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 37 – 48 of 1099

Rehabilitation of schools in northern Lebanon

The rehabilitated schools are providing a better learning environment for Lebanese as well as Syrian pupils. © SDC

16.11.2015 - 30.11.2019

Following the rehabilitation of 28 schools in northern Lebanon in the first phases of the project, the SDC is expanding its engagement to 24 other schools in the same region. The rehabilitation works are being carried out in cooperation with the Lebanese authorities to help them cope with the large influx of refugee children from Syria.

Country/region Topic Period Budget
Lebanon
Education
Humanitarian Assistance & DRR
Other
Primary education
Education facilities and training
Reconstruction and rehabilitation (till 2016)
Sector not specified
EDUCATION
EDUCATION
RECONSTRUCTION RELIEF & REHABILITATION
OTHER MULTISECTOR
Unallocated / Unspecified
Primary education
Education facilities and training
Reconstruction relief and rehabilitation
Multisector aid
Sectors not specified

16.11.2015 - 30.11.2019


CHF 3'690'000



Appui aux économies locales des collectivités de Youwarou et de Niafunké. Programme de Soutien aux Economies Locales du Delta intérieur du Niger

01.07.2015 - 31.03.2020

Dans les régions du delta intérieur du Niger, au centre et au Nord du Mali, les populations rurales sont confrontées à des crises structurelles multiformes dont l’insécurité alimentaire. La DDC appuie les autorités locales avec des projets économiques dans les filières agricoles porteuses pour assurer la sécurité alimentaire et réduire la pauvreté d’au moins 150'000 personnes. En plus, elle accompagne les municipalités de cette zone dans la maitrise d’ouvrage du développement territorial et la gestion pacifique des ressources naturelles.

Country/region Topic Period Budget
Mali
Agriculture & food security
Governance
Climate change and environment
Agriculture value-chain development (til 2016)
Decentralisation
Environmental policy
OTHER MULTISECTOR
GOVERNMENT AND CIVIL SOCIETY
GENERAL ENVIRONMENT PROTECTION
Rural development
Decentralisation and support to subnational government (incl. accountability)
Environmental policy and administrative management

01.07.2015 - 31.03.2020


CHF 9'445'000



Sustainable water and pasture management to alleviate the plight of Ethiopian pastoralists

A group of Ethiopian men and women beside a half dried-up pool of water, using picks and shovels to dig new basins.

01.06.2015 - 31.08.2020

Drought, fodder scarcity and conflicts over natural resources make life difficult for pastoralists in southern Ethiopia. The SDC has taken various measures to improve their food security and their resilience to crisis situations, ranging from the rehabilitation of pastureland and water points to the introduction of land use plans and the diversification of income sources for women.

Country/region Topic Period Budget
Ethiopia
Agriculture & food security
Climate change and environment
Water
Agricultural development
Environmental policy
Disaster risk reduction DRR
Water resources conservation
AGRICULTURE, FORESTRY, FISHING
GENERAL ENVIRONMENT PROTECTION
WATER SUPPLY & SANITATION
DISASTER PREVENTION AND PREPAREDNESS
Agricultural development
Environmental policy and administrative management
Water resources conservation (including data collection)
Disaster prevention and preparedness

01.06.2015 - 31.08.2020


CHF 6'753'920



Forging a common «Nile culture» through music and academic training

Nile Project musicians on a boat.

01.05.2015 - 31.10.2019

To make the Nile Basin a common ground and shared ecosystem for the inhabitants of the eleven countries through which the Nile River flows, the SDC supports the innovative musical and educational Nile Project. The project brings together artists, students and concerned citizens. A series of acclaimed concerts has taken place since 2013; at the same time, students are developing initiatives to foster a better use of water resources.

