The Swiss Development Cooperation in Bolivia focuses on decentralisation and human rights, adaptation to climate change, and employment and income. Bolivia's increasing urbanisation is posing challenges for development cooperation. Thus, besides rural development, the focus is also on improving the delivery of services in peri-urban areas.

Map of Bolivia

Since 2005, Bolivia has experienced economic and income growth, which is attributable to exports of natural gas, oil and mineral products. The government's income redistribution programmes have resulted in a reduction of poverty. Nonetheless, Bolivia remains the fourth poorest country in Latin America. The majority of Bolivians work in the informal sector under very difficult conditions.

Switzerland is helping to ensure that the additional public resources that are now available benefit the most disadvantaged people. Its efforts are focused on rural and peri-urban areas in the highlands and in the Andean valleys. Switzerland coordinates its activities with other bilateral donors and multilateral organisations that are active in Bolivia.

Decentralisation and human rights

Promoting autonomy and participation at the municipal level

Swiss development cooperation is making a valuable contribution to the decentralisation process in Bolivia – a process that is proving to be successful. Specifically, Switzerland is helping to improve the quality of and access to municipal services.

Switzerland is promoting women’s rights through, among other ways, improving access for victims of violence to a comprehensive municipal legal service.

To improve disadvantaged groups' access to justice, Switzerland also supports the government's efforts to establish alternative conflict resolution mechanisms. The costs of alternative conflict resolution mechanisms are considerably lower and the average time to resolve a legal dispute can be reduced to three months through mediation from up to ten years for a court procedure.

Adapting to climate change

Risk prevention and improving resilience

Swiss development cooperation personnel have a wealth of experience in managing natural resources. The sustainable use of land and an integrated management of river basins are at the core of development cooperation efforts.

The disaster risk reduction (DDR) project is helping Bolivia to cope with the effects of natural disasters on the population, the infrastructure and the economy. Also as a result of Switzerland’s efforts, the national planning and investment plans have now stepped up specific measures to adapt to climate change as well as DRR measures at the three state levels (national, regional, local).

In urban areas, environmental pollution threatens the health of the population. The poorest population groups, women and children are the most severely affected. With its programme, Switzerland is supporting medium-sized municipalities and cities in dealing with their environmental problems, including the organisation of rubbish collection services and treatment of waste water.

Employment and income

Increasing productivity and economic diversification

To promote economic development in rural areas producers benefit from access to financial and other services. As a result, they are able to increase their production and to improve the processing and marketing of their goods and services.

The Swiss Development Cooperation is also active in the area of vocational education and training. Young people and adults without qualifications are trained and have a higher chance of being employed or self-employed in order to improve their income. 

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 Swiss Development Coperation's priority countries and since 2017 it has been a country for complementary measures of the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO). The programme is adjusted on an ongoing basis to reflect the socio-economic conditions.


Cooperation Strategy Bolivia 2018-2021 (PDF, 3.2 MB, German)

Swiss Cooperation Report 2013-2017 (PDF, 2.7 MB, Spanish)

Cooperation Strategy Bolivia 2013–2016 (PDF, Number of pages 29, 883.1 kB, German)

Latin Brief June 2017: Prevention rather than punishment: a life free of violence for the women of Bolivia 

Latin Brief January 2016: Supporting food security in Bolivia: Sowing beans, sowing hope 

Latin Brief 1/2015: Professional education in bolivia:
“We need more electricians and fewer lawyers (PDF, Number of pages 4, 669.1 kB, English)

Latin Brief Juillet 2013: «The municipality is all of us» - How the Swiss Cooperation supports decentralisation in Bolivia (PDF, Number of pages 4, 879.3 kB, English)

Artisanal and Small-scale Gold Mining in Latin America and Asia (Mongolia) (PDF, Number of pages 8, 12.6 MB, English)
SDC experiences with Formalization and Responsible Environmental Practices

Un seul monde (PDF, Page 1, 11.1 MB, French)

No. 4/2011: La planète urbaine – Un reportage à La Paz-El Alto

Latin Brief: Comment la Bolivie protège la biodiversité et combat la pauvreté (fr) (PDF, Number of pages 4, 518.3 kB, French)

Un seul monde (fr) (PDF, Number of pages 36, 6.4 MB, French)

No. 4/2009: Crise financière / Réformes en Bolivie / Droits de l’homme et changement climatique

3 concrete Storys of ownership and local leadership of SDC in Bolivia, Benin and Nepal (PDF, Number of pages 2, 836.7 kB)

Blog: Experiences from editorial departments
The SDC and the Swiss journalism school, MAZ, give Swiss media professionals the chance to get to know editorial teams in southern countries. In their blog, the journalists and photographers relate their experiences in Bangladesh, Nepal, Laos, Bolivia and Tunisia.