Fighting corruption – a major barrier to development

Figure: Two hands coming together in a handshake, with a folded banknote held in the palm of one hand.
The SDC works against corruption in all its forms, including paying bribes to obtain medical care. © SDC

Corruption hinders development, causing the disappearance of crucial financial resources, the erosion of public trust and a general sense of powerlessness and injustice that can escalate to full-blown conflict. Corruption hits poor and vulnerable groups the hardest as they cannot afford bribes to obtain public services.  The SDC is therefore determined to combat corruption. 

Fighting corruption is one of Switzerland's key priorities and vital to establishing good governance. Responsible and transparent action on the part of governments and the imposition of sanctions for corrupt acts are major weapons in fighting corruption.

Key objectives are ensuring that public funds are used effectively and efficiently for development within a particular country and building public trust in the government.  The SDC also aims to stop corrupt practices that subvert government institutions and political processes and to create a more level playing field, which helps reduce tensions. 

Focus of action

The SDC works to combat petty corruption that affects people's everyday lives, such as paying bribes for medical care. It also fights large-scale corruption involving powerful politicians and business leaders, with substantial sums changing hands. The SDC uses a two-pronged approach to tackle these issues: firstly, supporting specific anti-corruption programmes and secondly, incorporating anti-corruption measures into other areas of work. The SDC works to address all aspects of corruption, ranging from bribery, fraud and embezzlement to nepotism, unfair price-fixing and extortion.

Zero tolerance policy

If the SDC were to be affected by corruption, payments would normally be suspended pending the results of a legal investigation. In addition, the SDC strives to recover misappropriated funds in all circumstances.

Where can suspected instances of corruption be reported?

The FDFA Compliance Office is responsible for dealing with any instances of corruption or abuse which are reported within the FDFA or by external parties in connection with SDC-funded activities.


FDFA Compliance Office – Reporting corruption, misappropriation of funds and abuses

Alternatively, suspected instances of corruption may be reported on the whistleblowing platform of the Swiss Federal Audit Office.

Swiss Federal Audit Office (SFAO) whistleblowing platform

Current projects

Object 1 – 12 of 34

Strengthening democratic local governance

01.01.2022 - 30.06.2026

The project aims at supporting the democratic transition and the peace efforts in Myanmar. Using a decentralized budget support approach to all townships of one state in the Southeast of the country, it will strengthen township’s participatory planning and budgeting capacity. The project will also deepen the community’s capacity to demand public services. Additionally it will support national level policy discussions based on this experience.


PACTA - Participatory Action Against Corruption: Towards Transparency and Accountability

01.01.2022 - 31.12.2026

In Bangladesh, Switzerland was instrumental in engaging likeminded development partners to support prominent local actors to curb corruption and establish transparent and accountable governance systems. This project, co-funded by Switzerland with the UK and Sweden, will continue the work on reducing corruption by engaging citizens, adding the use of an innovative digital tool for community monitoring. Based on the evidence collected on corruption incidences, the project will reinforce policy advocacy and engagement at different levels. 


Contribution to the Multi-Donor Trust Fund of the Africa Disaster Risk Financing Programme ADRiFi

01.12.2021 - 30.11.2025

Through a contribution to the ADRiFi programme of the African Development Bank, Switzerland intends to facilitate access to subsidies for the payment of natural disaster insurances for at least an additional 15   African countries. Payouts (up to 5 mio USD per event) from the insurance, managed by the African Risk Capacity Group, will allow governments respond timely and effectively to the needs of their population in case of disaster on the basis of the prepared effective contingency plans. 


Inclusive Urbanisation

08.11.2021 - 30.06.2024

The program contributes to inclusive urbanization in Central America in partnership with UN-Habitat with the aim to improve the living conditions of vulnerable populations in urban settlements. Solid data and evidence on informal settlements and specialised advisory will contribute to improve urban policies. Capacity building, participatory planning approaches and increased involvement of the private sector will foster comprehensive and feasible solutions for informal settlements. 


