Sector insights

What is international cooperation

An uncommon sector that is multi-faceted and dynamic – this is how international cooperation and, in particular, the associated Swiss labour market can best be defined.

International cooperation

International cooperation encompasses all professional activities aimed at supporting people in need and promoting economic, social and cultural development around the globe.

International cooperation covers the fields of humanitarian aid, development cooperation and peace promotion. Once clearly distinct, activities in these fields are now converging, often making the boundaries between them unclear.

Humanitarian aid

Humanitarian aid provides emergency assistance in acute and deteriorating natural disasters and violent conflict. It is primarily concerned with the safety and protection of victims and creating basic, interim state and civil society structures.

Humanitarian aid tends to work in the short-term and under time constraints. However, there is an increase in long-term engagements in chronic conflicts for the purpose of early identification of risk and prevention. Examples include establishing early warning systems and training emergency services.
Overview of actors in humanitarian aid

Humanitarian aid
Development cooperation

Development cooperation

Development cooperation aims to reduce poverty and foster sustainable development. It is based on partnerships and active at the local, regional and global levels.

In contrast to humanitarian aid, which intervenes with emergency assistance during conflicts and natural disaster, development cooperation addresses long-term, structural change. However, it often still operates in fragile contexts.

Economic cooperation and development

The primary goal of economic cooperation and development is to support economically, socially and environmentally sustainable growth, thereby alleviating poverty and inequity, creating new jobs, and increasing productivity. Central measures include integrating partner countries into the global economy and strengthening the competitiveness of their domestic markets.
Overview of actors in development cooperation

Peace promotion and human security

Promoting peace and human security establishes or reinforces the basic conditions required for sustainable development.

Promoting peace includes both military and civilian measures. Civilian peacebuilding involves such measures as supporting fair and transparent elections, strengthening human rights, developing police institutions that work closely with citizens, and building an independent judiciary. It also includes negotiation processes at the governmental level. Some community-sector actors also support peacebuilding initiatives.
Overview of actors in peace promotion