Switzerland contributes to the improvement of sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) through concrete programmes and active collaboration with international organisations. This engagement is based on several strategy and policy documents. The new Gender Equality and Women’s Rights Strategy of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA) of Switzerland includes a strategic objective promoting sexual and reproductive health and rights. The Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) also commits ‘to improve maternal, newborn and child health as well as sexual and reproductive health and rights’ as one of three focus areas for better health. Promoting SRHR for young people through an enabling policy environment is furthermore listed as one of the programme components of the Strategic Framework 2015-2019 of the SDC Global Health Programme with the policy goal to ‘ensure access to quality sexual and reproductive health services for young people’. The importance of investment in SRHR from the perspective of gender equality, health and human rights is also mentioned in the dispatch of the Federal Council on Switzerland's International Cooperation 2017-2020, where access to contraception is included among other action points.
Policies & funding
Switzerland disbursed over €46 million in 2016 for SRH/FP. This appears to be a 6% decrease from 2015, but this is due to exchange rate fluctuations (in local currency the total sum of disbursements to SRH/FP increased). Despite recent cuts in international cooperation, Switzerland has steadily increased its overall funding for SRH/FP in recent years, from around €33 million in 2011 to an anticipated €60 million in 2017.
The Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA) of Switzerland has published in September 2017 its first Gender Equality and Women’s Rights Strategy. The strategy is guided by the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development for Sustainable Development Goals and it is also in line with the Dispatch of the Federal Council on Switzerland’s International Cooperation 2017-2020. Switzerland also “supports prevention efforts and programmes designed to improve access to information and to age-appropriate comprehensive sexuality education, relevant to cultural contexts.” The FDFA strategy recommends integrating sexual and reproductive health services into basic healthcare: “As part of its policy and technical dialogues with multilateral partners (such as WHO, UNAIDS, the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria) and bilateral partners (such as the health ministries of priority countries), Switzerland calls for the integration of quality sexual and reproductive health services into basic health services, thereby improving the scope and accessibility of basic healthcare. It works to ensure that interventions on sexual and reproductive health contribute to strengthening health systems.”
On the financial level, in spite of an austerity programme and debates in parliament, the budget for international cooperation have been defended. Importantly, expenditures for organisations active in the area SRHR like UNFPA and IPPF are stable.
The Swiss government has made an assessment of the implementation status of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. From 26 June until 25 August 2017, non-state actors from business, civil society and academia, as well as cantons and communes, could take part in an online consultation. Their contribution will supplement the federal government's assessment and be used for guidance when drafting the 2018 Swiss country report for the UN.
- Gender Equality and Women’s Rights Strategy (2017)
- Dispatch on Switzerland's International Cooperation 2017–2020
- Strategic Framework 2015-2019 - SDC Global Programme Health
- Switzerland's initial steps towards the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development
- Health– A priority for the SDC, published by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation in July 2015
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