50 years of Alliance Sud

Article as analysis
Alliance Sud has evolved constantly over the past 50 years – with expertise, brilliant minds and effective campaigns.

In 1969, the Swiss aid agencies Bread for Brethren (since 1991, Bread for All), Swiss Catholic Lenten Fund and Swissaid jointly launched a successful information campaign ("Leben ist für alle da!" [Life is for everyone!]) in support of the Federal Government’s fourth framework credit for development cooperation. On 19 August 1971 the “Swiss Coalition Swissaid/Swiss Catholic Lenten Fund/Bread for Brethren/ Helvetas” (also called the Swiss Coalition of Development Organisations and since 2005, Alliance Sud) was established as an ordinary partnership with headquarters in Berne. It was born of the need to be active not only at the micro level through projects abroad, but also at the macro level by disseminating information and representing interests in Switzerland.

Time and again Alliance Sud has set much in motion politically, one example being the 2007 campaign “0.7% – together against poverty”. Coordinated by Alliance Sud, a coalition of over 70 organisations submitted a petition calling on the Federal Council and Parliament to engage more strongly in support of the UN Millennium Goals and more specifically to increase the development aid budget to 0.7% of Gross National Income (GNI) by 2015. The petition was handed in with 201,679 signatures and led to Switzerland’s official development aid being increased from 0.39% in 2010 to 0.49% of GNI in the year 2020.

According to historian Sybilla Pigni ("Eine Stimme für die Entwicklungspolitik", Verlag Huber 2010), the Swiss Coalition managed to "keep alive in political circles and in society the discussion about development policy implications in the most diverse areas of human activity, thereby continuously raising awareness." Today, the local political landscape is inconceivable without Alliance Sud, which ensures that Switzerland’s international cooperation can be even more effective, including through a more coherent policy for sustainable development in all relevant areas.