Youth Summit 2019: Development Cooperation - Nothing but Hot Air?

"What can development cooperation actually achieve? Is it nothing but hot air or can it really make a difference?

Around 80 young adults debated such questions with Ambassador Manuel Sager. The director of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) engaged after a speech in a lively discussion with the participants at the Youth Summit in June 2019. The event was organised by the youth network young@mission21 together with the Swiss youth parties.

Participants were able to broaden and deepen their knowledge of development cooperation through presentations and six different workshops. With the Indonesian pastor Obertina Johanis, a voice from the global South was also represented. She shared her experiences in development cooperation with Mission 21: "In the past, our relationship was like that between a mother and her child. But since 15 years I have noticed a change, today Mission 21 acts as a bridge and a good friend".

At the subsequent panel discussion, Switzerland's new strategy for international cooperation, which links development cooperation with migration policy, provided much to talk about. For example, it was pointed out that it was illusory for development cooperation to stop migration. SDC Director General Manuel Sager clarified that development cooperation is about creating positive perspectives on-site. However, for this work to be successful, everyone must pull in the same direction, including the Swiss economy. "If we only pursue our own interests, we will lose a part of our soul," said Ambassador Manuel Sager.

Text: Eva Sidler