Swiss Development Cooperation in Bolivia focuses on governance, economic development, climate change and the environment. Bolivia's increasing urbanisation is posing new challenges. Thus, besides rural development, the focus is also on improving the delivery of services in peri-urban areas.

Map of Bolivia

From 2005 to 2014, Bolivia experienced economic and income growth attributable to exports of natural gas, oil and mining products. Since the end of the commodity boom in 2014, the country’s revenues have fallen by 25%. The government’s income redistribution programmes during the growth years reduced poverty. Nonetheless, Bolivia remains one of the poorest countries in Latin America. Its economic challenges comprise a heavily overvalued currency, underemployment, low productivity, insufficient diversification (e.g. in terms of products and especially regarding its economic sectors), lack of international competitiveness and a large shadow economy.

Switzerland is helping to ensure that the additional public resources benefit the poor and particularly vulnerable groups – especially young people and women. Its efforts are focused on rural and peri-urban areas in the highlands and in the Andean valleys. Switzerland coordinates its activities with national and international organisations and other countries that are active in Bolivia.


Promoting the rule of law and strengthening civil society

Swiss Development Cooperation projects include targeted measures to improve access to justice for broad sectors of the population, especially in rural areas. The programmes designed to promote the rule of law also focus on reducing violence towards women. The framework conditions for a freely emerging civil society have become appreciably more difficult in recent years. Switzerland and the international donor community support constructive dialogue and a culture of compromise between civil society and government.

Good Governance

Economic development

Economic and productive development with greater inclusiveness and equality

The Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) primarily works on vocational skills development, while the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) mainly promotes sustainable trade. Switzerland is able to draw on its own experience of vocational training for disadvantaged groups as well as the know-how it has acquired in various Latin American countries. The aim of the projects in this area is to improve access to financial and non-financial services or new markets for vocational college graduates, producer families and micro-sized and small enterprises. Furthermore in this regard, alliances are to be set up between Swiss companies in Bolivia and the SDC in order to advance sustainable development within the framework of the 2030 Agenda. In addition, Swiss projects promote the expansion of production and increased productivity.

Climate change and the environment

Risk prevention and improving resilience

Switzerland supports the sustainable use of natural resources. The Swiss contribution to combating climate change lies mainly in adjustment mechanisms centred on water management, land use and disaster risk reduction through prevention and disaster preparedness. SECO contributes to that by supporting sustainable urban development measures. Growing urbanisation brings environmental challenges. In this regard the SDC focuses mainly on wastewater and waste treatment.

Climate change and the enironment

History of cooperation

Switzerland's long-standing commitment is highly appreciated

Switzerland's long-standing and successful development cooperation efforts are held in high regard in Bolivia. Since 1968, Switzerland has been active in the area of development cooperation in Bolivia, since 1981 Bolivia has been one of the SDC's priority countries and since 2017 it has been a country for SECO complementary measures. The programme is adjusted on an ongoing basis to reflect the country's changing social and economic conditions.


Current projects

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Life without violence, from dream to reality

The face of a woman who has been abused.

01.02.2015 - 31.05.2020

The SDC hopes that by backing a newly-adopted law in Bolivia on ending violence against women, it can contribute to more systematic and targeted care for female victims. Local and national authorities and the people are working together on a comprehensive approach to prevent assaults on women. Too often, attitudes are tinged with a male chauvinism that sanctions violence.

Country/region Topic Period Budget
Human rights
Human rights (incl. Women's rights)
Human rights

01.02.2015 - 31.05.2020

CHF 4'070'000

Exchanging knowledge and experience to protect Andean forest ecosystems

Part of the Andean forest covered in mist.

01.11.2011 - 31.12.2019

The forests of the Andes are valuable in a variety of ways: they store and purify water, provide protection against natural hazards, and absorb environmentally harmful greenhouse gases. With the ANFOR project, the SDC is contributing to the long-term protection of Andean forests.

Country/region Topic Period Budget
Andean Region
Climate change and environment
Environmental policy
Forestry policy
Biosphere protection
Forestry development
Environmental policy and administrative management
Forestry policy
Environmental policy and administrative management
Biosphere protection
Biosphere protection

01.11.2011 - 31.12.2019

CHF 8'072'000

Municipal environmental management

01.04.2019 - 31.03.2023

Based on its significant expertise in the field of sustainable waste and wastewater management Switzerland supports Bolivia in addressing its environmental challenges by consolidating models of sustainable management of wastewater treatment services and solid waste management for small and intermediate cities. In coordination with the Ministry of Environment and Water, it contributes to the implementation of public policies reinforcing the quality and efficiency of environmental services, involving local populations and institutions. This will reduce harmful effects on the health of the population.

