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 229 – 240 of 261

SDC Contribution to DCAF for an expert of the Latin America/Caribbean Region 2017-2020

01.06.2017 - 31.05.2021

SDC has a strategic partnership with DCAF since 2011 with a core contribution of yearly around CHF 11 million. DCAF works on the interface between security and development policy, a domain of increasing importance for SDC. The expert offered by SDC will focus on developing DCAF’s relationship and cooperation with current and future donors and on building up a Latin America and Caribbean division (LAC), where the fragility of states, governance of security institutions and violence in general is a key challenge for development.


Albania: Bashki te Forta (Strong Municipalities)

01.06.2017 - 30.09.2022

Municipal administrations in all 61 municipalities in Albania will be supported to effectively manage service delivery based on the citizens’ needs. Municipal councils will be enabled to better represent citizens’ interests and ensure that public resources are well managed. Setting up a reliable and up-to-date local statistical system will allow an informed decision making. Through these improvements, citizens will benefit from better services such as waste and pre-school education and will actively be involved in local issues.


KENYA - Strengthening Livestock Sector in Arid and Semi-Arid Lands (ASAL) Counties

01.05.2017 - 31.03.2022

Around 60% of the population of Northern/Eastern Kenya counties are poor. They depend on livestock production in an environment of recurrent droughts and resource-based conflicts. This program will support local entities to better support pastoralist communities in livestock production and to advocate for their consideration in national strategies and policies. This will contribute to the reduction of their socio-economic marginalisation and thus to the region’s stability, which is in the Swiss and international community’s interest.


Soutien au Dispositif National de Sécurité Alimentaire -PRESA-

01.05.2017 - 30.06.2022

Malgré l’excédent céréalier enregistré depuis plus de 20 ans, le Mali fait face à des crises alimentaires récurrentes qui touchent près du quart de la population. La Suisse soutient le Dispositif National de Sécurité Alimentaire par la combinaison des instruments de l’aide humanitaire et de développement en vue de gérer les crises alimentaires et renforcer la résilience des populations vulnérables. Cet appui contribuera à la stabilité du pays et de la sous-région et a le potentiel de réduire la migration forcée.


Promotion of Tenure Track – The Tenure Track Pilot Programme (TTPP)

01.05.2017 - 10.12.2024

Top researchers and their teams receive financial support and favourable conditions in Croatian research institutions to realise their research. By this, Croatia remains attractive for scientists with high potential. Brain drain is prevented. Switzerland contributes to enhancing the Croatian research system by promoting a new career model for future professors.


Access to drinking water: a challenge in Tajikistan

Three children around a fountain.

01.03.2017 - 31.03.2022

In Tajikistan, the poorest country in Central Asia, half of the 8.5 million inhabitants do not have access to drinking water. In mountainous and rural regions, the figure reaches 80%. This situation poses a serious risk to public health. The SDC's project on 'Safe drinking water and sanitation management in Tajikistan' (SWSMT) focuses on access to drinking water and sanitation in the east of the country.

Country/region Topic Period Budget
Tajikistan
Governance
Health
Water

Decentralisation
Infectious desease
Water supply
Health systems strengthening
Water sanitation
Public sector policy
Medical services

01.03.2017 - 31.03.2022


CHF  5’300’000



Bosnia and Herzegovina: Integrated Local Development (ILDP)

A woman and two men stand at the counter of a local administration and discuss their concerns with the official.

01.03.2017 - 28.02.2022

Through the lntegrated Local Development Project (ILDP) Switzerland supports Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) in establishing a modern development planning system country wide which responds to citizens‘ needs and allows efficient use of budgets and external funds. The ILDP consolidation phase will ensure coherence of development planning and management on all governmental levels, accountability towards citizens, as well as on knowledge transfer to responsible institutions, in order to improve service delivery and accelerate inclusive growth at local level.



Contribution to the Development Partners for Local Governance Network (DeLoG)

15.02.2017 - 30.09.2022

The SDC thematic unit on democratisation, decentralisation and local governance has joined the development partner‘s network on decentralisation and local governance in 2009 and started co-financing in 2013. The network is a knowledge hub for its members and a plattorm for knowledge exchange, coordination and for jointly pushing the global agenda. For SDC it offers the opportunity to harvest knowledge beyond SDC, leverage own expertise and to position itself in the development community.


Strengthening Human Rights institutions in Bangladesh

01.01.2017 - 30.06.2022

People in Bangladesh repeatedly suffer from human rights violations which especially affect poor and marginalised people with limited remedy and widespread impunity. The project strengthens (i) the National Human Rights Commission to more effectively promote and protect human rights and (ii) civil society to promote and monitor Human Rights and provide legal aid.


Programme d’Hydraulique Rurale – Appui Au Secteur Eau et Assainissement (PHRASEA) Phase 2

01.01.2017 - 31.12.2022

Moins de 50% des nigériens ont accès à l’eau potable et seuls 7% disposent de conditions d'assainissement de base. La croissance démographique galopante, la dispersion de la population sur le territoire et la précarité des finances publiques sont des contraintes empêchant l'accès des populations à ces services de base. Le PHRASEA vient en appui aux efforts du gouvernement, en misant sur la maitrise d’ouvrage des communes.


Solidar Suisse (Kredit Süd)

01.01.2017 - 31.12.2018

Solidar Suisse oriente son programme de développement sur les besoins et les droits des personnes vulnérables et défavorisées dans les pays les plus pauvres et dans les pays émergents et en transition où les inégalités sont profondes. Solidar Suisse développe des programmes qui renforcent les mouvements sociaux et promeuvent l’intégration active de la société civile dans les processus politiques. Le « travail décent » est devenu l’élément phare de Solidar Suisse qui a développé une véritable expertise dans cette thématique.

Object 229 – 240 of 261