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 193 – 204 of 212

Reforming civil society organisations in Moldova

Women and men assembled in a room

01.12.2015 - 31.12.2021

The Engaging Citizens and Empowering Communities project aims to strengthen civil society organisations by enabling them to play a crucial role in promoting and safeguarding the rights and interests of vulnerable and marginalised people in Moldova.

Country/region Topic Period Budget
Moldova
Governance
Human rights
Rule of Law - Democracy - Human rights
Democratic participation and civil society
Human rights (incl. Women's rights)

01.12.2015 - 31.12.2021


CHF 3'150'000



Strong and Inclusive Parliamentary Democracy

15.11.2015 - 30.04.2021

The parliamentary democracy in Kyrgyzstan still needs to be strengthened. The project will institutionalise systems allowing the Parliament to held the government accountable for its performance in public service delivery. An increased citizens' participation in the development of national policies will help to identify adequate solutions to people's need and priorities. In this process, citizens will have an oversight on the work and performance of the Parliament and its members.


Afghanistan Reconstruction Trust Fund (ARTF)

01.11.2015 - 31.10.2024

Millions of Afghan women, men and children gained access to services and improved their income since the Afghanistan Reconstruction Trust Fund’s initiation (ARTF) in 2002. It also significantly contributed to the Afghan state’s capacity and legitimacy. ARTF constitutes a coordinated financing mechanism for the state's budget (Recurrent Cost Window) and for its priority national investment projects (Investment Window) in the areas of agriculture, rural development, infrastructure, education, health and governance.


Sustainable and Inclusive Regional Economic Development in Macedonia

01.11.2015 - 30.09.2021

The level of development of Macedonia‘s eight regions is highly unequal. A national structure for balanced regional development has been built up since 2007. SDC will contribute to the establishment of a national system for coordination and monitoring for balanced regional development. In the regions, good governance will be enhanced; project development and implementation capacities will be improved with focus on the less developed regions. These measures will ensure greater allocation of funds to the underdeveloped regions.


Contribution to the Cotton Reform Multi-Donors Trust Fund of the World Bank in Uzbekistan

01.09.2015 - 30.09.2021

The World Bank led multi-donor trust fund will contribute to a sustainable cotton reform by thoroughly monitoring child and forced labour during cotton harvest, building the capacities of relevant authorities in terms of international standards and legislaion, raising awareness of the population and the stakeholders' groups involved in cotton picking. This will feed into policy dialogue with the Government and eventually eradicate this harmful practice for the rural population.


Kenya resilient arid lands partnerships for integrated development (Kenya RAPID)

01.08.2015 - 31.05.2021

Pastoralism is a millennia old livelihood strategy adapted to the marginal and harsh environments of the Arid and Semi-Arid Lands (ASAL). This programme supports the historically marginalized pastoralist communities of Northern Kenya, bordering Somalia and Ethiopia, with improved access to water (for both livestock and domestic use) and improved rangelands management through water infrastructure, strengthened public and private institutions and policy frameworks.


PEGIN - Promoción de la Equidad de Género con Incidencia Nacional

01.04.2015 - 30.06.2021

Formada por seis organizaciones cubanas la plataforma PEGIN busca incidir en políticas nacionales para promover procesos políticos y sociales a favor de la igualdad de género y para evitar que las reformas actuales no crean nuevas discriminaciones. Además, el proyecto contribuye a incorporar los principios de igualdad de género en todo el programa de COSUDE (transversalización).


Support for the third International Conference on Financing for Sustainable Development

01.11.2014 - 30.06.2022

Switzerland will engage in strategic advocacy and policy influencing partnerships to strengthen its position in the financing for sustainable development process leading up to the 2015 Financing for Development conference in Addis Ababa, and to enhance the preparatory process and the outcome in line with Swiss priorities, in particular by ensuring that the voice of the Private Sector is heard throughout the process.


Transparency International Bangladesh: Building Integrity Blocks for Effective Change

01.10.2014 - 31.12.2021

Transparency International Bangladesh promotes improved governance in selected institutions of integrity (parliament, judiciary, etc.) and five sectors providing basic services to the people (education, health, local governance, land, climate finance) as well as it strengthens its grassroots movement in order to reduce corruption for the benefit of the poor and the marginalised.


Enhanced Skills for Sustainable and Rewarding Employment (ENSSURE)(Main Credit)

01.08.2014 - 15.07.2021

In Nepal, 450,000 youths enter the labour market yearly but remain un- or underemployed. Through ENSSURE, 21’000 youths will increase their employability by attending company-based trainings such as apprenticeships and further training of workers, combined with off-the-job systematic courses[1].The strong collaboration between the Ministry of Education and industry associations will increase the skill level of workers; thus labor productivity and will lead  to more decent employment.

 

 

 

[1] Systematic courses could be: Pre-employment basics, day or block release for related trade theory, pre-assessment course, etc.

 

 

 


The members of municipal councils working for democracy

Women and men assembled in a community hall.

01.07.2014 - 31.12.2021

With the ‘Empowering Municipal Councils’ project, Switzerland’s international cooperation is helping municipal councils in North Macedonia to become effective local authorities whose community policies take into account the interests of ordinary citizens.

Country/region Topic Period Budget
Macedonia
Governance
Decentralisation

01.07.2014 - 31.12.2021


CHF 4'000'000



Programme d’Appui aux Collectivités Territoriales (PACT)

01.06.2014 - 30.06.2021

Les élections municipales de juillet 2004 ont scellé l'irréversibilité du processus de décentralisation au Niger. Malgré cette décision souveraine, les transferts de compétences et de ressources aux Collectivités Territoriales restent modestes, sans grands effets sur l'évolution de la gouvernance locale. Pour dynamiser cette réforme prioritaire, le PACT entend contribuer au développement d’une gouvernance locale fondée sur la participation citoyenne, l'accès équitable des populations aux services publics locaux et à la redistribution inclusive des richesses.

Object 193 – 204 of 212