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 169 – 180 of 1075

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.


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.


Global Malaria Technical & Training Support Package (GlobMal)

01.07.2019 - 30.06.2023

The worldwide reduction in malaria-related death in the last two decades is a major global public health success. Despite the 6 million lives saved from malaria, still more than 400’000 people die every year. The project aims to shape effective global and national malaria control and elimination strategies, by providing the necessary scientific evidence and strengthening capacities of malaria-affected countries. Swiss research and private sector contribute to the design and implementation of these global and national malaria strategies.


SMArt – Sustainable Mountain Art

01.07.2019 - 30.06.2023

SDC’s Global Programmes focus on key challenges such as climate change and environment, water, migration, health, agriculture and food security. Changes in behaviour and consumption require empathy. Art is a complementary pathway helping to create awareness, stimulate necessary debate and generate action. By engaging artists with society at large, with a particular focus on mountains as entry point and on youth as important actor group, the implementation of Agenda 2030 can be enhanced.


Ifakara Health Institute: Scaling up of research results and innovations to maximize public health impact

15.06.2019 - 14.06.2022

Investment in health research and innovation in Tanzania is a national policy priority but receives irregular public support. This contribution aims to strengthen the Ifakara Health Institute, a successful research institution with Swiss roots, to improve its research impact at policy and community levels. The intervention will also bring together researchers and end-users in an innovation hub to identify livelihood challenges of youths and innovative approaches to address these. Private sector partnerships with Swiss innovators will be primary clients of the innovation hub.


Choosing coffee over poppy - a public-private partnership (Myanmar)

01.06.2019 - 31.05.2023

In Southern Shan State infrastructure, access to basic services and income opportunities are scarce. Poverty and malnutrition are omnipresent and out-migration is high. Building on a private-public partnership with Malongo, a French coffee company and Walter Matter SA, a Swiss logistics firm, SDC supports the Green Gold coffee cooperative and its 900 members to become a sustainable and business-oriented organisation.


Somalia, UNFPA Support to Health, gender and Data.

01.06.2019 - 31.12.2020

The maternal mortality rates in Somalia are among the highest in the world, which puts women at a high risk in and around child birth. Support to this programme will increase access to sexual and reproductive rights and health services. The programme will also contribute to addressing gender inequality, as well as production of key population data to be used for evidence based programming in Somalia. This will improve women’s well-being, enhance family planning and, as a consequence, increase stability in the region, which is in the Swiss interest.


Donor Committee for Enterprise Development (DCED)

01.06.2019 - 31.12.2023

DCED as the independent and respected point of reference for standards, knowledge and data on the role of the private sector in development, contributes to improving donor’s programs in this domain. It also advocates globally the importance of the topic in the development sector. SDC supports the DCED in its various activities since the early 80ies and co-chairs the working group on Market System Development and Private Sector Engagement


Support to Dealing with the past roadmap implementation in Nepal

01.06.2019 - 31.03.2025


The program aims to support a new inclusive and equitable mechanism of dealing with the past with the purpose to address the root causes of the conflict which remains an uncompleted process in Nepal. The implementation of a comprehensive national roadmap will guaranty to be victim-centred and a government-driven process. This program provides a solid basis for strengthening an inclusive federal state


Climate Ledger Initiative (CLI)

01.06.2019 - 31.05.2022

The Climate Ledger Initiative (CLI) addresses one of the world’s most pressing problems, climate change, with one of the potentially most promising technological innovations – blockchain. Through its platform function CLI brings together a variety of stakeholders from private and public sector to test pilot applications of the still new distributed ledger technology for effective climate action and development achievements. With its contribution to CLI SDC fosters innovation, development gains through applied technology development in developing countries and contributes to the global norm setting in this rapidly evolving field. 


CMR : DRC Réponse protection Adamaoua

16.05.2019 - 30.04.2020

Avec cette contribution au projet de DRC, la DDC poursuit son engagement à la protection des populations affectées dans la région de l'Adamaoua à l'est du Cameroun (frontière RCA), par le renforcement de l'environnement protecteur et l'amélioration des moyens d'existence des communautées et des individus les plus vulnérables ; tout en réduisant l'exposition aux risques de protection des enfants en améliorant leur accès à l'éducation. 

Object 169 – 180 of 1075