The merger was approved by the Board of InterCooperation at a meeting in Bern on 20 January 2011.
The two organisations are well matched, with both similarities and complementing differences. Both organisations work in Africa, Asia and Latin America, and both aim to alleviate poverty and improve local livelihoods. InterCooperation is a foundation with a technical development assistance approach, while Helvetas is an NGO with a large number of individual Swiss Members, and a well established outreach programme in Switzerland. Both organisations manage environmental activities and support local communities in the sustainable use of natural resources.
IUCN is one of the founding members of InterCooperation, and Dr Hans Friederich, Pan-European Regional Director, represents IUCN on the Board of Trustees of the foundation. Dr Friederich said: “the merger of two of the largest Swiss development organisations into one major institution is a good development. It will facilitate the improved use of resources and allow the two organisations to pool their expertise”.
Now that the Board of InterCooperation has approved the merger, the General Assembly of Helvetas has to take the same decision. It is foreseen that the official merger will occur on 1 July 2011.