The Federal Council is strengthening Switzerland's commitment to UN Women, the United Nations organisation dedicated to gender equality and the empowerment of women, and to IFAD, the International Fund for Agricultural Development. The aim is to contribute even more effectively in future to improving both the situation of disadvantaged women and girls, and global food security. To this end, Switzerland is raising its general annual contributions to UN Women to CHF 16 million for 2015-2017, and to IFAD to CHF 15 million for the 2016-2018 period.
UN Women champions gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls around the world, and is committed to eliminating discrimination. Meanwhile, the UN's International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) supports poor rural populations in improving food security and the quality of their food, raising their incomes, and strengthening their resilience. Both institutions work with other United Nations organisations, governments, non-governmental organisations, and the private sector. They are both also priority partner organisations for Swiss development cooperation at the multilateral level. Their fields of activity are consistent with the concerns and priorities of Swiss development cooperation, as set out in the Dispatch on Switzerland's International Cooperation for 2013–2016. These concerns and priorities remain in place for the coming 2017–2020 dispatch period.
UN Women's priorities include the economic empowerment of disadvantaged women, giving women a greater voice, putting gender equality into practice in programme and budget planning, preventing and ending violence against women and girls especially in conflict situations, and further advancing standards, policies and laws on gender equality. IFAD's focus is on integrating poor rural communities into value chains on the basis of integrative business models and strategic partnerships with major private-sector investors, on improving agricultural production methods and improving service efficiency, and on adaptation to climate change and combating its causes.
Following today's decision, the Federal Council will grant UN Women CHF 16 million annually between 2015 and 2017, and IFAD CHF 15 million a year for the 2016–2018 period. The corresponding figure for UN Women was CHF 14 million in 2014, and CHF 12 million in each of 2013 and 2012. IFAD received CHF 38.5 million in support for the full 2013–2015 period. With this commitment, Switzerland is helping to address global challenges, while at the same time defending its own economic and foreign policy interests, by reducing injustices and poverty, and thus conflict. Furthermore, these contributions allow Switzerland to continue to have a significant say in the policies and strategies of the two organisations.