Country/region Topic Period Budget
Egypt
Culture / development awareness
Employment & economic development
Education
Climate change and environment
Gender
Governance
Migration
Other
Vocational training
Human rights
Culture & recreation
SME development
Education policy
Disaster risk reduction DRR
Women’s equality organisations and institutions
Democratic participation and civil society
Information and communication technology (ICT)
Migration generally (development aspects and partnerships)
Sector not specified
Development awareness
Business support & economic inclusion
Environmental policy
Public sector policy
Vocational training
Biosphere protection
Legal and judicial development
Human rights (incl. Women's rights)
EDUCATION
GOVERNMENT AND CIVIL SOCIETY
OTHER SOCIAL INFRASTRUCTURE AND SERVICES
COMMUNICATIONS
INDUSTRY
DISASTER PREVENTION AND PREPAREDNESS
Unallocated / Unspecified
EDUCATION
GOVERNMENT AND CIVIL SOCIETY
BUSINESS & OTHER SERVICES
INDUSTRY
GENERAL ENVIRONMENT PROTECTION
Unallocated / Unspecified
GOVERNMENT AND CIVIL SOCIETY
OTHER SOCIAL INFRASTRUCTURE AND SERVICES
COMMUNICATIONS
GENERAL ENVIRONMENT PROTECTION
Unallocated / Unspecified
Education policy and administrative management
Democratic participation and civil society
Women's equality organisations and institutions
Facilitation of orderly, safe, regular and responsible migration and mobility
Culture and recreation
Information and communication technology (ICT)
Small and medium-sized enterprises (SME) development
Disaster prevention and preparedness
Sectors not specified
Vocational training
Public sector policy and administrative management
Business support services and institutions
Small and medium-sized enterprises (SME) development
Environmental policy and administrative management
Sectors not specified
Promotion of development awareness (non-sector allocable)
Legal and judicial development
Human rights
Women's equality organisations and institutions
Facilitation of orderly, safe, regular and responsible migration and mobility
Culture and recreation
Information and communication technology (ICT)
Biosphere protection
Sectors not specified

01.05.2015 - 31.10.2019


CHF 750'000



Strengthening Voice and Accountability in Kyrgyzstan

Five young girls in yellow costumes at the opening ceremony of the new kindergarten

01.04.2015 - 31.03.2020

Decentralisation is one of the priorities of the Kyrgyz government in power since 2012. In line with this, the main goal of this project is to strengthen the ability of citizens to participate in the budget process in their municipality, and to ensure that local governments use their funds adequately for public services.

Country/region Topic Period Budget
Kyrgyzstan
Governance
Conflict & fragility
Decentralisation
Public finance management
Conflict prevention
GOVERNMENT AND CIVIL SOCIETY
GOVERNMENT AND CIVIL SOCIETY
GOVERNMENT AND CIVIL SOCIETY
Decentralisation and support to subnational government (incl. accountability)
Public finance management
Civilian peace-building, conflict prevention and resolution

01.04.2015 - 31.03.2020


CHF 5'740'000



From Education to Employment (E2E)

A young woman at a computer regulating machines.

01.04.2015 - 31.12.2019

Serbia, which is currently negotiating accession to the European Union (EU), must undergo reforms to meet the criteria that apply to EU member states. Unemployment among young people is currently 27,5% and is a major concern for the Serbian government. Serbia wants to base the reform of its vocational training system on the success factors of the Swiss system of dual education and training and has invited Switzerland to assist it in this crucially important reform process.

Country/region Topic Period Budget
Serbia
Vocational training
Employment & economic development
Vocational training
Employment creation
EDUCATION
OTHER SOCIAL INFRASTRUCTURE AND SERVICES
Vocational training
Employment policy and administrative management

01.04.2015 - 31.12.2019


CHF 8'010'000



Bangladesh: courses to raise job prospects for the poor in the textiles and building sectors

Three sewing machine operators in a textile factory receiving on-the-job training from three other people.

01.04.2015 - 31.03.2021

The textiles and construction sectors in Bangladesh are recording high rates of growth, but many poor women and men lack the necessary qualifications for skilled jobs. By 2019, a project jointly financed by Switzerland and the United Kingdom aims to give 110,000 of them better prospects through on-the-job training. The results so far are promising.

Country/region Topic Period Budget
Bangladesh
Employment & economic development
Vocational training
Employment creation
Vocational training
Tradepolicy & market system
OTHER SOCIAL INFRASTRUCTURE AND SERVICES
EDUCATION
TRADE POLICY AND REGULATIONS
Employment policy and administrative management
Vocational training
Trade policy and administrative management

01.04.2015 - 31.03.2021


CHF 5'825'000



Life without violence, from dream to reality

The face of a woman who has been abused.

