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 205 – 215 of 215

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.

 

 

 


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.


Institutional Strengthening of IGAD

31.05.2014 - 30.06.2021

The Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) is a sub-regional organization in the Horn of Africa. In line with Switzerland’s decision to increase its engagement with IGAD, the proposed contribution aims at strengthening the organization institutionally based on its political legitimacy, thematic relevance and capacity to contribute to peace and development in one of the world’s most fragile regions.


Regional and Municipal Infrastructure Development in Georgia

10.04.2014 - 30.06.2023

The project will increase human and institutional capacities of all municipalities in Georgia (except the capital city Tbilisi). lt will enable them to perform independently the core three functions for decentralised delivery of basic infrastructure services, i. e. Project Cycle Management, Financial Management and Asset Management. Such a decentralized System will enable the Government to better respond to population needs at local level.


Multi Donor Trust Fund (MDTF)

01.12.2013 - 31.12.2022

The MDTF aims to reduce the socio-economic marginalisation of people, with focus on women, religious minorities and internally displaced people, in the Pakistan border regions to Afghanistan; the fund will contribute to state-building in the most fragile regions of the country by strengthening capacity of the subnational governments. Consequently, the population will get increased access to basic services and livelihood opportunities.


Institutional Support to Network of Associations of Local Authorities in South East Europe (NALAS)

01.07.2013 - 31.12.2022

With an institutional support to the Network of Associations of Local Authorities of South – East Europe (NALAS), SDC supports the decentralization and democratization processes as well as stability in South East Europe (SEE). NALAS strengthens national associations of local governments and fosters communication and cooperation among them. Through its advocacy activities, NALAS will support local governments in SEE to become more visible and taken into account, both by national governments and European institutions.


Police Capacity Development on Election Security through the UNDP Election Support Program

01.04.2013 - 30.09.2013

On 11th May 2013, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) will, for the first time in history, administer a transition from one full term democratic elected government to another. The probability of electoral violence threatens this opportunity. The police are the most important player in smooth conduct of election security. Yet, the majority of the police force has limited knowledge of electoral security protocol. With a contribution to the UNDP Election Support Program the capacity of police in election security will be enhanced.


Third Sustainable Livelihoods Project (SLP3)

01.09.2012 - 31.12.2021

The Third Sustainable Livelihoods Project (SLP3) aims to foster improved rural local governance and effective service provision by building capacity and institutionalizing community participation in the planning and delivery of priority investments. It will do so by supporting the implementation of the new Integrated Budget Law (IBL), which is the centrepiece of the government’s decentralization reform process. SLP3 will provide essential training, development and performance grants to all 330 soums and benefit 40% of Mongolia’s population.

Object 205 – 215 of 215