of the summit in Geneva. Switzerland’s commitment to a coordinated approach to development cooperation is consistent with its priority of promoting an effective and flexible multilateral system, and is also in line with its objectives for its upcoming role on the UN Security Council from 2023.

A plea for multilateralism
“Turning away from international bodies and taking the risk of pitting entire regions against each other is a very dangerous trend”, said President Cassis, adding that the withdrawal from multilateralism is not a solution. “International Geneva, which welcomes us today, has taught us that unity is strength! What differentiates us should not divide us, but enrich us! Common values and a mutual respect are our compass. We must take responsibility and act together. This is the raison d’être of the Global Partnership.” Regarding the difficulties that multilateralism is confronted to, President Cassis stressed that humanity faces challenges that it can only be overcome through stronger and more effective cooperation.

President Cassis also discussed the importance of the partnership and conference, which unite not only donor and beneficiary countries, but also multilateral organisations, civil society, the private sector and representatives of parliaments and trade unions. In particular, he emphasised the key role science will play in the future.

Half-way point of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development
The high-level meeting in Geneva, which takes place at the half-way point of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, faces a twin challenge: on the one hand, there is the need for progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals, whose implementation has slowed due to the numerous ongoing crises. On the other hand, there is the need to improve the resilience of the countries most threatened by climate change. Multilateral development organisations must be used to ensure the 2030 Agenda and its Sustainable Development Goals take account of local realities.

The summit emphasises that effective cooperation is results-oriented, involves all types of partners, is transparent and accountable, and builds the necessary trust for effective partnerships and improved outcomes in the relevant countries.

The conference is due to close with a declaration emphasising the importance of national leadership and responsibility in efforts to advance the 2030 Agenda. It will also reaffirm the need to build capacity at the national level, to continue active and inclusive dialogues among all stakeholders on development priorities and strategies, and to strengthen mutual trust and accountability among development actors through better and more accessible data. The reforms and toolkit of the Global Partnership are also due to be approved.

A key role for data and monitoring
In addition to its role as host country and co-chair of the Global Partnership, Switzerland also chairs MOPAN, a network of donor countries that cooperate on monitoring the performance of multilateral development organisations. To mark the 20th anniversary of MOPAN’s founding, Mr Cassis will open a high-level event on the challenges of the multilateral system.

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