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 109 – 120 of 264

Programme de renforcement de la résilience des ménages pastoraux et agropastoraux face aux crises climatiques et à l'insécurité (RESILIA) Phase 1

01.06.2020 - 31.12.2024

la DDC contribue au renforcement de la résilience de plus de 700’000 personnes dont les déplacées internes, affectées par la crise sécuritaire et les changements climatiques au Burkina Faso. Se basant sur la riche expérience de la Suisse dans l’élevage pastoral au Sahel, le programme va soutenir les pasteurs et agropasteurs pour que leur pratique d’élevage et moyens de subsistance s’adaptent aux défis climatiques et améliorent leurs conditions de vie tout en favorisant la paix au Burkina Faso.


Human Rights in Food Systems

01.06.2020 - 31.12.2025

Realizing the right to food and nutrition is critical for food systems transformation. Building on Switzerland’s strong engagement for human rights-based approaches, the project addresses hunger’s structural causes by ensuring that rights-holders such as small-scale farmers, women and youth can claim their food system-related rights and participate in governance mechanisms, and by supporting duty bearers in the effective implementation of instruments in 14 countries and globally.


Life Without Violence

01.06.2020 - 31.12.2022

The project aims to contribute to reduce domestic violence, which is experienced by 70% of women in Bolivia, be it psychological, physical, sexual or economic. Good practices (in prevention and support) from the previous phase will be replicated and scaled up. Evidence-based advocacy at the policy level aims to improve procedures and the implementation of laws in an integral response model involving central and local state institutions and civil society. In addition, the project provides a comprehensive response towards combating the impact of COVID-19 on domestic violence.


Munathara – Debating our Destiny

01.06.2020 - 31.12.2022

The project aims to further institutionalize a culture of credible and non-partisan debate in the MENA region on relevant social, economic and political issues in different contexts. It reinforces the inclusion of MENA citizens of youth, women and other social groups including Arab refugees in the discussion to give them a voice to become potential opinion leaders. The poject is implemented by the Munathara Initiative, already a well positioned debate organization in the MENA region with a record of impartiality.


Strengthening the Role of Local Communities in Bosnia and Herzegovina

01.05.2020 - 31.03.2024

The Project will enhance community governance in BiH by empowering local communities (MZs) as modern and effective structures for pro-active citizens’ participation. A new functional and organizational set up of MZs in BiH will be created and standardized countrywide. In turn, women and men will benefit from more people-centred local service delivery, better accountability and transparency of municipalities.

 

 

 


UN COVID-19 Response and Recovery Trust Fund (MPTF)

01.05.2020 - 31.12.2022

The MPTF provides the opportunity to alleviate the socio-economic impacts of COVID-19 on the poorest countries. It complements Switzerland’s support to the UN’s humanitarian response beyond the immediate sanitary response. It is an opportunity for a coherent and coordinated UN COVID-19 response. It is an expression of Swiss solidarity to avoid that people fall into poverty and that inequalities between people and countries grow as a result of COVID-19. 


Reintegration of Migrant Workers in Bangladesh

01.05.2020 - 30.11.2025

Reintegration of returnee women and men migrant workers into their communities through self or wage-employment and customised support services is a priority in the current pandemic context. The project will take advantage of the favourable relationship Switzerland enjoys as a longstanding partner of the Ministry of Expatriates’ Welfare and Overseas Employment to provide technical assistance for establishing and improving services for returnee migrant workers, building upon country systems.


Core contribution to Sanitation and Water for All (SWA) global partnership

01.05.2020 - 31.12.2022

This core contribution to the global partnership Sanitation and Water for All hosted by UNICEF aims at strengthening the capacities of populations to enjoy their rights to water and sanitation. SWA supports countries that are off track in progressing towards the Sustainable Development Goal on water, including through a mutual accountability mechanism. The opening of an operational office of SWA in Geneva will enrich this growing community of global water actors, allowing SWA to work more closely also with key human rights and public health actors. 


FDHAS - Strengthening Social Audits and Economic, Political and Civil Rights

01.05.2020 - 30.04.2024

The program contributes to the functioning of the Rule of Law by strengthening five civil society organizations and the United Nations Development Program that jointly fortify the social movements and organizations in the regions of the Gulf of Fonseca and the Muskitia, carrying out actions in favor of human rights, transparency and the fight against corruption, diminishing the high levels of polarization in the society. 


Participation des femmes dans le processus de paix, de sécurité et de relèvement au Mali

15.04.2020 - 31.03.2024

Au Mali, les crises ont fortement impacté les femmes, mais celles-ci n’ont pas été incluses dans les efforts vers une réconciliation nationale. Le Plan d’Action National sur les femmes, la paix et la sécurité vise à renverser cette tendance. Un soutien à sa mise en œuvre par l’intermédiaire d’ONU Femmes et de Women in Law & Development Africa (WILDAF) favorisera une participation réelle des femmes dans les négociations de paix et la reconstruction post-conflit, le respect de leurs droits, et contribuera à la stabilisation du pays et de la sous-région.


NRGI, Advancing good governance in resource-rich countries

01.04.2020 - 31.03.2023

500 million people live in extreme poverty in resource-rich developing countries. In many countries, the governance of the sector remains weak, leading to high risks of corruption and public revenue loss. NRGI combines evidence-based analytical work with targeted local and global engagement with civil society actors, governments and private companies to improve the accountability of the extractive sector. With its support, Switzerland aims to ensure that people living in developing countries truly benefit from their natural resources.  


Anti-Corruption Support

Anti-Corruption Support

01.04.2020 - 31.12.2024

The second phase of the Anti-Corruption Support program aims at accelerating the Swiss contribution to an institutional and social environment in Tanzania that is increasingly adverse to corruption. The main line of intervention remains technical assistance to the Prevention and Combating of Corruption Bureau (PCCB) but increasingly includes other key anti-corruption agencies. This support is complemented by activities enhancing collective action to foster a society that is increasingly adverse to corrupt behaviour. 

Object 109 – 120 of 264