Natural resources and development

View of a large open-cast phosphate mine in Togo.
Developing countries such as Togo have an abundance of natural resources. The SDC is committed to ensuring that these are exploited fairly © Alexandra Pugachevsky

Exploiting natural resources is crucial to the economies of many developing countries and Swiss companies play a key role in commodities trading. Natural resources can be used to alleviate traditional forms of poverty, but many countries fail to take this step. The SDC aims to address this problem. 

The commodities sector is becoming increasingly important in developing countries. According to a 2016 report by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), 91 developing countries in 2015 were dependent on commodities, where commodity exports accounted for more than 60% of a country's total merchandise exports. The World Bank also estimates that Africa alone is home to about 30% of the world's mineral reserves. Certain minerals, such as cobalt and tantalum, which are used extensively in electronic products, mainly come from fragile countries. 

With the expansion of 'clean' industries and technologies, the demand for minerals is set to increase, generating significant investment in exploration and developing new mines.

The various backgrounds and roles of the stakeholders involved have been debated for years by the academic community, international development policy committees, governments and civil society. The macroeconomic effects of exploiting natural resources and the factors causing price volatility have also been assessed. Attention has also been focused on extraction practices that cause damage to health and the environment, exploitative working conditions and conflicts over access to natural resources, which have the potential to unleash violence or even armed conflict.

Issues relating to financial flows from commodities trading are also the subject of intense debate. In general, funds that have been acquired illegally, or in questionable circumstances, and are transferred abroad present a major obstacle to economic growth and good governance in developing countries. There is broad consensus that illicit outflows from developing countries exceed the value of official development assistance many times over. A high percentage of these financial flows are attributable to commodities production and trading.

Switzerland is a key player in the commodities trading sector. It is estimated that more than 3 billion tonnes of commodities, calculated at over CHF 960 billion, are traded in Switzerland each year. In a report entitled 'The Swiss commodities sector: current situation and outlook' published in November 2018, the Federal Council states that it expects all companies operating in or out of Switzerland to demonstrate integrity and responsible conduct with regard to respect for human rights as well as environmental and social standards, both within Switzerland and abroad. The Federal Council also states that this applies to the entire value chain and is especially important for companies that operate in fragile states. 

 The SDC's main areas of activity

  • The SDC is committed to raising international standards for commodities production and trading and ensuring that governments and companies properly implement such standards.
  • Switzerland supports the implementation of multilateral instruments in the fight to control corruption and illicit financial flows.
  • In terms of international development cooperation, the SDC is committed to assisting its commodity producing partner countries in managing natural resources and creating sustainable value chains.
  • By supporting research and multi-stakeholder platforms, Switzerland is contributing to a better understanding of both the challenges and opportunities facing developing countries in relation to mining.

Current projects

Object 25 – 36 of 211

Implementation Maputo Peace Accord

01.07.2020 - 31.12.2021

As chair of the Contact Group, mediator and main donor to the peace process in Mozambique, Switzerland has played a key role so far, leading to the successful Peace Accord (MPA) between the ruling party (Frelimo) and the opposing party (Renamo) in August 2019. It will continue this engagement with the support of the implementation of this Agreement which focusses on Disarmament, Demobilisation, and Reinsertion (DDR) of the ex-combatants and reconciliation and enhanced decentralisation. 


Water and Comprehensive Sanitation Project in Rural Areas (ASIR – SABA), Phase III

01.06.2020 - 31.07.2022

The ASIR-SABA Project aims to contribute to the sustainable management and governance of water and sanitation, as well as public health, as a contribution to the consolidation of peace in rural areas of the country. To achieve its objective, the project promotes dialogue between the different actors of the WASH sector in Colombia. It also aims to strengthen the capacities at the community and institutional level (national, departmental and municipal) for the co-management of water and sanitation in rural areas of the country.

Based on the achievements capitalized by the project in its first and second phases and the challenges and opportunities identified with the different governmental actors of the WASH sector in Colombia, the SDC implements the third and final phase of the ASIR-SABA project.


Programme de renforcement de la résilience des ménages pastoraux et agropastoraux face aux crises climatiques et à l'insécurité (RESILIA) Phase 1

01.06.2020 - 31.12.2024

la DDC contribue au renforcement de la résilience de plus de 700’000 personnes dont les déplacées internes, affectées par la crise sécuritaire et les changements climatiques au Burkina Faso. Se basant sur la riche expérience de la Suisse dans l’élevage pastoral au Sahel, le programme va soutenir les pasteurs et agropasteurs pour que leur pratique d’élevage et moyens de subsistance s’adaptent aux défis climatiques et améliorent leurs conditions de vie tout en favorisant la paix au Burkina Faso.


