Setting up an association to implement the 2030 Agenda in Switzerland

September 25, 2017 will mark the second anniversary of the signing of the UN 2030 Agenda, which embeds a new and clearer vision of sustainable development in global politics. The 2030 Agenda and its 17 goals are applicable to everyone, meaning they must also be implemented in and by Switzerland in its international relations. To support this implementation and to enhance civil society’s involvement in the issue, Alliance Sud, the Swiss platform for peacebuilding KOFF, the Confederation of Swiss Trade Unions, and the Umweltallianz have together sought to engage in dialog with all manner of different civil society organizations.

Two events indicated that there is widespread interest among a broad range of NGOs and trade unions in working together in greater depth, and some initial steps were taken toward structuring that cooperation. Work is currently under way to draw up the statutes and secure the funding.

To get this partnership off the ground once and for all and to support implementation in and by Switzerland with constructive criticism, an association will be set up on the Agenda’s second birthday on September 25. The event will be held in the afternoon at the cultural production center “PROGR” in Bern.

Human rights consistency in foreign policy – a new discussion paper

The study “Wo bleibt die Kohärenz? Menschenrechte und Schweizer Aussenpolitik” (“Where is the consistency? Human rights and Swiss foreign policy”) was published in mid-June. This discussion paper was developed by the Working Group Foreign Policy of the NGO Platform Human Rights and contains controversial issues: the debate on increasing consistency in Swiss foreign policy has been raging for over 25 years, but it has been going in circles.

Effective instruments and mechanisms that can strengthen human rights protection and resolve contradictions between foreign and domestic policy are therefore now in demand. No foreign policy sector (foreign trade, security, peace, development, migration, gender, environment, etc.) is to take measures that contradict the aims of Switzerland’s foreign policy concerning human rights.

Using case studies, experts from Swiss NGOs are examining contradictions in current policies, for example swisspeace/KOFF, which is using the Honduras example to discuss issues at the crossroads of peace, human rights, development, and economic policy.

The paper was presented and discussed with over 100 participants from politics and civil society at the NGO Platform’s annual meeting on June 19, 2017. The suggestions and momentum that arose were noted by the Working Group Foreign Policy and will be incorporated into its further advocacy work.