No, SWISSAID is not systemically important, not “too big to fail”. When times are tough, it’s up to us to help ourselves. This is what experience has taught us – and taught us well. We keep our own costs as low as possible, pay for our mobile phones ourselves, use supersaver train tickets, ask for NGO discounts, fly Economy. But above all, we have skilled staff who collaborate closely and effectively, between North and South, and between the various departments and hierarchical levels. Foundations, states or communities of states such as the EU are careful about where their money goes. They see that this money is in good hands with SWISSAID, and have agreed to support many of our projects. In 2022, our 75th year, we were able to establish a strong foundation for a ­better future, also financially.

We’re very positive about what we achieved last year – and this despite the deficit. The world is upside down, and the challenges keep on coming, but we continue to focus on the Global South and on enabling hundreds of thousands to help themselves, often simply to survive. We’re proud to be perceived as competent, reliable and trustworthy in the countries where we operate. We’re not a private company, but a serious NGO that shares responsibility for the survival of our planet through agroecology and equal rights, development cooperation, emergency aid and development policy. We don’t have a guarantee of billions from the Federal Council in order to do this. On the contrary – what we have is the bad news from Federal Councillor Karin Keller-Sutter that the ceiling for international cooperation will be reduced by more than half a billion Swiss francs in the period 2025–2028.

It’s time to make it clear to the Federal Council that stable, functioning international cooperation aimed at reducing poverty and hunger in the world is just as systemically important as the monster bank that received a state guarantee of 259 billion Swiss francs paid for with taxpayers’ money by means of emergency powers! Let’s hope we can manage to do this in time.