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 legislative period. Given the success of the pilot project, the Federal Assembly’s Administration Delegation decided to pursue parliamentary technical cooperation as of 1 January 2020. The necessary additional resources were approved by the Federal Assembly in the 2020 budget review.
The SPS makes the expertise of its staff available to foreign parliamentary administrations in assistance projects. 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 provided 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 involving parliamentary support and boosting parliaments’ efforts to promote 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 tangible and lasting results, and focus on just 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 activities are also in conformity with the Common Principles for Support to Parliaments developed by the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU), of which the Swiss Parliament is an official member.