The Parliamentary Services (PS), in collaboration with the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA), conducted a pilot project on parliamentary technical cooperation during the 2015–19 legislative period. Given the success of the pilot project, the Federal Assembly’s Administration Delegation decided to pursue parliamentary technical cooperation on a permanent basis as of 1 January 2020.

The PS make the expertise of its staff available to foreign parliamentary administrations in assistance projects. This support consists primarily of training and advice. The aim of PS 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 PS provide support using an intercultural approach that respects local sensibilities and the sovereignty of the recipient countries.

Support from the PS to foreign parliaments is provided in close collaboration with the FDFA. The PS are therefore only involved in countries where the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) or the Peace and Human Rights Division (PHRD) conduct projects involving parliamentary support and boosting parliaments’ efforts to promote human security.

The PS support parliamentary technical cooperation projects mainly in the areas of parliamentary oversight and evaluation, legislative work, public relations and civic education. The PS give priority to projects that aim to deliver tangible and lasting results, and focus on specific countries. These technical cooperation activities are in line with Switzerland’s foreign policy objectives to promote respect for democracy in the world, as laid down in the Federal Constitution (Art. 54 para. 2). The activities of the PS are also in conformity with the common principles for support to parliaments drawn up by the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU), of which the Swiss Parliament is an official member.