Alliance Sud launched a campaign against proposals by the Swiss government to cut development budgets. Entitled “Call to support fight against hunger and poverty”, more than 30 organisations, including Biovision, are urging the Swiss National Council and Council of States to reject the planned cuts.
As recently as autumn 2015, the Federal Council said it was still committed to the target of 0.7% of Gross National Income (GNI) for development cooperation. Speaking at the media conference to launch the campaign, Mark Herkenrath, CEO of Alliance Sud said “this figure was reiterated when the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) were signed in September in New York”.
In 2014, Switzerland only managed to achieve 0.5%. Despite that, the Federal Council recently agreed a further reduction to 0.47% and on 22 March the Finance Committee went even further and called for public funding for development work to be cut to 0.4%. If we then deduct the 0.1% already allocated to the cost of helping asylum seekers, this only leaves 0.3% for actual development cooperation.
It is important that this appeal to our elected representatives in Bern is also endorsed by the population at large. You can help to galvanise parliamentarians into action by signing the petition at www.weckruf-armut.ch. The website also contains further information on the issues.
Biovision President Hans Herren was one of the first signatories to the wake-up call: “Savings to the detriment of the poorest are not only morally questionable but will lead to higher costs in future. It is in Switzerland’s interest to show foresight and solidarity and make a long-term commitment to the sustainable development of the global community,” explained Herren.
Similarly, Simone Niggli-Luder, a long-standing Biovision ambassador and 23-times world orienteering champion is also supporting the campaign: “Hunger and poverty should not exist in our world. We can consider ourselves fortunate to have born in a country such as Switzerland. It would be a mistake for a wealthy country like Switzerland to massively reduce its efforts to combat hunger and poverty.”