International dialogue on migration: Switzerland plays an active role

Filled conference hall with representatives from all over the world.
The Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) helps develop regional and global approaches to forced displacement and migration in multilateral dialogue platforms. © SDC

The challenges linked to forced displacement and migration require a coordinated response from the international community that goes beyond individual country measures. That is why Switzerland is committed to global and regional platforms that enable countries and other stakeholders to engage in dialogue and develop common solutions. Switzerland uses these international platforms to play an active role in developing global standards to improve how migration flows are managed and to reduce human suffering.

The SDC's focus

The SDC advocates for recognition by the international community of the correlation between migration and development. This is based on practical experience from its operational activities, which the SDC seeks to incorporate in global and regional approaches. It aims to improve how migration flows are managed, to reduce the suffering of refugees and migrants, and to make use of the productive contribution migrants can make to the economies and societies of both their country of origin and country of destination.

Migration is closely connected to sustainable economic and social development. Forced displacement and migration often result from a lack of prospects in the person's country of origin. That is why Switzerland's development approach focuses both on the causes of migration in order to provide alternatives to migration as well as on the needs of refugees and migrants, in order to create prospects for people in their country of origin and to strengthen their resilience. Migrants contribute not only to the development of their country of origin but also their country of destination, through regular labour migration and remittances sent back home, for example. In 2017, a total of USD 466 billion was transferred to emerging and developing countries – more than three times the amount of official development aid.

Spreading successful approaches to managing migration

In line with its development policy mandate on migration, the SDC works with governments, local authorities, international organisations, and representatives of civil society, the private sector and the scientific community in its partner countries. Together they develop joint approaches that address the link between migration and development. Here the focus is on creating governmental and social framework conditions to help the international community better manage migration flows and reduce the suffering of refugees and migrants. Such framework conditions also facilitate the contributions of regular migrants to economic and social development. Part of this work involves setting up measures against the exploitation of migrant workers, such as fair and ethical recruitment procedures, compliance with employment rights obligations, and encouraging the diaspora to play an active role in the development of their countries of origin.

Against migrant worker exploitation

By supporting the IOM's project to create a voluntary system of certification for recruitment agencies (IRIS – Integrated Recruitment Integrity System), the SDC encourages the private sector to be included in and take on responsibility for international measures against migrant worker exploitation.

IRIS – Integrated Recruitment Integrity System

The SDC brings these jointly developed, proven approaches into the international dialogue on migration, and incorporates the recommendations from this dialogue in its actual projects. In so doing, the SDC helps to spread effective approaches to migration.

Shaping international platforms for cooperation in migration

Switzerland's solution-oriented and constructive role has enabled it to play a key role in recent years in stimulating and advancing platforms dedicated to the international dialogue on migration. As part of Switzerland’s overall global engagement, the SDC has used its practical experience to play a significant role in developing global approaches.

Including stakeholders in the international dialogue on migration

Migration is a complex phenomenon which requires a variety of actors to work together in order to meet the diverse challenges involved. That is why Switzerland has taken a whole-of-government approach in its migration policy (interdepartmental structure for international cooperation on migration, ICM structure, see Akkordeon).

This makes Switzerland a global role model. In the international dialogue on migration, Switzerland also advocates for the inclusion of such stakeholders – which is not a given in many countries or in inter-state platforms at the global and regional level. That is why the SDC prioritises the inclusion of non-state actors in the dialogue on migration and in international cooperation. Based on Switzerland's principle of subsidiarity, the SDC also advocates the recognition of mayors and other local authorities as additional main stakeholders in terms of cooperation in migration.

Some of the SDC's key implementing partners for its operational projects are the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the International Labour Organisation (ILO). In the area of research, the SDC works with the Overseas Development Institute (ODI) and supports the World Bank's Global Knowledge Partnership on Migration and Development (KNOMAD) project, which both carry out research on the interrelation between migration and development.

Background

Global and regional dialogue platforms promote exchange and cooperation on forced displacement and migration between states, and between states and other stakeholders such as international organisations, civil society, the private sector and local authorities. In so doing, the platforms make it possible to devise regional and global approaches based on the diverse experiences of these actors. It is in Switzerland's interests to play an active role in this dialogue so as to assert its concerns in terms of migration policy and bring its experience into the process. Thanks to its comprehensive approach to cooperation on migration with other countries (migration partnerships) Switzerland has a particularly high level of legitimacy and credibility for its engagement in the international dialogue on migration.

Migration partnerships

Links

Current projects

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Migration for social well-being and economic development in Sri Lanka

Family members excitedly examine their travel documents

01.03.2016 - 31.12.2020

Every year, large numbers of Sri Lankans leave their country to work abroad for a few years, usually in the Gulf States. They thereby further Sri Lanka's economic development but at the same time risk having their basic human rights, and their labour rights in particular, violated. That is why the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) is working for the establishment of a framework that ensures decent working conditions for migrant workers in the region.

Country/region Topic Period Budget
Sri Lanka
Migration
Labour migration
Migration generally (development aspects and partnerships)

01.03.2016 - 31.12.2020


CHF 6'850'000



Forging a common «Nile culture» through music and academic training

Nile Project musicians on a boat.

01.05.2015 - 30.11.2020

To make the Nile Basin a common ground and shared ecosystem for the inhabitants of the eleven countries through which the Nile River flows, the SDC supports the innovative musical and educational Nile Project. The project brings together artists, students and concerned citizens. A series of acclaimed concerts has taken place since 2013; at the same time, students are developing initiatives to foster a better use of water resources.

