Our second day started at 8:15 am at the Europaplatz in Bern. As usual, the leader of today’s group informed them of their schedule and what institutions we would be visiting today. Our first stop on this beautiful, sunny Tuesday began at the SDC, the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation of Switzerland. We were escorted to the presentation room by one of the employees exactly on this day as the demolished entrance doors had to be repaired. Our stay started with a general introduction about the organization and its goals by Ursula Keller. The 17 Sustainable Development Goals on the 2030 agenda are the foundation for the work of the SDC in the coming years. One of these goals promotes peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provides access to justice for all and builds effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels. Reduction and sustainable development is the aim of the International Cooperation Strategy 2021-2024 by the SDC. For that to be achieved it is detrimental that the needs of the population are understood. In a second step the interests of Switzerland are taken into account. The four priority regions for the bilateral development cooperation of the FDFA are Eastern Europe, Asia, North Africa, the Middle East and the Sub-Saharan Africa. They include the 35 priority countries of the SDC.
After this instructive introduction we were divided into three groups and were allowed to dive deeper into three topics for 20 minutes each. Andrea Iff focused on the topic of governance. In order to understand the development of Governance abroad, it is important to take a look into the past. In the 90s, the approach was to transfer our Western ideal 1:1 to these fragile countries. Over time, we had to learn that this is not sustainable. Rather, context-specific work must be carried out. Nathalie Vesco presented the global partnership for effective development cooperation. A major approach in this area is the cooperation with various organizations and institutions. Developed countries and non-developed countries must work together, not only financially but through sharing knowledge with open communication establishing a general a know-how. Mattia Poretti introduced the UNDP, which was founded in 1965. Their objectives are poverty reduction, governance rule of law, organizational effectiveness, gender equality and fragility.
Our visit at the SDC flew by. We could have easily spent the whole morning there learning about all the exciting and important work they do. In the end we had to leave in a hurry and lost a part of the group during our transfer to the university campus of Bern. For our second stage Karin Brunner Schmid joined the group. With a short delay we enjoyed the presentation by Sylvain Grünig. The presentation was about internal administrative coordination processes using the example of sanctions policy.
The afternoon started in the Federal Finance Administration Building (Bernerhof) where our group gave a short briefing about the Federal Finance Administration (FFA). After we were warmly welcomed by Martin Walker, Vice Director of “Ausgabenpolitik” in the same room where state representatives and presidents are welcomed. They firstly explained that the build was a hotel till 1920 and today it hosts three government offices. The first presentation of the afternoon was about “Grundlagen der Haushaltführung”, held by Aurelia Buchs. The second presentation was given by Martin Walker focussed on “Ausenpolitische Leitsätze”. Before the third presentation we enjoyed a lovely break on the beautiful balcony with a stunning view over the Marzili district. Lastly Theo Haldeman presented the “Neuses Führungsmodell für die Bundesverwaltung NFB”.
The highlight of our day was the Q&A with Ueli Maurer, Federal Councillor of the Federal Department of Finance. We had a lively discussion on various topics with him. For example the streamlining of the administration or crypto currencies. Of course also the financial consequences of Covid-19 were part of the discussion.
Overwhelmed by the impressions of the day, it’s now time for an afterwork drink and we are looking forward to our third day tomorrow.