Following a proposal made by the Swiss Delegation to the Inter-Parliamentary Union, the Swiss Parliamentary Services (SPS), in collaboration with the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA), conducted a pilot project on parliamentary technical cooperation during the 2015-2019 legislature. Given the success of the pilot project, the Administration Delegation of the Federal Assembly has decided to continue parliamentary technical cooperation as of 1 January 2020. The necessary additional resources were approved by the Federal Assembly in the framework of the 2020 budget review.

The SPS makes the expertise of its staff available to foreign parliamentary administrations for assistance commitments. This support is provided primarily through training and guidance. The aim of the SPS’s technical cooperation is to exchange best practices with foreign parliamentary administrations and to support parliamentary institutions in their development so that they can better exercise their constitutional duty. The SPS provide support using an intercultural approach that respects local sensibilities and the sovereignty of the recipient countries.

SPS support to foreign parliaments is carried out in close collaboration with the FDFA. The SPS are therefore only involved in countries where the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) or the Human Security Division (HSD) conduct projects in the areas of parliamentary strengthening and the contribution of parliaments to human security. The SPS and the FDFA have signed a declaration of intent that defines the terms and conditions governing their collaboration.

The SPS support parliamentary technical cooperation projects mainly in the areas of parliamentary oversight and evaluation, legislative work, public relations and civic education. The SPS give priority to projects that aim to deliver real and lasting results and focus on a few countries. These technical cooperation activities are in line with Switzerland’s foreign policy objectives to promote respect for democracy in the world, as defined in the Federal Constitution (Article 54, para. 2). The SPS’s action is also in conformity with the Common Principles for Support to Parliaments developed by the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) to which the Swiss Parliament has formally adhered.