Country/region Topic Period Budget
Egypt
Culture / development awareness
Employment & economic development
Education
Climate change and environment
Gender
Governance
Migration
Other
Vocational training
Human rights
Rule of Law - Democracy - Human rights
Culture & recreation
SME development
Education policy
Disaster risk reduction DRR
Women’s equality organisations and institutions
Democratic participation and civil society
Information and communication technology (ICT)
Migration generally (development aspects and partnerships)
Sector not specified
Development awareness
Business support & economic inclusion
Environmental policy
Public sector policy
Vocational training
Biosphere protection
Legal and judicial development
Human rights (incl. Women's rights)

01.05.2015 - 30.11.2020


CHF 750'000



Strengthening regional cooperation on migration in the Western Balkans

01.11.2023 - 31.12.2027

In light of diversifying migration patterns and challenges with increasing regional dimensions, the migration policy priorities of Western Balkan governments are changing and the relevance of regional dialogue, coordination and cooperation is growing. This proposal seeks to promote coherent and effective regional governance of migration in all its multifaceted dimensions contributing to greater social cohesion and regional integration in the Western Balkans.


Ashshash: for men and women who have escaped trafficking

18.11.2022 - 28.02.2029

20,000 people (of whom 70% women) who have experienced trafficking will be economically and socially rehabilitated. Public and private institutions will provide employment or in-kind support for entrepreneurship to men and women who have escaped trafficking. The Government will better address the prevention of trafficking, protection of victims, prosecution of traffickers in the revision and enacting of policies, and create partnerships, for bringing about systemic changes.


Building Regional and National capacities for improved Migration Governance in the IGAD Region

01.01.2022 - 31.08.2027

The Horn of Africa is of high interest for Switzerland in terms of migration policy. Swiss support to the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) and its Member States will contribute to improve their migration governance capacities so as to enable the organisation to effectively implement regional, continental and global regulatory standards for the protection of refugees and vulnerable migrants in the region.


The "Bosnia i Herzegovina"-Platform

01.07.2020 - 31.12.2025

The Bosnia i Herzegovina Platform (BiH) is an initiative of diaspora associations that are already involved in development activities. The platform will enhance cooperation and strengthen the diaspora associations’ role as development actors. SDC aims at promoting the potential of migrants for sustainable development mainly through improved framework conditions. The permanent platform as an effective and dynamic network will set the grounds for competent coordination services to diaspora organizations, to the country of destination and to the country of origin.


Global solutions for migration related challenges

01.01.2020 - 31.03.2023

The challenges and opportunities linked to migration require a coordinated response from the international community that goes beyond individual country measures. For this reason, Switzerland works towards an effective global migration governance that enables cooperation among states and other stakeholders (private sector, civil society). Switzerland also supports evidence-based policy making and the development of global solutions to contemporary migration challenges that benefit migrants and their families, as well as countries of origin and destination.


CISP: Integral Protection and Humanitarian Assistance to border population, displaced persons, returnees and migrants with multi-affectation in Venezuela, Colombia and Ecuador

15.11.2019 - 14.11.2020

SDC supports the Comitato Internazionale per lo Sviluppo dei Popoli (CISP) in its efforts to improve living conditions for migrants, returnees, refugees and host communities in need, living mainly along the Colombo-Venezuelan and Colombo-Ecuador borders through increasing the supply of humanitarian assistance, aligned with the Humanitarian Response Plan for Venezuela and priorities of the Governments of Colombia and Ecuador in the domains of protection, health, mental health, nutrition, water and sanitation and access to education.

 


IDB Migration Initiative (Clean drinking water and sanitation program for la Guajira)

01.10.2019 - 30.09.2022

Switzerland supports to the newly created Migration Initiative of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) that was created in support of Latin American and Caribbean migrants and their host communities and accordingly contributes to deter grave development crisis by empowering communities to foster integration and consequently to strengthen stability of the region and Colombia in particular.


Understanding and Managing internal migration in Mongolia

Ulaanbaatar city suburban distrct view

01.08.2019 - 31.07.2023

This project aims to contribute to improved management of internal migration in Mongolia - the main driving force behind rapid urbanization which poses increasing development challenges to the capital city Ulaanbaatar and rural areas of origin. Consistent integration of the migration perspective into planning and implementation of policies and actions will mitigate negative consequences of unmanaged migration and thus contribute to poverty reduction. Switzerland will add value to the project through its long-standing expertise in the migration field.


Decent Work for Migrant Workers from South Asia (DWSA)

01.08.2019 - 31.07.2023

Labour migration to the Middle East is an important factor in the economic development strategy of many South Asian countries. Due to its known expertise and experience in the areas of decent work and fair recruitment, Switzerland is well placed to contribute to migrants’ access to decent work, thus maximizing the productive potential of migration and addressing irregular and unsafe migration. In the interest of Switzerland, this programme contributes to the prosperity in the region.  


Decent Work for Migrants in the Middle East

15.07.2019 - 30.06.2023

This program contributes to decent work opportunities for migrants and refugees in the Middle East which is one of the largest migrant hosting regions globally due to economic demands and displacement from conflict. It complements the focus on Asian migrants with migrants from Africa and seek closer partnership with the private sector. Due to its relevant expertise and experience in decent work and fair recruitment, Switzerland is well placed to contribute to an improved protection and an enhanced wellbeing of migrant workers and self-reliance for refugees, to maximize the productive potential of migration, and to counter irregular and unsafe migration.

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