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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Strengthening cities for migration and development

15.10.2017 - 31.12.2021

Cities are the main destination for migrants worldwide. They play a crucial role in ensuring migrants’ social and economic inclusion and in leveraging migration as a source of innovation and prosperity. Switzerland aims at strengthening the evidence base on how to manage urban migration to maximize its development effects and at leveraging the voice and experience of cities in shaping effective migration policies. The project will involve Swiss cities and benefit from Swiss research expertise.


Gaza Vulnerable Communities Development- GVCD (Phase 1)

01.10.2017 - 31.12.2021

In the first phase of this project, SDC will support selected Municipalities in the Gaza Strip to improve the delivery of services through the Municipal Development and Lending Fund (MDLF): small-scale infrastructure projects targeting vulnerable communities and capacity development activities to enhance the participation of these communities in local decision-making processes will be implemented. This project is aligned with Palestine National Policy Agenda (2017-2022), and Swiss Cooperation Strategy for the oPt (2015-2018).


SDC - ECDPM Partnership 2017-2020: Promoting PCSD concept work and implementation

01.10.2017 - 31.12.2021

The 2030 Agenda calls for joint actions across national borders, economic sectors and cultures for managing global risks and achieving a transition towards global sustainable development. As stipulated in the Agenda 2030 and resumed in the dispatch on Switzerland’s International Cooperation 2017-20, policy coherence for (sustainable) development will play a key role as a means of implementation. The SDC –ECDPM Partnership aims at providing analysis, policy solutions, and practical support to implement them, to SDC and development partners in general.


A toolbox for sustainable sefl-reliance

Workers learn how to build stable houses in cyclone-affected Southwestern Haiti.

06.09.2017 - 31.03.2022

Haiti has been repeatedly devastated by earthquakes and hurricanes in recent years. SDC engineers are now working with those affected to build more stable houses from local materials. Five hundred new homes are to be built by 2021.

Country/region Topic Period Budget
Haiti
Climate change and environment
Humanitarian Assistance & DRR
Vocational training
Governance

Disaster risk reduction DRR
Humanitarian efficiency
Vocational training
Public sector policy

06.09.2017 - 31.03.2022


CHF 4'509'500



Support to Municipal Development Project (MDP-3)

Support to municipal development project (MDP-3), occupied Palestinian territory

01.09.2017 - 31.12.2021

Since 2009, the Municipal Development Project (MDP) has been the main vehicle for policy reform in the Local Governance sector in the oPt. It has channelled funding to Municipalities to support infrastructure projects and capacity-building activities in a transparent and equitable manner, despite huge challenges linked to 50 years of Israeli Occupation and to 10 years of intra-Palestinian divide. MDP-3 (2017-2021) is supported by 7 donors and the Palestinian Authority: SDC’s contribution is in line with Swiss Cooperation Strategy for the oPt (2015-2018).

Country/region Topic Period Budget
Palestinian Authority
Governance
Decentralisation
Democratic participation and civil society

01.09.2017 - 31.12.2021


CHF 5'300'000



International Land Coalition (ILC)

01.09.2017 - 31.12.2021

Through a core contribution to the International Land Coalition, SDC supports a global network of 207 members in 64 countries in which civil society, intergovernmental organisations and academic institutions interact to trigger changes in policies and practices at country level toward a land governance putting people at its centre. With a targeted additional support to the Land Matrix, SDC contributes to an independent monitoring initiative on large scale land deals, promoting transparency and accountability.


National Governance and Public Administration Reform (NGPAR): Governance for Inclusive Development Project (GIDP)

01.08.2017 - 30.09.2021

In a context of prevailing poor access to public services, the National Governance and Public Administration Reform Programme (NGPAR) has enhanced inclusive service delivery and local development via strengthening public administrations, increased dialogue, and collaboration between citizens and state for more effective service delivery since 2006. NGPAR Phase 4, the Governance for Inclusive Development Project will focus on support to the devolution process for inclusive and sustainable development in Lao PDR.


Programme d’Appui à la Gouvernance et la Décentralisation (PAGODE) - Phase 1

01.08.2017 - 28.02.2023

Le PAGODE renforce les acteurs de la gouvernance locale en tant que connecteur de programmes et d’actions de développement dans 18 communes du grand Sud, selon les priorités du Ministère del’Intérieur et des Collectivités Territoriales. Un apport sera mis à disposition de ces communes pour des investissements en appui à leur plan de développement. De par son expérience en gouvernance locale, ainsi que son expertise dans l’appui de ces processus à travers le monde (y compris en Haïti avec 2 années préparatoires), la Suisse a un avantage et une légitimité clairs pour accompagner cette importante réforme en Haïti.


Inclusive Economic Development Program Territorial Region 13 Gulf of Fonseca

Cashew producer partner "La Sureñita"

01.08.2017 - 31.07.2022

The program contributes to generate 5'000 new jobs and to increase the income of 10’000 vulnerable families living in the watersheds of Choluteca, Goascorán and Nacaome by 10% annually. The program promotes public-private partnerships taking into account the challenges and potentials of smallholder families producing cashew, sustainable livestock and eco-tourism. It also facilitates territorial dialogue to establish rules that foster a business climate that combines financial benefits with social and environmental sustainability.


Support to Decentralization in Ukraine (DESPRO)

01.07.2017 - 31.12.2021

Switzerland’s continued support to decentralization and local governance reform in Ukraine builds upon the good results achieved in previous phases. By strengthening capacities of the key national reform stakeholders and improving national policies, SDC will contribute to further advancing the reform. Local governments will be capacitated to effectively use newly transferred competences and resources to provide quality public services (in particular water supply & sanitation and solid waste management) to citizens.


Strengthening the Systems that Combat Corruption and Impunity (MACCIH-CICIG) in Central America

01.07.2017 - 31.08.2020

Honduras and Guatemala requested the Organization of American States and the United Nations to create mechanisms to combat corruption and impunity. The Support Mission Against Corruption and Impunity in Honduras and the International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala are supported by international cooperation in improving the justice system, the public prosecutor, and the anti-corruption and Human Rights protection agencies. COSUDE contributes to existing mandates and strengthens regional interchange.


United Nations Research Institute for Social Development (UNRISD)

01.07.2017 - 31.12.2022

The United Nations Research Institute for Social Development (UNRISD) located in Geneva is an autonomous research institute within the UN system. It undertakes multidisciplinary research and policy analysis on the social dimensions of contemporary development challenges. Guided by its research strategy 2016-2020 entitled “Transformations to Equity and Sustainability”, UNRISD aims at contributing to the understanding of policymakers, United Nations experts, and the public at large about the social dimension of the Sustainable Development Goals.

Object 145 – 156 of 212