Leaving no one behind is crucial to facilitating the creation of inclusive societies

People in front of a board with post-it notes
Supporting the transition to democracy in Kyrgyzstan. © SDC

Sustainable Development Goal 16 frames inclusion issues in terms of the strength of institutions and participatory processes, measuring progress above all in relation to access to information, inclusive decision-making processes and participation in global governance mechanisms. The 16+ approach also takes aspects of promoting social, economic and political inclusion in the wider sense into account. It focuses firmly on policies related to migration, poverty and urbanisation, promoting global citizenship and advancing women’s participation and leadership, as well as on global financial and economic institutions and an equitable trade system.

Through its efforts in countries and regions such as Egypt, the Great Lakes and Nepal, Switzerland works to promote inclusive societies by endeavouring to ensure the coherence of all the interventions and instruments used in a given context, consolidate the space for civil society and strengthen the latter’s participation in decision-making processes. Ultimately, every one of Switzerland’s actions helps to combat all forms of discrimination, and especially those related to inclusion and gender equality.

Fostering policy coherence and leaving no one behind

Switzerland contributes to discussions on political, social and economic inclusion. At the international level, this means committing to the ‘leave no one behind' approach in the fight against inequality. In its national interventions, it insists on the accountability of the institutions involved, participatory decision-making processes and participation for all in global governance. Switzerland also explores the mutual relationships and dependencies between different intervention sectors in order to support learning and facilitate synergies. In 2019, Switzerland adopted a guidance document on leaving no one behind, which calls for integrated and targeted approaches to reducing poverty and inequality as a means of mainstreaming this principle.

Consolidating the space for civil society and the latter’s participation in decision-making processes

Civil society is a key player in the promotion of peaceful, just and inclusive societies. Switzerland is involved in a number of efforts to foster inclusive participation by civil society in decision-making processes and, more generally, within the civic space in the partner countries. Switzerland recognises, supports and adds value to the contribution made by civil society organisations to implementing the commitments made under the OECD’s New Deal and the 2030 Agenda’s SDG 16. Their role in policy dialogue at both the national and international level should be given more support.

Given the mounting challenges to civic space, which is shrinking in a large number of countries, Switzerland strives to ensure its engagement is driven by an approach that promotes democracy, the rule of law and human rights. Together with its partner countries and organisations, Switzerland is keen to identify the most appropriate strategies for responding to attacks on the space for civil society, especially among the practices that are emerging in the international arena. Several networks have been set up to facilitate learning and exchange on this subject that can be used as input for further action.

Fighting discrimination and promoting gender equality

Switzerland adopts a context-specific rights-based approach, driven by human rights standards and the principle of non-discrimination, which also serves to empower women and girls. The different roles, needs and vulnerabilities of women and men mean that conflict and fragility both have a strong gender dimension. Women and girls are particularly affected by gender-based violence during conflict. At the same time, conflict situations also present opportunities to empower women as key players in national and local governance, conflict transformation and peacebuilding. That is why it is important to understand the impact conflict contexts can have on gender issues, the division of roles, access to resources, and women’s economic empowerment and political participation. Switzerland is likewise committed to defending sexual orientation and gender identity wherever pertinent. All of its cooperation efforts are assessed for gender relevance.

Moreover, Switzerland is at the forefront of international processes, playing an active role in the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) and the work of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW). The latter published its 'General recommendation No. 30 on women in conflict prevention, conflict and post-conflict situations', in which the Committee addresses state responsibility for guaranteeing the rights of women in conflict-affected contexts. Lastly, Switzerland is actively committed to implementing UN Security Council Resolution 1325 entitled 'Women, Peace and Security', to which end it has adopted a national action plan.

