Skat’s 40 years’ anniversary: an inspiring exchange and celebration

We are thankful for our many friends, colleagues and clients who joined us to celebrate 40 years of Skat.

Drawing on 40 years of experience in successful work in development cooperation, the focus of our anniversary event was on trends in development cooperation and today’s challenges. Bertha Camacho, Senior Knowledge Management Specialist at Skat and well-experienced moderator, led the participants through the programme of the event.

Jürg Christen, Managing Director of Skat

Keynote speaker Mr. Andreas Schild

After welcoming our guests from Switzerland, Moldova, Ukraine, Rwanda and other countries, Jürg Christen, Managing Director of Skat, thanked the partners, friends and clients in the audience for contributing and shaping Skat as we know it today – a well-known independent consulting company with a high level of professional expertise and social competence, appreciated and valued internationally.

“After 40 years, we are convinced that our work is more important than ever, in a world where millions of people still live in poverty and have no access to reliable services such as safe drinking water, sanitation and hygiene, where climate change is severely affecting our environment, our health and the lives of future generations and where migration is causing tremendous sorrow and misery for countless people around the globe.

In view of this, it is difficult to accept that our government rather decreases than increases its support to development cooperation. In my opinion we, – the winners of globalisation – could do slightly more in this respect.” Jürg Christen stated.

Karl Wehrle, former Managing Director of Skat Foundation, gave a brief overview of Skat’s  history after which a video portrait of Skat was screened. The video provided an insight into the companies’ areas of expertise and the people behind it.

Migration and development cooperation

Following the welcoming, Andreas Schild, former Director General of ICIMOD in Nepal (2007-2012), gave thought-provoking insights in his keynote speech into the challenges the world is facing with regard to migration, and the relationship between migration and development cooperation (visit his blog). He asked how development cooperation aims to meet the challenges associated with migration, and emphasized the need for development cooperation to be embedded in a package of strategies and policies including economic policies, access to scarce resources and global governance to address this pressing issue. He also pointed out that development cooperation has the power to positively influence migration through the identification and resolution of issues based on a common understanding. The creation of linkages between the private sector, research and government can create a foundation for finding new solutions to current challenges.

Andreas Schild added that he sees Skat as a company which has been able to remain relevant as it continuously adapts to challenges, builds trust, and works closely with people – attributes which are needed today to understand complex contexts and build solutions together.

In concluding the inspiring keynote speech, which was very well received by the audience, panellists were invited to join the panel discussion.

Fatou Dieye and Johan Gely during the lively panel discussion

Panellists from left to right: Bertha Camacho, Urs Egger, Fatou Dieye, Johan Gely, Oksana Garnets, Sean Furey

Johan Gely, Oskana Garnets and Sean Furey discussed their views on good governance during the panel

Panel discussion: Private Sector Development, Good Governance and Networking

A lively panel discussion with Mr. Johan Gely, Ms. Fatou Dieye, Ms. Oksana Garnets, Mr. Urs Egger, and Mr. Sean Furey highlighted various perspectives on trends in development cooperation in the areas of Private Sector Development, Good Governance and Networking.

Fatou Dieye, Programme Manager of PROECCO in the Great Lakes Region, elaborated on the important role and great impact of the private sector in the development of the region. Oksana Garnets, Programme Manager of DESPRO, highlighted the importance of long-term involvement, citizen participation and trust in supporting decentralisation processes. (with link to the project website or description as with PROECCO)

Johan Gely, Head of Global Programme Water (SDC), highlighted the importance of giving young people and young professionals the space to foster change in all sectors of development. He went on to appeal to all professionals to promote the participation of young people in decision-making processes and enhance their visibility in public spaces.

The panel also discussed the relevance and trends related to networks and partnerships in development cooperation. Sean Furey made a point by highlighting the importance of face-to-face interaction for building relationships, and creating innovative ideas on how to use networks effectively online and in person. With regards to the topic on alliances among Stakeholders in the international cooperation, Urs Karl Egger introduced the concept of “co-competition”, where sometimes competitors have the potential of becoming the best allies.

At the end, Jürg Christen closed the event by stating, in relation to the future of Skat: “I am convinced that in the future, our work in development cooperation will be even more essential, as it respects local realities and is geared towards poverty reduction, good governance, the rule of law and the global challenges linked to climate change.”

Filippo Buzzini from Sketchy Solutions delivered an excellent visual recording of the panel discussion, which he presented.

Live visualization by Filippo Buzzini during the panel discussion in trends and today’s challenges in development cooperation