Decentralization and local good governance, ensuring development in line with the needs of communities

Figure: A large administration building is surrounded by four smaller buildings overlaid by objects symbolising decision-making powers and financial resources.
The SDC supports administrative reforms that allow powers and financial resources to be devolved from central to local government. © SDC

The majority of national policies are implemented on a devolved basis, i.e. at provincial level or within rural or urban communities. However, the communities concerned often lack the necessary expertise or resources. The SDC aims to address this through a realignment of the capabilities and finances needed to promote effective delivery of public services. This is the best way to attain the global objectives for sustainable development backed by Switzerland. 

The SDC believes that the concerns of local communities are better addressed at local level. The representatives of public-sector organisations usually have greater insight into the developmental needs of local communities and are more readily accessible to citizens. It is easier to manage and maintain an overview of economic and social conditions in medium-sized economies. It is also easier to organise cooperative development projects in this context. Communities are more likely to work on solutions in their specific locality.

The necessary conditions can be established by transferring decision-making powers, responsibility for public services and the requisite funding to decentralised bodies. However, the danger remains that mismanagement, the unjust enrichment of elites and inequality may permeate down to lower levels of government. As a result, the SDC also works to strengthen decentralised forms of good governance, including the efficient management of funds, transparency, public participation and accountability, with the ultimate aim of supporting local development for the benefit of all population groups. 

Supporting decentralisation reforms

Decentralisation reforms facilitate coordinated measures for transferring functions, decision-making powers and budgetary resources and promote effective interaction between different levels of government. To this end, the SDC supports broad-based dialogue on reforms and, for example, encourages local associations to address the concerns of their members. The SDC provides the expertise required by the relevant local bodies to ensure that responsibilities are properly shared and financial powers defined. Alongside economic considerations and efficiency criteria, the SDC is guided by the principle of subsidiarity, i.e. the principle that decisions should be taken as closely as possible to citizens. 

Enhancing good governance at local level

The SDC supports government agencies in delivering relevant services at local level (e.g. education and health, waste management, land-use planning and economic development). It helps agencies consolidate their planning and oversight authority and provides encouragement and guidance on consulting a range of social interest groups. It also supports measures to improve practices relating to data, public information and reporting. The SDC encourages local authorities to diversify their funding base by raising taxes or other forms of finance to help implement their plans. It also promotes balanced accounting and transparent budget management. The SDC also focuses on local parliaments and courts as well as ensuring involvement of citizens and the media to participate with critical scrutiny and public debate to balanced decision-making and reporting. 

Promoting economic development at local level

The development areas targeted by the SDC may extend beyond administrative borders or combine rural regions with urban development centres. Such areas may not be covered by central government. Switzerland therefore promotes measures to support coordinated development projects through partnerships between the public and private sectors and social interest groups. The SDC supports joint planning processes based on an analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of local economies and the opportunities and risks involved. It also promotes cooperation between devolved bodies, advising local authorities, for example, on creating optimum conditions for private sector investment. Such advice may cover matters such as market infrastructure, transport routes, methods of communication, transparent tax policy, legislative frameworks and legal certainty, with a view to creating better employment and income-earning opportunities.

Current projects

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Programme d’Appui à la Qualité de l’Education (PAQUE)

15.11.2019 - 31.10.2023

L’éducation au Bénin souffre d’un manque de qualité : enseignants en nombre insuffisant et pas bien formés, matériel scolaire et encadrement pédagogique insuffisants. La Suisse s’est fortement engagée pour la formulation du nouveau Plan sectoriel de l’éducation 2018-2030. Forte de son expertise en matière d’éducation et sur la base des résultats clés obtenus à travers les autres programmes du portefeuille éducation, sa contribution au PAQUE vise à améliorer la qualité de l’éducation au. Bénin


Research and Technology for sustainable development in the global South (SDC contribution to ETH4D of ETH Zurich and Tech4Dev of EPFL)

15.11.2019 - 31.12.2023

Many countries struggling with extreme poverty have expending economies, creating new opportunities for innovative approaches to address societal and environmental challenges. SDC supports the new initiatives of the Swiss Federal Institutes of Technology (ETH4D, ETH Zurich and Tech4Impact, EPFL), which encourage Swiss researchers to work together with research and implementing partners from the global South in developing research-based solutions to global challenges.


Dynamic electronic decision trees for managing childhood illness (DYNAMIC)

15.11.2019 - 31.12.2022

Every year, more than five million children die before the age of five due to preventable or treatable causes, most of them in developing countries. New technologies combined with rapid tests can improve diagnosis and management of sick children and reduce health costs. This collaborative research project makes use of Switzerland’s knowledge in digital technologies to improve the health of children and reduce unnecessary antibiotic prescriptions in low resource settings.


