The popular uprising in Tunisia at the beginning of 2011 threw society and state structures into turmoil. In order to help secure the most favourable conditions possible for a successful transition to democracy, the Federal Council responded rapidly and on 11 March 2011 decided to substantially strengthen Switzerland's medium term commitment.
Switzerland's programme for North Africa for the period from 2011 to 2016 responds to the priorities on the ground and focuses on three key areas:
1. Transition towards democracy and human rights;
2. Economic development and employment;
3. Migration and protection.
On 22 July 2011, a Memorandum of Understanding concerning the implementation of the Swiss programme to support the process of transition in Tunisia was concluded with the transition authorities, and operational activities are meanwhile progressing rapidly.
|Swiss International Cooperation||2011
|Bilateral development cooperation||6.61||9.44||9.00|
|State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO)|
|Economic Cooperation and Development||1.02||3.55||6.64|
|Other Federal Offices|
|FDFA Human Security Division and Directorate of International Law||0.85||0.90||1.20|
|The State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation (SERI)||0.18||0.22||0.22|
|Total other Federal Offices||1.03||1.12||1.42|
|Cantons and municipalities||0.09||..||..|
SDC figures excluding program contributions to NGOs
.. = figures not available | – = nil or amount < 5'000 CHF
The Swiss programme for Tunisia is implemented in a coordinated, coherent and complementary manner by the various units of the Swiss government, notably those of the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO), the Directorate of Political Affairs (PDA), the Directorate of Public International Law (DPIL), the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) of the FDFA and the Federal Office for Migration (FOM).
Switzerland’s support is built upon needs-based, targeted and sustainable partnership. Equality of treatment for men and women is an integral part of all projects.
In Tunisia, the overall programme is headed by a joint Tunisian-Swiss steering committee chaired by the Ministry of Development and International Cooperation, in direct collaboration with the relevant ministries (regional development, agriculture, the interior, social affairs, etc.).
For the purposes of implementation, a programme office has been established in the Swiss Embassy. There are satellite programme offices in Kasserine and Medenine.
The status of operational activities is as follows (as of January 2013):
Area 1: Transition towards democracy and human rights
Electoral process, political dialogue and media:
- Support for the UNDP’s electoral programmes, including support for the Independent Electoral Commission (ISIE) through the purchase of 12,000 electoral urns – SDC
- Support for «Radio Tunisienne»: technical support for various regional radio stations to provide more interactive programming and quality journalism to foster greater inclusion of Tunisia’s
marginalised regions and populations in political discussions; creation of an editorial pool dedicated to covering key political processes (National Constituent Assembly, elections, parliament);
programme set up in partnership with «Fondation Hirondelle» – SDC
- Technical assistance and the deployment of personnel to the election monitoring missions of the International Organisation of La Francophonie and the EU. Provision of a police instructor to help
continue the training of Tunisian police forces to ensure peaceful elections – DPA
- Support for the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES) – DPA
- Support for the dialogue between the different opposing political forces – DPA
Support relating to the National Constituent Assembly:
- Support for civil society, notably for the Tunisian Association for the Integrity and Democracy of Elections (ATIDE), for the launch of their cooperation with the Constituent Assembly and the elected members – DPA
- Educating the political parties and Constituent Assembly commissions as to the importance and manner of cooperating with civil society; in partnership with Democracy Reporting International (DRI) – DPA
Security Sector Reform:
- Establishment of a multi-donator Trust Fund for North Africa to support security sector reform; development of multiple actions with three Tunisian ministries. Programme implemented by the Centre
for Democratic Control of Armed Forces (DCAF) based in Geneva – SDC
Strengthening civil society, human rights and dealing with the past:
- Financing for strengthening civil society organisations through small projects and mentoring measures – SDC
- In the framework of a job creation scheme, leading round table discussions involving local authorities, the private sector and civil society, in ‘laboratories’ covering democratic decision-making and decentralisation – SDC
- Support for defence of human rights organisations in the classification and management of their archives as a strategic basis from which to deal with the past in the medium-term, in partnership with «Avocats Sans Frontières» and swisspeace – DPA
- Strengthening the capacities of governmental institutions and defence of human rights organisations, in partnership with the Geneva Institute for Human Rights (GIHR) and The World Organisation against Torture (OMCT) – DPA
- Support for the creation of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in Tunisia – SDC/DPA
Recovery of illicit assets held in Switzerland:
- Technical support for the relevant authorities in accordance with international mutual legal assistance – DPIL and DPA
Area 2: Economic development and employment
Job creation and strengthening the private sector and competition:
- I-SEMER programme (Swiss Initiative for Employment and Rural Micro- and Small Enterprises): Promotion of entrepreneurship and the creation of micro- and small enterprises in four disadvantaged