Gestión integral del agua

01.01.2019 - 31.12.2022

In Bolivia, Switzerland has been supporting the Ministry of the Environment and Water in improving integrated water and watershed management for several years. In this last phase of the project, support is given to the consolidation and implementation of the “Plan Nacional de Cuencas” (National Watershed Plan) to ensure water security and increase the climate resilience of vulnerable populations. Consolidation includes better coordination among various state levels, sectors and institutions and the systematization and capitalization of experiences and results.

Rural Markets

01.01.2018 - 31.12.2021

Rural Household Production Units experience various difficulties preventing them from establishing themselves sustainably and competitively in the market. The Rural Markets project successfully applied the market systems development approach. It now aims to induce systemic changes and a scaling up of markets for producers in new regions of productive potential. Support of non-financial services combined with financial services will establish synergies between public and private actors.

Formación técnica profesional

01.05.2017 - 30.06.2022

Vocational skills development is key for improving production and expanding opportunities for employment and self-employment. The project aims to reduce poverty and inequality by enhancing access to the labour market. It seeks to strengthen vocational skills and certify competences with an emphasis on young people and adults, promote the quality of training centres, and the shared responsibility of public/private stakeholders. Strategies cover both the national and the local level.

Scaling-up SuizAgua Peru and Chile

01.10.2016 - 29.02.2020

Corporate Water Footprint (WF) frameworks in Chile and Peru animate private companies to use and manage water in a sustainable manner. Civil society is made aware of sustainable water cultures by behavioural change campaigns and by being part of watershed collective actions with the private sector. Cooperation among SuizAgua Colombia, Peru and Chile and with other partners ensures further outreach of the project in Latin America with the help of an active community of practice sharing gained knowledge.


15.09.2015 - 31.12.2019

La Cooperación Suiza en Bolivia asigna de acuerdo a lineamientos de la casa matriz el 1% de su inversión a la cultura, por la relevante contribución de las expresiones culturales en el diálogo intercultural y los procesos de desarrollo. El apoyo se dirige a sectores de la sociedad que por razones geográficas o sociales disponen de posibilidades limitadas de realizar expresiones culturales o de tener acceso a manifestaciones culturales y artísticas.

BIOCULTURA 2015 - 2019

01.06.2015 - 31.12.2019

En los últimos cinco años el programa Biocultura ha elaborado un enfoque compatible con el medio ambiente para el desarrollo con las comunidades rurales, conocido en Bolivia como el "Vivir Bien". Tambien ha contribuido a la definición de un marco legal sobre el tema del cambio climático.  En la segunda fase de su implementación 15.000 familias en 400 comunidades han recibido apoyo para asimilar el cambio climático, y además se ha realizado capacitaciones nacionales para una gestión eficiente y transparente del presupuesto climatico nacional.       

Planned project

Jiwasa Programme – Strengthening urban MSEs

01.04.2015 - 31.03.2024

Poverty and vulnerability have increased among the urban population due to the surge in rural-urban migration. The project contributes to a National Programme that focuses on poverty reduction and improvements in employment conditions by providing financial and non-financial services required by urban Micro and Small Enterprises (MSEs). The support focuses on processing activities of several productive sectors, benefiting 15,000 MSEs.

JIWASA Programme – Strengthening Urban MSEs

01.09.2014 - 31.03.2020

Micro and Small Enterprises (MSEs) involved in processing have the potential to contribute to industrial development in Bolivia, but their productivity is low. The Jiwasa Programme is a government initiative that seeks to increase production and incomes. With public and private sector support, it will provide direct and strategic services to five production clusters prioritised by the Bolivian government. 10’000 jobs will be improved, and gender equality and cleaner production will be promoted.

Rural microinsurance

01.11.2012 - 31.12.2019

Micro insurance is recognised as a useful tool for poverty reduction. However, costs for developing micro insurance products are too high for the private sector to assume them alone. SDC will share this risk with the PROFIN Foundation , who will validate the technical, legal and financial feasibility of commercialising agricultural micro insurances in Bolivia. With two pilots, this initiative will reach more than 1000 vulnerable men and women, who do not have access to adequate risk-management tools.

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