Natural resources and development

View of a large open-cast phosphate mine in Togo.
Developing countries such as Togo have an abundance of natural resources. The SDC is committed to ensuring that these are exploited fairly © Alexandra Pugachevsky

Exploiting natural resources is crucial to the economies of many developing countries and Swiss companies play a key role in commodities trading. Natural resources can be used to alleviate traditional forms of poverty, but many countries fail to take this step. The SDC aims to address this problem. 

The commodities sector is becoming increasingly important in developing countries. According to a 2016 report by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), 91 developing countries in 2015 were dependent on commodities, where commodity exports accounted for more than 60% of a country's total merchandise exports. The World Bank also estimates that Africa alone is home to about 30% of the world's mineral reserves. Certain minerals, such as cobalt and tantalum, which are used extensively in electronic products, mainly come from fragile countries. 

With the expansion of 'clean' industries and technologies, the demand for minerals is set to increase, generating significant investment in exploration and developing new mines.

The various backgrounds and roles of the stakeholders involved have been debated for years by the academic community, international development policy committees, governments and civil society. The macroeconomic effects of exploiting natural resources and the factors causing price volatility have also been assessed. Attention has also been focused on extraction practices that cause damage to health and the environment, exploitative working conditions and conflicts over access to natural resources, which have the potential to unleash violence or even armed conflict.

Issues relating to financial flows from commodities trading are also the subject of intense debate. In general, funds that have been acquired illegally, or in questionable circumstances, and are transferred abroad present a major obstacle to economic growth and good governance in developing countries. There is broad consensus that illicit outflows from developing countries exceed the value of official development assistance many times over. A high percentage of these financial flows are attributable to commodities production and trading.

Switzerland is a key player in the commodities trading sector. It is estimated that more than 3 billion tonnes of commodities, calculated at over CHF 960 billion, are traded in Switzerland each year. In a report entitled 'The Swiss commodities sector: current situation and outlook' published in November 2018, the Federal Council states that it expects all companies operating in or out of Switzerland to demonstrate integrity and responsible conduct with regard to respect for human rights as well as environmental and social standards, both within Switzerland and abroad. The Federal Council also states that this applies to the entire value chain and is especially important for companies that operate in fragile states. 

 The SDC's main areas of activity

  • The SDC is committed to raising international standards for commodities production and trading and ensuring that governments and companies properly implement such standards.
  • Switzerland supports the implementation of multilateral instruments in the fight to control corruption and illicit financial flows.
  • In terms of international development cooperation, the SDC is committed to assisting its commodity producing partner countries in managing natural resources and creating sustainable value chains.
  • By supporting research and multi-stakeholder platforms, Switzerland is contributing to a better understanding of both the challenges and opportunities facing developing countries in relation to mining.

Current projects

Object 121 – 132 of 1083

DEAR Foundation contribution Madaa

15.07.2019 - 14.07.2020

Switzerland, through Dear Foundation active in the oPt, will contribute to the provision of educational, cultural and psychosocial services for children, women and youth in the most sensitive neighbourhoods of East Jerusalem. A particular focus is given on reducing vulnerability and creating opportunities for jobs and income generation. Enhancing protection framework and strengthening the resilience of Palestinian communities in East Jerusalem are in line with Swiss Cooperation Strategy for the oPt (2015-2019).


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.


Enhance employability of migrants in Urban Cairo

01.07.2019 - 31.08.2022

Food-processing and the food service sector is ranked as Egypt’s second largest manufacturing industry This project supports the employability of vulnerable Egyptians and migrants, especially women, in the food sector.


E-Governance for Accountability and Participation (EGAP)

01.07.2019 - 30.06.2023

EGAP Programme through modern e-governance and e-democracy tools contributes to a more effective and integrity-based public administration and service delivery, benefitting both citizens and businesses, to higher transparency and accountability of national and local authorities towards citizens, and to the formation of a new political culture characterized by citizens’ responsibility, competence and activism.


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.


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.


Livelihoods and Food Security Fund - LIFT

01.07.2019 - 30.06.2024

The Livelihoods and Food Security Fund (LIFT) is a multi-donor fund, coordinating and contributing aid to rural development in Myanmar. Within its strategy period 2019-2023 LIFT will benefit 3.7 million additionl people with a strong focus on leaving no one behind, while working on more inclusive government policies and supporting the private sector. As chair for the LIFT Fund Board in the coming 12 months, Switzerland will ensure LIFT’s conflict-sensitivity and benefit from additional access to key decision makers.


Promoting Market Oriented Skills Training in the Great Lakes region (PROMOST)

01.07.2019 - 30.06.2022

PROMOST contributed to increased employment and income generation in the Great Lakes region by providing access and enhancing quality of vocational training. Building on the achievements of the previous two phases, the third phase will focus on the sustainability of the interventions, on the labor market insertion of graduates and on the institutionalization of short-term training and apprentice-ships, thus permitting the phasing-out of Swiss contributions and the continuous increasing of national and regional commitments to professional skills education, especially in Rwanda.


FarhangSara - Promotion of Cultural and Artistic Expressions

01.07.2019 - 30.06.2022

The project fosters peaceful interactions within a divided Afghan society marked by decades of conflict. The unifying potential of cultural heritage and the promotion of artistic expression contribute to refocus on common ground. To ensure the protection and promotion of tangible and intangible cultural heritage, the project supports conducive cultural policies, strengthens partnerships with public institutions, private sector, civil society, media and individual artists all over the country.


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.

Object 121 – 132 of 1083