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 49 – 60 of 214

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.


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.


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.


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.


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. 


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.


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.


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.


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 214