• The exchange of personnel

    The exchange of personnel in development cooperation regroups the assignments of professional volunteers in the south. It is a form of development cooperation, which puts forward a fruitful encounter of individuals from different cultures ahead of money and technology. Together they work to improve the living conditions in countries in the South.

    http://www.unite-ch.org/en/principles
  • The association

    For 50 years, Unité, the Swiss association for personnel exchange in development cooperation, has been monitoring the quality of the volunteer assignments through standards, evaluations, institutional support, studies and training. It is made up of 20 member organisations. Unité is committed to an efficient, sustainable and equitable cooperation with partners in the South.

    http://www.unite-ch.org/en/association
  • Value-added

    The exchange of personnel in development cooperation has a direct impact on the development of local populations in the South yet uses moderate resources. This particular form of cooperation supports the tradition of a humanitarian Switzerland, that is committed and open to the world.

    http://www.unite-ch.org/en/value-added

News

When we talk about the exchange of personnel in the international cooperation, it’s usually about the sending of development workers (volunteers), by an organisation based in the North, who is a specialist working in a specific field in the South to transfer skills. Development workers benefit at the same time from an enrichment in work experience and human relations. Although there are exchanges of professionals from the South with other countries of the South or North, they are rarely addressed in the development service context, with a few excepions.

However, profound changes have taken place in recent years regarding the distribution of knowledge and skills, which are no longer only in the North, but are also found in the South. This has a direct impact on the concept of the exchange of personnel in the international cooperation. A widening of the reflection for the exchange of personnel at different levels as an instrument of the international cooperation is useful.


 

Methodological manual on the exchange of personnel within the framework of South-South and South-North cooperation - Tools and procedures to maximise the
chances of successDaniele-Enrico Fino, CEAS, Unité, Neuchâtel, 

Also available in French, Spanish and German

Impressum

Author: Daniele-Enrico Fino
Editor in charge: Jean-François Houmard
Graphics: Christian Schoch
Layout and illustrations: Patrick Kohler
Translation : Myriam Barton-Cox
Revision : Martin Schreiber
Print: 80 copies
Publisher: CEAS Ecological Centre Albert Schweitzer

Photo: martinbichsel.ch 

The Swiss Responsible Business Initiative will be presented to the Swiss authorities today. The 80 civil society organizations supporting the initiative share one common goal: Swiss quality must incorporate the protection of human rights and the environment.

Bern, 10th October 2016

The 120'000 valid signatures gathered for the Swiss Responsible Business Initiative will be handed over to the Swiss government today. The constitutional amendment proposed by the initiative is based on the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, unanimously adopted by the UN Human Rights Council in 2011. The initiative compels Swiss-based multinational companies to undertake human rights and environmental due diligence in all their business activities abroad. In practice, companies will have to identify, prevent, mitigate and account for how they address their adverse human rights and environmental impacts and those of the entities under their control. If a corporation does not fulfill its mandatory due diligence, it may be held to account for abuses committed by a subsidiary abroad.

Switzerland’s reputation is a major asset of its economy. Swiss quality stands for high standards, meticulousness and fair business relations. Companies benefitting from this reputation abroad must comply with international norms. In reality however, a number of Swiss-based companies still do not take into account the human rights and environmental impacts of their activities, nor do they take the appropriate steps to avoid or eliminate abuses. By bridging this current loophole, the Swiss Responsible Business Initiative seeks to ensure that the protection of human rights and the environment becomes an integral part of Swiss quality.

This initiative is part of a wider international trend towards binding rules for multinational companies. In recent months, the Council of Europe and the European Parliament, as well as eight national Parliaments of EU Member States, have spoken in favor of mandatory human rights due diligence.

The Swiss Responsible Business Initiative is supported by a broad coalition of 80 civil society organizations, which will immediately begin to prepare for the referendum’s campaign. According to a recent survey, 89% of the population wants Swiss-based companies to be compelled to respect human rights and the environment abroad. Furthermore, 92% think that corporations should ensure that companies under their control do the same. Despite the lack of political action in this regard, these numbers indicate a wide public concern for corporate responsibility.

For more information, please contact:

Beatrix Niser, campaigner for the Swiss Responsible Business Initiative

+41 78 659 14 03

 

Less than a year after its launch, the Swiss Responsible Business Initiative has gathered the required number of signatures. This significant step paves the way for the initiative to be taken up by the Swiss government and shows that a large number of Swiss citizens want multinational corporations to respect human rights and the environment abroad.

In April 2015, 77 civil society organisations launched a popular initiative demanding greater responsibility for multinational corporations. The initiative came shortly after the Swiss Parliament rejected a motion to that effect. The constitutional amendment proposed by the initiative is inspired by the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, unanimously adopted by the Human Rights Council in 2011. It compels Swiss-based multinational companies to undertake human rights and environmental due diligence in all their business activities abroad. If a corporation does not fulfil its mandatory due diligence, it may be held to account for abuses committed abroad by entities under its control.

Voluntary measures remain insufficient

Forced labour in shrimp fisheries, abusive child labour in cocoa production, human rights violations in gold mines – these examples are only the latest of a long list of troublesome activities carried out by Swiss companies abroad. Despite these practices, the Swiss Parliament and the Federal Council (national government) have to date refused regulation and continue to rely solely on companies’ voluntary measures. The limits of this scheme were recently highlighted in a study by Bread for All and the Swiss Catholic Lenten Fund. Out of the 200 largest Swiss corporations, only 11% have a human rights policy which refers to the UN Guiding Principles and over 60% have no human rights policy at all. Corporate social responsibility has failed to effectively identify and eradicate business-related abuses. Appropriate legal safeguards are a matter of urgency. Anything less will be at the expense of progressive companies suffering from unfair competition.

International shift towards binding measures

Binding rules also match the current international trend. The French Parliament is presently debating a bill requiring mandatory due diligence for multinational corporations. In early March, the Council of Europe adopted its Recommendation on Human Rights and Business. The Recommendation urges member States to make domestic courts competent for business-related human rights abuses committed by subsidiaries wherever these are located.

The Swiss Responsible Business Initiative is a unique project as it is backed by a broad coalition of 77 non-governmental organizations. It will be presented to the government in October. The Federal Council and subsequently the Parliament will then discuss the initiative before it is put to the Swiss people in a referendum.

 


 

For more information:

Beatrix Niser, campaigner for the Swiss Responsible Business Initiative, +41 78 659 14 03, beatrix.niser@initiative-multinationales.ch