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 97 – 108 of 264

Support to Vocational Education and Training (VET) Reforms in Uzbekistan

01.08.2020 - 31.12.2025

The main goal of the Support to Vocational Education and Training Reforms Project (SVRP) is to contribute to more gainful employment of VET graduates through improved access to the labour market. This will be achieved through a systemic approach supporting capacity development and better coordination among key government institutions and VET providers, by contributing to the development of better quality inputs, teacher training and by facilitating stronger participation of economic actors in the VET system.


Nepal Vocational Qualifications System (NVQS) Phase Il

16.07.2020 - 15.07.2024

Based on Swiss expertise in Technical and Vocational Education and Training, the project

contributes to establish a federal vocational qualifications system. The NVQS will increase the

transparency on the labour market for employers and workers, improve official recognition of

workers competencies in hospitality, construction and automobile sectors and allow links between

TVET and general education to access higher level qualifications for better employment in

domestic and international labour market.


Social Justice for Roma, Ashkali and Egyptians (SORAE)

15.07.2020 - 31.12.2022

 

In order to improve the social inclusion of Roma, Ashkali and Egyptian (RAE) in Kosovo, this project will develop their livelihoods through ensuring better access to educational opportunities, enhanced children rights and protection, upgraded housing conditions and more income generation prospects. These multi-sectorial interventions will be complemented with antigypsyism policy interventions that counter discrimination against RAE and foster equality in Kosovo.


Culture for Democracy

15.07.2020 - 28.02.2025

The Project supports the independent cultural sector to contribute to improved social cohesion and tolerance at the local level. Cultural actors will be provided with resources to unleash their potential for triggering critical thinking and dialogue around topics of immediate relevance for their communities, as well as for creating networks that will empower and enable them to uphold a stimulating space for promoting pluralistic values and inter-cultural dialogue in Serbia.


Combating corruption in Kosovo

01.07.2020 - 30.06.2024

The purpose of this project is to address key challenges in the policy and legislative frameworks, strengthen capacities of anticorruption institutions and foster public demand for accountability through civic engagement. This will be done through concluding the framework for preventive and suppressive anti-corruption processes that lead to asset confiscation.


Implementation Maputo Peace Accord

01.07.2020 - 31.12.2021

As chair of the Contact Group, mediator and main donor to the peace process in Mozambique, Switzerland has played a key role so far, leading to the successful Peace Accord (MPA) between the ruling party (Frelimo) and the opposing party (Renamo) in August 2019. It will continue this engagement with the support of the implementation of this Agreement which focusses on Disarmament, Demobilisation, and Reinsertion (DDR) of the ex-combatants and reconciliation and enhanced decentralisation. 


COVID19-Prévention et réponse face à l’impact environnemental et épidémiologique

01.07.2020 - 31.12.2022

Ce projet soutient les efforts de la Tunisie en réponse à la crise COVID19 et renforce ses capacités de gestion des risques avec une approche plus intégrée et décentralisée. Il adresse essentiellement les risques liés à la gestion de déchets dangereux solides et liquides sanitaires ainsi que les eaux usées. Le partenaire de mise en œuvre est le PNUD, en collaboration avec les Ministères de la santé et des Affaires locales. 


Strengthening Livelihoods and Social Inclusion in Georgia's Forest Sector Reform

01.07.2020 - 30.06.2025

As part of a comprehensive forest sector reform, the proposed project contribution aims at diversifying livelihood opportunities of target forest dependent communities and at strengthening the local capacities in forest management in a sustainable manner. This is particularly relevant since up to 90% of Georgia’s rural households rely on forests for energy and other purposes, leading to progressive forest degradation. The COVID-19 crisis further aggravates economic hardship of the most vulnerable groups among them.


GBVPR - Gender-based Violence Prevention and Response Project

01.07.2020 - 30.06.2024

With its longstanding experience in promoting psychosocial support services and a strong engagement in support of federal state building, Switzerland is well positioned to engage on reducing all forms of GBV and discrimination against women in Nepal. The project aims at strengthening and institutionalizing a coordinated, survivor-centred response for GBV victims, addressing root causes and engaging with all government levels for a more gender equitable policy environment. 


Decent Work and Income Security for Women through Inclusive Growth and Investments in the Care Economy (ILO and UN Women)

15.06.2020 - 31.08.2023

Decent work and income security for women is the objective of Switzerland’s contribution to the joint ILO/UN Women programme. It will bring gender into the focus of macro-level and national policy planning, helping to translate global research into national action. Switzerland supports this systemic approach as it strengthens the economic independence of women and men. Switzerland provides direct channels to link the international policy dialogue in Geneva with countries in the global South.


Programme Redevabilité

01.06.2020 - 31.05.2024

Dans un contexte politico-social de plus en plus tendu, la Suisse mettra à profit sa valeur ajoutée en termes d’engagement sur la durée, de discrétion, de fiabilité et de transparence pour contribuer, lors de la 2ème phase du programme, à renforcer les capacités d’interpellation de la société civile et les efforts des autorités pour lutter contre la corruption et l’impunité, ce qui leur permettra de pouvoir mieux assumer leurs responsabilités dans la délivrance de services publics de qualité à la population. 


Water and Comprehensive Sanitation Project in Rural Areas (ASIR – SABA), Phase III

01.06.2020 - 31.03.2023

The ASIR-SABA Project aims to contribute to the sustainable management and governance of water and sanitation, as well as public health, as a contribution to the consolidation of peace in rural areas of the country. To achieve its objective, the project promotes dialogue between the different actors of the WASH sector in Colombia. It also aims to strengthen the capacities at the community and institutional level (national, departmental and municipal) for the co-management of water and sanitation in rural areas of the country.

Based on the achievements capitalized by the project in its first and second phases and the challenges and opportunities identified with the different governmental actors of the WASH sector in Colombia, the SDC implements the third and final phase of the ASIR-SABA project.

Object 97 – 108 of 264