governorates: round-table discussions, training workshops for young unemployed people with project ideas and financing through micro-credits (in partnership with the micro-credit institution ENDA)
and the provision of loans for start-up capital for small businesses together with support measures including Swiss-Tunisian competitions (in partnership with the Banque pour le Financement des
Petites et Moyennes Entreprises, BFPME/Bank for Financing Small and Medium-sized Enterprises) – SDC
- Support for SMEs and job creation in Tunisia via the Swiss Investment Fund for Emerging Markets (SIFEM) – SECO
- PAMAT Programme (project to allow access to food and regional produce marketplace): support along the entire value chain for certain typically Tunisian products (e.g. harissa, Djebba figs, organic produce) and strengthening networks with high export potential – SECO
- Project in the textiles industry currently under examination – SECO
- Programme on Cleaner Production (CP) (initiated by the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation UNIDO): this aims to carry out environmental upgrades of enterprises through sustainable
management of their resources, the transfer of environmental know-how to experts at the national level and the establishment of new training programmes to create employment. In due course, 75
enterprises will operate on a more sustainable basis and some 200 Tunisians will be trained in installing and maintaining solar equipment. Moreover, via this project, Tunisia will house the network
of CP centres for the Middle East and North Africa region (MENA) – SECO
- Sustainable and eco- tourism project. Anticipated actions include strengthening the social and environmental capabilities of hotels, experimental modules for a future DMO concept (destination management organisation) and funding for training (project under examination) – SECO
Improved access to infrastructures and basic public services:
- Renovation and improvements to public water supply infrastructure and waste-water treatment in the governorate of Kasserine and, through the rehabilitation of schools, also in the governorates of
Medenine and Tataouine; improvements to the range of basic services and job creation through the realisation of these projects – SDC
- Establishment of a financing structure for projects targeting the financial inclusion of marginalised population groups through the development of micro-finance and micro-insurance products and services – SDC
- Implementation of a medium-term water sector programme in the governorate of Kasserine, divided into six segments, namely: improvements to the water supply in rural areas; extension of irrigation zones to add value to agricultural production; technical support for local authorities; a programme to integrate young unemployed people into the realisation of these projects; raising awareness of local populations as to the importance of water as a resource – SDC;
- Construction of two waste water treatment plants in Thala and Feriana – SECO
- Rehabilitation of a waste water treatment plant in the Tunis region – SECO
Improving the employability of young people
- I-SEMER Programme (for more detail see «Strengthening the Private Sector» above) – SDC
- Orienting professional training to match market demand based upon the Swiss «dual» model, in order to improve employment possibilities and/or entrepreneurship for young, unemployed women and men in four disadvantaged Tunisian governorates – SDC
- Private sector involvement on training opportunities – SECO (projects Under examination)
Area 3: Migration and Protection
Migration partnership and signature of three agreements:
- Since the spring of 2011, Switzerland and Tunisia have been committed to create a migration partnership with initiatives and joint projects which address the opportunities as much as the challenges of migration. This dialogue on migration takes place in a spirit of partnership and adopts a comprehensive approach which considers migration as a factor in socio-economic development.
- This dialogue led to the signature on 11 June 2012 of three different accords: a memorandum of understanding relating to the implementation of a migratory partnership, a migration cooperation agreement (governing amongst other matters the return of Tunisian citizens) and an agreement on exchanges for young professionals.
- The establishment of a regular dialogue on migration will bolster the operation of this partnership.
Various complementary projects identified through excellent inter-departmental collaboration.
- Voluntary return programme (assistance programme in place since 15 July 2012 for the return and reintegration of Tunisian citizens living in Switzerland in an irregular situation) – FOM
- Support for the protection and return of vulnerable migrants living in Tunisia (assistance programme for the return and reintegration of rejected asylum-seekers from third States living in the Shousha Camp) – FOM
- The highlighting of development know-how and resources of the Tunisian diaspora in Switzerland – SDC
- Strengthening the authorities’ capacity to manage borders and mixed migration flows whilst respecting international undertakings in terms of refugee protection – DPA/FOM
- Support for regular migration (exchanges between young professionals CH-TUN) – FOM
- Providing better information on migration: Greater professionalism of media and NGOs on questions of migration and raising awareness about the risks of irregular migration – SDC
- Better regulation of labour migration and the protection of migrant workers (ILO) – SDC
- Strengthening the capacity of the relevant local authorities and civil society to think of migration as a factor in local development – SDC
Background information concerning Tunisia
|Source: World Bank's World Development Indicators 2013|
Local SDC contact address:
Programme Office Tunisia
|Phone||+216 71 191 997
+41 (0)31 324 18 11
|Fax||+216 71 192 032|
|firstname.lastname@example.org / email@example.com|
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