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 49 – 60 of 215

Accelerating financing for development: international taxation and investment

01.08.2019 - 31.12.2023

The realization of the 2030 Agenda requires an unprecedented mobilization of public and private funds. Through targeted engagements with well-known think tanks, this intervention will support the creation of evidence on the combined potential of international investment and taxation policies as accelerators for the financing of sustainable development. Translated into policy options, this evidence is expected to contribute to the shaping of policy discussions in relevant international fora, notably at the OECD, and inform Swiss positions.


Programme d’Appui à la Production Agricole en Haïti (PAPAH), Phase II

01.08.2019 - 31.12.2024

La phase 2 du Programme d’Appui à la Production Agricole en Haïti vise à renforcer le système national de financement et d’assurance agricoles en Haïti, porté par les institutions publiques et privées et régulé par la Banque de la République d’Haïti. La contribution suisse servira de levier pour mieux structurer et orienter des investissements d’environ USD 340 millions au profit des exploitations dans les chaines de valeur agricoles; dans le Sud et la Grand-Anse, en synergie avec les programmes du portefeuille Suisse, le développement de produits financiers spécifiques servira environ 20 000 exploitations agricoles.


Improvement of the local self-governance system Armenia

01.07.2019 - 30.06.2023

Switzerland continues to support the national reform on territorial consolidation and decentralization which has been strongly confirmed by the new Government. On one hand, necessary framework conditions will be developed to finalize the amalgamation process. On the other hand, the municipalities will be capacitated to provide efficient and quality administrative services to their citizens and to incentivize local development. Citizen participation will be emphasized to render local authorities more accountable and local development more inclusive.


Accountability in Health & Agriculture

01.07.2019 - 30.06.2023

While governments have translated regional policies on Food Security and Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) into national policies, these are poorly implemented and the public lacks capacities to act effectively upon them. The project will improve the accountability and gender responsiveness of public resource management and complement the ongoing Swiss funded projects in ensuring that policy/advocacy work developed at national, regional and global levels is disseminated and implemented by relevant SADC and governmental institutions.


Diálogo y apoyo colaborativo (DAC)

01.07.2019 - 31.12.2023

The project aims to strengthen Bolivian civil society organisations, with a view to them engaging in dialogue incl. conflict resolution on a more equal footing and a relationship of shared responsibility with the state and the private sector, through collaborative interaction between them on key inclusive development issues (added value of Swiss support). Emphasis will be placed on the three domains of the current Cooperation Strategy: governance, economic development, and climate change and the environment.


Strengthening Civil Society in Myanmar (Paung Ku)

01.07.2019 - 30.06.2023

By supporting Paung Ku, SDC contributes to more participation of vulnerable communities and women in decision-making processes and equitable access to public services. Paung Ku is a local non-governmental organization, unique in the reach of its network in Myanmar’s civil society that advocates for the rights of ethnic and marginalized people and strengthens civil society to drive positive social change towards a development that is pro-poor and environmentally sustainable. 


Support to Village Councils in the West Bank

01.07.2019 - 31.10.2021

Switzerland will support Village Councils in the West Bank to improve the delivery of basic services in rural areas with a focus on those situated in Area C. Switzerland’s support aims at empowering selected local government units to deliver needed public services, while supporting an enhanced engagement of women, youth and people with disabilities, to improve local accountability processes. This intervention will be realized through dedicated funding to a local governance programme implemented by GIZ.


Contribution à l’organisation internationale de la Francophonie OIF

01.07.2019 - 31.12.2022

Conjuguant une double mission de diplomatie politique et de coopération, l’OIF donne corps à une solidarité et à une coopération actives entre les 84 États qui la composent. En soutenant la mise en œuvre du programme de l’OIF, la Suisse contribue au renforcement de la gouvernance démocratique, à la prévention des conflits, à l’accès à une éducation de qualité et à une croissance durable et inclusive en Afrique de l’Ouest, en particulier pour les femmes et les jeunes.


Contribution de la DDC à l’appui conjoint des PTF au Secrétariat du Groupe Exécutif de Coopération (GEC), ex Pool Technique

01.07.2019 - 31.12.2021

Le Secrétariat exécutif du Groupe Exécutif de Coopération (SEG) est un instrument commun des bailleurs de fonds dont la tâche est de soutenir leurs efforts de rendre l’aide au développement plus efficace. La contribution de la Suisse vise à rendre l’engagement des partenaires techniques et financiers (PTF) plus sensible au contexte fragile et vulnérable du Mali par une meilleure coordination, l’application d’approches de travail communes et le renforcement du dialogue politique de haut niveau.


Improving transparency and reducing corruption through e-governance in Ukraine

EGAP

01.07.2019 - 30.06.2023

The people of Ukraine are regularly confronted with the problems of corruption and difficulties in accessing information. With the 'E-Governance for Accountability and Participation' (EGAP) programme, the SDC is working to improve this situation and help strengthen citizens' trust in Ukraine's public administration.


LëvizAlbania

01.07.2019 - 30.06.2023

Albania is at a critical juncture in its democratisation process and low level of civic engagement in the society does not aid. Challenging the status quo, LëvizAlbania empowers actors in the civic space (citizens, interest groups, CSOs, media etc.) to be drivers of change and pressure the government to take action benefiting the Albanian citizens. It complements SDCs extensive past and present work of institutional transformations of local level government.


Tanzania Election Support 2019/2020

01.05.2019 - 30.06.2021

Since the contested 2015 Presidential elections, civic space and democratic values have been on the decline in Tanzania. The 2019 local and 2020 national elections will therefore be a crucial moment for Tanzania’s democratic trajectory, which Switzerland has supported for many years. This single phase project supports a coalition of Tanzanian Civil Society Organizations to conduct long- and short term election observation; as well as a targeted intervention in Zanzibar to promote peaceful dialogue, especially for youth.

Object 49 – 60 of 215