01.02.2015 - 31.05.2020

The SDC hopes that by backing a newly-adopted law in Bolivia on ending violence against women, it can contribute to more systematic and targeted care for female victims. Local and national authorities and the people are working together on a comprehensive approach to prevent assaults on women. Too often, attitudes are tinged with a male chauvinism that sanctions violence.

Country/region Topic Period Budget
Bolivia
Human rights
Human rights (incl. Women's rights)
GOVERNMENT AND CIVIL SOCIETY
Human rights

01.02.2015 - 31.05.2020


CHF 4'070'000



Sustainable Artisanal Mining

A miner drilling rock in search of gold.

01.01.2015 - 31.12.2019

With the boom in the informal mining sector at the start of the 2000s, the Mongolian government, with support from the SDC, launched a project for sustainable artisanal mining in 2005. The project’s aim is to formalise and legalise these activities while developing the capacities of the miners.

Country/region Topic Period Budget
Mongolia
Governance
Human rights
Mineral/mining policy
Human rights (incl. Women's rights)
MINERAL RESOURCES & MINING
GOVERNMENT AND CIVIL SOCIETY
Mineral/mining policy and administrative management
Human rights

01.01.2015 - 31.12.2019


CHF 6'265'000



Healthy people and animals in Ethiopia thanks to an interdisciplinary project: Jigjiga University One Health Initiative

African farmer ploughing a field with an ox.

01.01.2015 - 30.09.2020

Nomadic pastoralist communities, which constitute one tenth of Ethiopia’s population, have little access to health services. In the Jigjiga University One Health Initiative, the SDC is helping to establish local healthcare services by supporting an interdisciplinary centre of excellence at Jigjiga University in eastern Ethiopia.

Country/region Topic Period Budget
Ethiopia
Health
Health systems strengthening
Primary health care
HEALTH
HEALTH
Health policy and administrative management
Basic health care

01.01.2015 - 30.09.2020


CHF 2'100'000



Livestock Development in the South of Armenia

Armenian Farmer with his calf

01.09.2014 - 31.08.2020

In the provinces of Syunik and Vayots Dzor in southern Armenia, the agricultural sector mostly comprises subsistence farming where farmers are barely able to support their households. This project aims to help farmers increase their milk and meat production, and thus their incomes, by supporting local veterinary services (to improve animal health), facilitating access to milk and meat markets, and promoting the sharing of know-how among farmers.

Country/region Topic Period Budget
Armenia
Agriculture & food security
Employment & economic development
Agriculture value-chain development (til 2016)
SME development
Agricultural development
OTHER MULTISECTOR
INDUSTRY
AGRICULTURE, FORESTRY, FISHING
Rural development
Small and medium-sized enterprises (SME) development
Agricultural development

01.09.2014 - 31.08.2020


CHF 10'000'000



Blue Peace Central Asia Strengthening of the Regional Institutional Framework for Integrated Water Resources Management in Central Asia

01.09.2014 - 31.12.2020

In response to the explicit demand of the five Central Asian States, and building on over 20 years of cooperation in the field of water, SDC facilitates transboundary water resources cooperation consistent with the Blue Peace approach implemented in the Middle-East and at the global level through the establishment of a High Level Dialogue Platform, the promotion of sustainable water practices as well as capacity building of a new generation of water professionals and champions.

Country/region Topic Period Budget
Central Asia
Water
Climate change and environment
Water diplomacy and security
Meteorological services
Water resources conservation
Water sector policy
WATER SUPPLY & SANITATION
WATER SUPPLY & SANITATION
GOVERNMENT AND CIVIL SOCIETY
WATER SUPPLY & SANITATION
Water sector policy and administrative management
Water sector policy and administrative management
Water resources conservation (including data collection)
Meteorological services
Water sector policy and administrative management
Water resources conservation (including data collection)

01.09.2014 - 31.12.2020


CHF 6'000'000


Object 37 – 48 of 1099