Strengthening the Role of Local Communities in Bosnia and Herzegovina

01.05.2020 - 30.06.2024

The Project will enhance community governance in BiH by empowering local communities (MZs) as modern and effective structures for pro-active citizens’ participation. A new functional and organizational set up of MZs in BiH will be created and standardized countrywide. In turn, women and men will benefit from more people-centred local service delivery, better accountability and transparency of municipalities.

 

 

 


Kyrgyzstan Electoral Support Programme (KESP)

01.05.2020 - 31.12.2021

The programme aims at promoting fair, inclusive, transparent and peaceful elections in Kyrgyzstan by building technical capacities and expertise of key institutions responsible for administering elections and by empowering Kyrgyz citizens, including underrepresented groups like women, youth, ethnic minorities and persons with disabilities, to participate and exercise their electoral rights.

 

 

 


Governance and Decentralisation Programme Exit Phase (GDP Exit Phase)

Khoroo organizers participate in “Citizen-centered civil service” training organized by the Municipality of Ulaanbaatar Training Center established in 2017.

01.01.2020 - 31.12.2022

The Exit Phase of the Governance and Decentralisation Programme will consolidate achievements of previous two phases to support decentralisation and democratisation reforms. It will focus on institutionalisation and ensuring sustainability of results to contribute to equitable and sustainable development through decentralized service delivery and enhanced citizen engagement in public affairs, including in the urban areas. Swiss expertise and Swiss decentralisation model will be used.  


PARIS21 Partnership in Statistics for Development in the 21st Century - Contribution 2020-2022

01.01.2020 - 31.12.2022

The Partnership in Statistics for Development in the 21st Century (PARIS21) is a global partnership of national, regional and international statisticians, development professionals and policy makers seeking to improve evidence-based decision making mainly in low-income developing countries. The main accent of PARIS21’s activities is to stimulate the dialogue between data producers and users and act as a knowledge hub in the field of statistical capacity building.


Civil Registry System Reform Project in Tajikistan (CRR)

01.01.2020 - 31.12.2023

SDC assists the Ministry of Justice in its efforts to replace the paper-based civil registry system with a more efficient electronic civil registry system. This new system and the planned outreach activities will help people across the country in obtaining their vital documents faster and in better quality from the civil registry offices; this will help them to protect and claim their rights in relation to schooling, alimonies,  migration, healthcare and even voting. Moreover, the new civil registry system will also help the government to better plan and monitor its services provided to the population including in the education, health and labor sector.


Trail Bridge Sub-Sector Program

01.12.2019 - 30.11.2023

The project supports the Government of Nepal to institutionalize trail bridge building under the new federal structure. Due to the ongoing state restructuring process, Swiss support is required for a last phase to ensure the transfer of the institutional and human capacity built-up in trail bridges over the past four decades to the new state and local governments. Walking remains a major mode of travel in Nepal, and trail bridges are still essential for people to access basic public services


Myanmar: Support to the 2020 Elections

01.12.2019 - 31.12.2021

Switzerland contributes to credible, transparent, inclusive and free of violence or intimidation national elections in 2020 through a partnership with International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES). Swiss support will facilitate inclusive reform of the electoral framework, strengthen the capacities of the Union Election Commission as well as increase information and access to electoral process with a focus on women and marginalized groups


Engaged People - Strong municipalities

01.11.2019 - 31.12.2030

Molodova has the most fragmented sytem of local governments in the South-East Europe. People's dissatisfaction with quality of services is high and participatory decision-making is not common. Local governance reforms launched by the Government are being pursued in a centralized manner. Switzerland will support moldova through a two-pronged approach supporting citizens (in enhancing participation and social accountability) and institutions (in improving public service provision), particularly in rural areas.  


Strengthening Governance and Human Rights in Central America

Natural Resources Governance Dialogue

01.10.2019 - 30.09.2022

The program strengthens the capacities and the presence of the Inter-American Human Rights System in Central America in order to ensure the follow-up on court judgements and recommendations, to educate employees of the justice sector, to report on the Human Rights situation and to strengthen the protection of Human Rights defenders. The program further promotes dialogue on natural resource management among governments, the private sector, indigenous peoples, and Afro-descendants.

Object 25 – 36 of 211