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

Object 1057 – 1068 of 1073

Competitive Industries and Innovation Program

03.10.2012 - 31.03.2022

Competitiveness strategies have recently gained renewed attention by focusing on specific industries. They target policies and public investments, catalyze private investments, and foster innovation systems with a view to growing those industries and therefore supporting job creation.


Partnership on Sustainable Urban Development - Phase II

01.07.2012 - 30.06.2023

The WB Trust Fund for Sustainable Urban Development - Phase II, is a continuation of the existing strategic cooperation with the World Bank on sustainable urban development. It will support cities in developing countries to sustainably plan and manage urban development with the help of evidence provided by the program.


The Sustainable Trade Initiative IDH

01.07.2012 - 31.12.2021

IDH is a neutral convener that brings together companies in a safe pre-competitive arena, acts as facilitator to organize cooperation between companies, NGOs, governments, knowledge institutes, banks and trade unions. IDH kick-starts sustainability programs by co-funding and de-risking private investments, and helps exploring new concepts that will help create scalable, self-sustaining solutions that deliver impact at scale on Sustainable Development Goals, with a focus on: improved livelihoods of smallholder farmers and increased, decent incomes for workers to help end poverty (SDG1), promote inclusive and sustainable economic growth (SDG 8), improve gender equality (SDG 5), nutrition (SDG 2) and help to halt deforestation (SDG 15) and reduce toxic loading.


Syrdarya Water Supply Project

30.05.2012 - 31.12.2021

In 2011, the World Bank approved a large water management project in the predominantly rural Syrdarya region with a WB-IDA-share of USD 88 million, in which the participation of the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs SECO with a parallel financing was sought. The SECO project is a complementary and self-contained operation. It comprises (i) an investment component aimed at the rehabilitation of the Beshbulok water pumping station and its well fields, a backbone of regional water supply and of Gulistan the capital of Syrdarya province (260'000 inhabitants). It also includes targeted physical investment measures in selected villages in the vicinity of Beshbulok- and (ii) an institutional component consisting of a corporate development programme for three pilot water utilities (Bukhara, Samarkand, Syrdarya) and a limited number of selective and targeted regulatory framework measures. The objective of the institutional component is the creation of a sound basis for financial and operational sustainability of the three water utilities.



Waste Water Treatment Plant in Thala and Feriana

01.03.2012 - 31.12.2021

This project aims at implementing wastewater infrastructure in the cities of Thala (15'000 inhabitants) and Fériana (27'000 inhabitants) in the Governorate of Kasserine, Tunisia. The infrastructure includes the financing of the treatment plants, the extension of the wastewater networks and pumping stations for both cities.


Emission Reduction in Cities - Solid Waste Management IND

01.01.2012 - 31.12.2020

Cities are important producers of greenhouse gases and at the same time highly affected by the impact of climate change, e. g. by more frequent flooding events which lead amongst others to loss of property and a spread of diseases. Solid waste management is part of Indonesia's strategy to address climate change. The programme foresees to support investments in solid waste treatment in different Indonesian cities, which have climate impacts. Besides the investments, consulting services are foreseen to support city efforts to manage their solid waste in a sustainable way. As a complementary component, the Swiss research institute Eawag will carry out applied research to identify market opportunities for recycling of organic waste and will develop these technologies in a showcase pilot situation.


Resource Efficient and Cleaner Production Program in Ukraine

01.10.2011 - 31.12.2020

The project "Promoting the adaptation and adoption of RECP (Resource Efficient and Cleaner Production) through the establishment and operation of a Cleaner Production Centre in Ukraine" aims at enhancing the resource productivity, competitiveness and environmental performance of industry in Ukraine.


Indonesian-Swiss Intellectual Property (ISIP), Phase II

14.09.2011 - 31.12.2020

Intellectual property rights support economic competitiveness and innovation. With its rich cultural diversity and 56 million SMEs, Indonesia has a strong potential to strengthen its creative industries. ISIP-2 supports Indonesia?s strategy to bolster innovation and income generation by improving stakeholder awareness, access and benefits from a robust Intellectual Property framework.


Europe and Central Asia : PPP Transaction Advisory Program

01.06.2011 - 31.12.2022

The ECA Program, managed by the International Finance Corporation IFC, is providing infrastructure transaction advisory and capacity building services to the public sector authorities to promote Public-Private Partnerships in Southeastern Europe and Central Asia.


Pamir Private Power Project II

01.03.2011 - 31.12.2021

In July 2011 the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs SECO approved the financing of a Phase II project comprising a more targeted lifeline subsidy scheme benefitting the poor (2012 - 2014) and the early completion of the ongoing metering programme (pre-requisite for the efficient and equitable operation of such a subsidy scheme).


Partnership for Market Readiness Peru

01.01.2011 - 31.12.2020

The Partnership for Market Readiness (PMR) is a forum for collective action and a fund to support capacity building to scale up climate change mitigation. The PMR brings together more than 30 countries, international organizations, and technical experts to facilitate country-to-country exchange and enables enhanced cooperation and innovation.

Object 1057 – 1068 of 1073