CISP: Integral Protection and Humanitarian Assistance to border population, displaced persons, returnees and migrants with multi-affectation in Venezuela, Colombia and Ecuador

15.11.2019 - 14.11.2020

SDC supports the Comitato Internazionale per lo Sviluppo dei Popoli (CISP) in its efforts to improve living conditions for migrants, returnees, refugees and host communities in need, living mainly along the Colombo-Venezuelan and Colombo-Ecuador borders through increasing the supply of humanitarian assistance, aligned with the Humanitarian Response Plan for Venezuela and priorities of the Governments of Colombia and Ecuador in the domains of protection, health, mental health, nutrition, water and sanitation and access to education.

 


Improving Access to Essential Medicines and Basic Technologies for Non-communicable Diseases

01.11.2019 - 31.12.2031

Access to medicines and technologies for non-communicable diseases is poor in low and middle-income countries. Building on the Swiss comparative advantage (broader access engagement as a country with a big pharma sector), the program addresses all components of the comprehensive framework for access to drugs, ranging from research and innovation to dispensing and use. It will also set up a dedicated global collaborative network for advocacy, information and innovation.


Clean Air Project in India (CAP India)

01.11.2019 - 30.06.2027

India is one of the most severely affected countries by air pollution in the world. This project will contribute to India’s new National Clean Air Programme, with the aim to improve air quality with co-benefits on public health, environment and climate change. Capacity building and technical assistance through Swiss expertise will support data measurement and analysis, city level clean air action plans and awareness raising campaigns to take precautionary measures and mitigate air pollution.


WFP Protection, Accountability to Affected Population, and Inclusion Policy Development

01.11.2019 - 31.12.2020

Implementing the aspiration set out in the WFP Strategic Plan (2017-2021) for a people-centred, needs-driven approach that is guided by a strong commitment to the humanitarian principles calls for strengthening the integration of Protection and AAP throughout WFP’s operations. Therefore, WFP has started implementing a new Protection, AAP and Inclusion strategy, with the aim to inform the development of a new Protection Policy by early 2021.This project intends to further support this ambitious endeavour.


CRC: Integration of migrants and host communities in Cali

01.11.2019 - 31.01.2021

SDC will support the Colombian Red Cross (Cruz Roja Colombiana, CRC) in improving cultural and socioeconomic integration of Venezuelan migrants, Colombian returnees and vulnerable host communities in Cali. This project will work on the nexus between responding to humanitarian needs and building conditions for socioeconomic stabilization among migrants, returnees and vulnerable population. It will take place in a context of protection risks especially for women, youngsters and children associated to illegal economies and armed actors.


Grassroots women building resilience and peace in Central America.

01.10.2019 - 31.12.2022

The project enables two thousand grassroots women and their families to implement effective climate adaptation practices and strengthen their voice and leadership to influence related public plans and policies. The exchange of good local practices will be fostered among women in the region, thus increasing their resilience to climate change and variability.


IDB TVET Multidonor Trust Fund

01.10.2019 - 30.06.2024

The Fund’s objective is for IDB to support the initiatives transforming the TVET through the creation of modern, private-sector driven training ecosystems that endow people with the necessary skills to develop successful lifelong learning labor trajectories and boost the region's economic development. SDC’s contribution finances the Fund and facilitates the access to highly valued Swiss and SDC expertise.


Star – Soutien technique au monde artistique

01.10.2019 - 31.12.2022

La pérennisation des emplois dans le secteur de la culture au Mali contribue à la stabilité socio-économique du pays et consolide l’art et la culture comme moteur de transformation de la société. Il s’agit de renforcer les compétences de ces protagonistes sur l’approche entrepreneuriale, de soutenir leurs activités et le lobbying pour un marché intérieur et un statut reconnu des protagonistes de la culture. Le partenaire est une agence malienne d’ingénierie et de production culturelles


South Sudan, Caritas Switzerland: Restoration of resilience in livelihoods for rural and semi-urban communities in Torit State

01.10.2019 - 30.09.2022

This project is designed to increase the resilience of women, men and children in Torit State in South Sudan. This will be achieved through improving agricultural production and access to value chains for farmers and small scale businesses. In order to improve productivity and reduce water-related diseases, the project will improve access to water. This will ultimately reduce vulnerability to the threat of food & nutrition insecurity, and bring the target population to engage in increased productivity with financial benefit.

Object 121 – 132 of 1053