CIRID - What actions do you envisage for Geneva to contribute to the promotion of peace and development for Africa, especially in areas still in crisis (Maghreb, Great Lakes, Horn of Africa)?
Sandrine Salerno - First of all, it is important to maintain or even increase the financial support given to non-governmental organizations and international organizations present in Geneva so that they can continue to develop their activities on the ground. At a time when many countries are decreasing the amounts allocated to international solidarity, we must intensify our efforts to ensure that Geneva reaches the threshold of 0.7% of its budget dedicated to international cooperation.
It is also a question of supporting quality Geneva associations, which work in partnership with African associations. Indeed, international cooperation should not be confined to a transfer of funds or technicality. It should allow an exchange between partners and encourage the taking of responsibilities by the populations themselves. In any case, it is the vision of international solidarity developed in the City of Geneva.
Finally, in partnership with the Federal Bern, the aim is to strengthen the status of Geneva as a City of Peace by guaranteeing a neutral space of dialogue for the parties and developing good offices.
What place can the African diaspora, together with the Geneva and international civil society, have in this design?
The African diaspora occupies a central place in this process. It represents the necessary and essential link between "the field" and Geneva's civil society. Thanks to the different skills of its members, the African community is an essential source of information and mobilization for all those who wish to contribute to the promotion of peace and development for Africa.
Beyond, what can and should be the role of the Swiss Confederation in this context and how do you intend to contribute?
By definition, the role of the Confederation is central to these issues. It is at the federal level that the most important financing is granted, according to strategic orientations defined periodically. It is therefore essential that the Geneva State Councilors promote international Geneva in Berne, so that the issues of promoting peace and development are integrated at the level of the Confederation.
Moreover, it is important to support the efforts made by the Confederation to reach the target of 0.5% of GNI in 2015. In fact, while in 2012 public development aid fell by almost 4% in the world, Switzerland continued to increase its financial support for poor countries (+ 5% per year, on average), an exception. This is to welcome this development and to encourage the Swiss authorities to continue on this path.