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 253 – 264 of 265

Citizen Engagement for Good Governance, Accountability and the Rule of Law (CEGGA)

01.06.2016 - 31.10.2022

In Lao PDR, the space for citizens’ involvement in public affairs is a challenge, as the overall environment for the civil society is strongly controlled and not conducive. While the National Assembly (NA) is assuming a more assertive oversight and representative role, it still faces many constraints to function as an effective representative body. The new CEGGA Programme will provide more opportunities for Lao CSOs to engage in the country development processes, and to collaborate with the NA in bringing local experience, lessons learned and citizen’s voice to the NA. It will also strengthen the NA’s autonomous role, contributing to a greater formal division of power, and to engage more systematically with non-state actors as part of its deliberations on draft legislation.


Joint Peace Fund (JPF)

01.04.2016 - 31.12.2022

The Joint Peace Fund (JPF) is a multi-donor fund for joint action in, on and around the peace process, bringing together conflict parties (GoM and armed groups), civil society organizations and international donors. The JPF is managed by the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS) and a Technical Secretariat from the Nordic International Support Foundation (NIS). As there is no peace without development and no development without peace, this fund is crucial for a concerted action of all stakeholders.


Decentralized Rural Infrastructure and Livelihood Project (DRILP) – Phase III

01.01.2016 - 31.07.2024

DRILP Phase 3 will support the Government of Nepal to accelerate recovery and reconstruction following the devastating earthquake of 25 April 2015 and the major aftershock of 12 May 2015. The project will provide the Technical Assistance (TA) to implement the Asian Development Bank (ADB) financed Earthquake Emergency Assistance Project in rebuilding 450 kms of damaged roads in 12 districts[1] of Nepal and rehabilitate 200 kms of trails in two[2] districts.

[1] The 12 earthquake affected project districts are Solukhumbu, Okhaldhunga, Ramechhap, Dolakha, Kavre, Sindhuli, Kathmandu, Lalitpur, Bhaktapur, Lamjung, Gorkha and Chitwan

[2] Dolakha and Gorkha


Programme de développement social en milieu urbain (PDSU)Programme de développement économique local et de sécurité alimentaire à Koutiala

01.01.2016 - 31.12.2022

Le Programme Sigida Kura a permis d’améliorer les capacités de planification et de gestion des 37  collectivités territoriales du cercle de Koutiala qui ont réalisé des infrastructures permettant d’améliorer  la sécurité alimentaire dans le cercle, d’augmenter les revenus des producteurs et de créer plus de 230 emplois permanents. Avec cette dernière phase, la DDC poursuit son accompagnement aux collectivités territoriales qui mettent en place un cadre durable de leur développement économique local.


Zimbabwe Reconstruction Fund (ZimRef)

01.12.2015 - 31.12.2023

The Zimbabwe Reconstruction Fund is a multi-donor trust fund that supports the Government of Zimbabwe in its reconstruction and development efforts in particular by strengthening the Zimbabwean public finance management and accountability system for improved service delivery, including in the health sector. The fund, with its management mechanism, is currently a key instrument of dialogue and experience sharing between the donors and the Government of Zimbabwe.


Anti-Corruption Support

01.05.2015 - 31.03.2023

This intervention aims at fostering an institutional and social environment that is increasingly adverse to corruption. Support to reform-oriented “duty bearers” – by strengthening the technical and procedural capacities of the Prevention and Combating of Corruption Bureau (PCCB) - will be combined with activities enhancing collective action by supporting the private sector for a more transparent business environment and a multi-media campaign inspiring behaviour change of citizens (“right holders”) to strengthen integrity.


Enhanced Skills for Sustainable and Rewarding Employment (ENSSURE)(Main Credit)

01.08.2014 - 15.07.2023

In Nepal, 450,000 youths enter the labour market yearly but remain un- or underemployed. Through ENSSURE, 21’000 youths will increase their employability by attending company-based trainings such as apprenticeships and further training of workers, combined with off-the-job systematic courses[1].The strong collaboration between the Ministry of Education and industry associations will increase the skill level of workers; thus labor productivity and will lead  to more decent employment.

 

 

 

[1] Systematic courses could be: Pre-employment basics, day or block release for related trade theory, pre-assessment course, etc.

 

 

 


Institutional Strengthening of IGAD

31.05.2014 - 31.03.2022

The Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) is a sub-regional organization in the Horn of Africa. In line with Switzerland’s decision to increase its engagement with IGAD, the proposed contribution aims at strengthening the organization institutionally based on its political legitimacy, thematic relevance and capacity to contribute to peace and development in one of the world’s most fragile regions.


Regional and Municipal Infrastructure Development in Georgia

10.04.2014 - 30.06.2023

The project will increase human and institutional capacities of all municipalities in Georgia (except the capital city Tbilisi). lt will enable them to perform independently the core three functions for decentralised delivery of basic infrastructure services, i. e. Project Cycle Management, Financial Management and Asset Management. Such a decentralized System will enable the Government to better respond to population needs at local level.


Multi Donor Trust Fund (MDTF)

01.12.2013 - 31.12.2022

The MDTF aims to reduce the socio-economic marginalisation of people, with focus on women, religious minorities and internally displaced people, in the Pakistan border regions to Afghanistan; the fund will contribute to state-building in the most fragile regions of the country by strengthening capacity of the subnational governments. Consequently, the population will get increased access to basic services and livelihood opportunities.


Institutional Support to Network of Associations of Local Authorities in South East Europe (NALAS)

01.07.2013 - 31.12.2022

With an institutional support to the Network of Associations of Local Authorities of South – East Europe (NALAS), SDC supports the decentralization and democratization processes as well as stability in South East Europe (SEE). NALAS strengthens national associations of local governments and fosters communication and cooperation among them. Through its advocacy activities, NALAS will support local governments in SEE to become more visible and taken into account, both by national governments and European institutions.


Police Capacity Development on Election Security through the UNDP Election Support Program

01.04.2013 - 30.09.2013

On 11th May 2013, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) will, for the first time in history, administer a transition from one full term democratic elected government to another. The probability of electoral violence threatens this opportunity. The police are the most important player in smooth conduct of election security. Yet, the majority of the police force has limited knowledge of electoral security protocol. With a contribution to the UNDP Election Support Program the capacity of police in election security will be enhanced.

Object 253 – 264 of 265