Free expression of opinion – the greatest asset


At the last annual meeting with the development organisations, Federal President Ignazio Cassis laid out his three most important quality criteria for Switzerland's international cooperation, namely, reliability, trust and predictability… Bingo!

Free expression of opinion – the greatest asset

Markus Allemann, Präsident Alliance Sud und Geschäftsleiter SWISSAID

The Alliance Sud of the future is on the trail:

Reliability: Since January, Alliance Sud has received a further boost, with the addition of two well-known civil society entities engaged in development cooperation. We welcome new members Solidar Suisse and Terre des hommes! Together with Helvetas, HEKS/EPER, Fastenaktion, Caritas and Swissaid, Alliance Sud represents civil society's most reliable interlocutor when it comes to sustainably shaping favourable regulatory environments for people in the Global South. To lay the groundwork for continued orderly growth, we came together this year in an association, and now offer a second category of membership, which allows non-governmental organisations, also from the human rights and environment sectors, to become associate members and support our work in this way. We are grateful to the Swiss Red Cross for leading by example and becoming the first associate member.

Trust: This quality criterion is less easy to achieve. Trust requires reliability and is only built over time. For 50 years now, Alliance Sud has been a reliable and competent player vis-à-vis the parliament, government and administration. And with enviable policy space! Unlike its member organisations, Alliance Sud receives no government support and is therefore not bound by a confidentiality agreement with respect to information sharing with the Department of Foreign Affairs and other agencies of the Federal Administration. Alliance Sud can therefore bring its expertise to bear and speak out at any time. Free expression of opinion is its greatest asset.

Predictability: What Federal President Cassis meant by: "Switzerland does what it says, and says what it does." What is predictable is that Alliance Sud will be uncompromising yet constructive in showing that Switzerland does not always do what it says. Policy coherence is our core concern, and the Sustainable Development Goals are our guiding framework. Conflicts can be foreseen in this negotiation process, as official Switzerland turns not infrequently to other principles.

Reliability, trust, predictability: We consider ourselves fortunate that Andreas Missbach has taken over the reins at Alliance Sud – as the new Director since January. Together with Andreas, the Alliance Sud team and members are off to a strong new start after 50 years.