Current projects

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TUR CONCERN Capacity Strengthening of local NGOs for Effective Refugee Response in Turkey

01.12.2016 - 31.01.2018

Civil Society (CS) in Turkey only recently has developed a humanitarian focus. INGOs, donors and the UN rely on a few natinal NGOs to compleent the governmental refugee respone, which is increasingly strained as the Sate is undergoing a severe crisis. Humanitarian CS initiatives have also emerged at local and provincial level, but there institutional and operational capacities are still weak. This project will stregthen the capacities of 10 local NGOs to conduct refugee assistance. 


Renforcement d’IDEA phase Unique (RIDEAU)

01.08.2016 - 31.12.2018

Le programme d’IDEA en Haïti vise le renforcement des institutions (p. ex. Parlement) et des acteurs politiques (p. ex. partis), piliers institutionnels de  l’état de droit. Ce faisant IDEA contribue à bâtir une gouvernance nationale respectueuse de la participation citoyenne et paritaire entre les femmes et les hommes. La DDC apporte une contribution générale à IDEA avec un suivi particulier sur la participation politiques des femmes et sur les pratiques de reddition des comptes. 


PREST 5, Pistes rurales et désenclavement à l’Est

01.01.2016 - 30.06.2022

Les routes constituent un soutien à la croissance économique par la mobilité des personnes et des marchandises. Au Burkina Faso, elles demeurent en deçà des besoins et des référentiels de l’espace UEMOA. Partant de ce constat et sur l’expérience de la DDC, le gouvernement a souhaité que la Suisse finance conjointement un projet d’infrastructures et de mobilité avec la Banque Mondiale avec la méthode haute intensité de main d’œuvre (HIMO). Un inventaire des initiatives basées sur la méthode HIMO dans les 13 régions a été lancé en vue d’élaborer une politique nationale HIMO. La DDC s’engage à contribuer à ce projet et valorise la méthode HIMO à l’échelle nationale.


Multidonor Fund of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB): Improvement of Citizen Security in Latin America and the Caribbean

01.12.2015 - 31.12.2021

The support provided by SDC (single- phase project) focusses on improving the effectiveness of public policies on citizen security in the Latin American and Caribbean countries, as a response to high levels of violence in the region. SDC will contribute to the IDB Multidonor Fund of the Citizen Security Initiative (CSI), aiming to strengthen the capacity of states to implement public policies on citizen security and promote exchange of lessons learnt through regional dialogue and bi- and multilateral cooperation in earmarked projects.


RCA: UNICEF Sous-cluster protection de l’enfance

01.06.2015 - 30.06.2017

Par son appui financier au Sous-cluster protection de l’enfance, la DDC souhaite contribuer au renforcement du système de coordination en RCA, pour assurer une réponse de protection coordonnée pour les enfants affectés par la crise. Ce soutien rentre par ailleurs dans le cadre de la stratégie de la protection de civils (PoC), et plus spécifiquement dans le plan d’action du DFAE pour la protection des enfants associés aux forces et groupes armés.


AfDB - SDC Partnership on enhancing the Bank’s fragility and conflict sensitivity

01.01.2015 - 31.12.2022

Based on its Ten-year Strategy, the Bank will strengthen its engagement in fragile and conflict affected coun­tries/situations which is also a priority in Switzerland’s development bill 2013-16. This partnership will assist the Bank in building the necessary capacities and instruments to translate fragility concepts and approaches into more effective operations on the ground.  Other outcomes will be a new diagnostic tool “Country Resil­ience and Fragility Assessment (CRFA)” and strengthened capacities in the Bank and in 30 African countries.


Swiss Programme for Research on Global Issues for Development - Research Module on Employment

01.09.2012 - 31.12.2023

SDC and the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) are offering a new long-term funding scheme for development-relevant research on global issues (www.r4d.ch). The main focus lies on the generation of new insights and solutions as well as on the application of research results into policy and practice through partnership projects between researchers from Switzerland and from developing countries. The overall r4d.ch program consists of five thematic modules and a module for thematically open research. The second module focuses on employment in the context of sustainable development.

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