Locally-led Governance: the road to legitimate and effective delivery of services

01.11.2021 - 31.12.2022

The Somali population is facing considerable development and state building challenges, with Government institutions still very weak and fragile, particularly at the local level. With the UN Joint Programme for Local Governance and Decentralised Service Delivery (JPLG) as well as local peacebuilding initiatives, SDC contributes to enhanced state legitimacy, more equitable access to public service and well-being for all citizens, leading to more stability in the Horn of Africa.


SRBM - Strengthening Representative Bodies in Mongolia

Workshop on Parliament Monitoring

01.08.2021 - 31.12.2023

On request of the authorities, the project ensures the implementation and oversight over new local governance laws to ensure public service delivery and sustainable rangeland management. Based on SDC supported achievements on democratic governance in Mongolia, increased technical cooperation between the Swiss and the Mongolian Parliamentary Services is at the core of the project. Gender equality and pro-poor approaches are mainstreamed.


Long-term support to UNRWA’s reform

01.07.2021 - 31.12.2022

Switzerland contributes to enable UNRWA to pursue key reform areas of its Medium-Term Strategy 2016-2022, mainly by supporting (i) management initiatives and set of actions to ensure that governance, accountability, management and transparency meet international standards, and (ii) the systematic integration and attention to the needs of vulnerable groups, in particular children, persons with disabilities and women survivors of violence.


PRODEL - Program for strengthening municipal capacities for local development

01.04.2021 - 30.06.2024

PRODEL III contributes to the decentralization reform through introducing its municipal autonomy approach into new laws and policies, through training of “multipliers” and creation of advisory services to extend its tool of Municipal Development Strategy to more municipalities. The EDM strengthens municipal autonomy and efficient use of local resources for production infrastructure and services, while promoting participation and inclusion.


Promoting good financial governance in Tanzania

Good Financial Governance - Longido, Arusha

01.08.2020 - 31.07.2023

The Good Financial Governance (GFG) project supports the public finance system by strengthening the provision of and demand for accountability as well as enhancing domestic revenue mobilisation to increase local development. GFG builds capacity at national and sub-national level, including of civil society and the private sector. The project enhances Swiss support to state institutions that are more efficient and effective, inclusive and increasingly free of corruption. 


PACUM – Programme d’Appui aux Communes Urbaines du Mali

01.08.2020 - 31.12.2023

Au Mali, la faiblesse des ressources financières et humaines des communes limite leurs capacités à fournir des services de qualité aux populations. La Suisse cofinance une 2ème phase du Programme visant l’amélioration de l’accès aux services de base par le biais de l’augmentation des transferts de ressources de l’Etat  central vers les communes. Le programme contribue au développement économique local, à une urbanisation durable, à une fiscalité locale améliorée et, par conséquent, à plus de stabilité.


Core contribution to Sanitation and Water for All (SWA) global partnership

01.05.2020 - 31.12.2022

This core contribution to the global partnership Sanitation and Water for All hosted by UNICEF aims at strengthening the capacities of populations to enjoy their rights to water and sanitation. SWA supports countries that are off track in progressing towards the Sustainable Development Goal on water, including through a mutual accountability mechanism. The opening of an operational office of SWA in Geneva will enrich this growing community of global water actors, allowing SWA to work more closely also with key human rights and public health actors. 


Accountability for the Implementation of the 2030 Agenda

01.01.2020 - 28.02.2023

The 2030 Agenda with its 17 Sustainable Development Goals is the internationally agreed guiding framework for sustainable development. A follow-up and review process, to which Switzerland has substantially contributed, supports accountability for the Agenda at national, regional and global levels. This proposal includes contributions to different partners which will enable a substantial role of important stakeholders in this process, for better decisions and measurement of progress in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda.

Object 1 – 12 of 34