Managing water resources sustainably

Srepok River, Vietnam. Efficient water use in coffee production.
Efficient water use in coffee production in the river basin of the Srepok, which feeds into the Mekong river. © Alisher Sharypau

Demand for water continues to grow while the total volume of water available on the planet is limited and increasingly exposed to pollution. The main challenge is to manage the water sustainably and achieve an equitable distribution of water between households, agriculture and industry as well as between countries. The SDC is working to promote sustainable water use between sectors and peaceful cooperation across borders.

SDC Focus

The SDC is committed to achieving sustainable management of water resources to ensure access to water and reduce the risks of environmental degradation and conflicts. It strives to link peacebuilding with sustainable management of water resources in regions where tensions exist, and promote the efficient use, reuse and proper management of water in areas where it is in short supply.

Background

Transboundary cooperation

The SDC promotes dialogue between countries, which rely on the same river basin for their water supply. Sharing policy frameworks and technical information can help deflate existing or nascent tensions and conflicts. Switzerland, as a neutral actor with experience in mediation and acknowledged expertise in water management, is ideally placed to facilitate such discussions. At the technical level, , the SDC also supports common methods of measurement for determining the quality of water available and the quantities of water used. This data enables decision-makers to speak a common language when it comes to the management of shared water resources, and thus work together to set and reach commonly defined objectives.

Water – a commodity to be valued

Water is not free. Its protection, distribution and treatment obey the same economic laws as any other consumer good. At the same time, water is a resource to which everyone should have access, including the poorest and marginalised populations. The SDC develops mechanisms for making better use of water and promoting the reuse of wastewater.  The mechanisms provide incentives to manage water sustainably and construct environmentally friendly infrastructure in a particular region or industry.

For example, the SDC is involved alongside major corporations in facilitating the transfer of knowledge in relation to the water footprint, an indicator that enables the water used in the whole manufacturing cycle of a product to be better managed. The SDC is also pursuing the development of the 'Water Stewardship Standard' which aims to encourage all actors from business, government and civil society to take responsibility for their particular impacts on this shared resource and to work together to achieve sustainable management. Payment mechanisms are also being developed for compensating populations in the river basin areas for protecting water resources.

Current challenges

By 2030, demand for water is expected to rise by 30% while the degradation in quality caused by pollution will reach unprecedented levels.  Worldwide, 80% of urban and industrial wastewater is discharged into the environment without prior treatment. The majority of the time, the self-purification capacity of aquatic ecosystems is largely insufficient to be able to cope with such large volumes. Furthermore, agriculture requires a great deal of water, accounting for almost 70% of global consumption.  However, water is often used inefficiently and can be contaminated by fertilisers and pesticides. In addition, industry currently uses 22% of water and as it continues to grow will put water resources under even greater pressure.

By 2025, half of the world's population will be living in regions suffering permanent water scarcity, which will have the effect of weakening local economies and force millions of people to relocate. That is why it is already especially important today to use water so as to preserve its regenerative capacity and allow it to be distributed equitably.

Documents

Current projects

Object 37 – 48 of 1081

Strengthening Voice and Accountability in Kyrgyzstan

Five young girls in yellow costumes at the opening ceremony of the new kindergarten

01.04.2015 - 31.03.2020

Decentralisation is one of the priorities of the Kyrgyz government in power since 2012. In line with this, the main goal of this project is to strengthen the ability of citizens to participate in the budget process in their municipality, and to ensure that local governments use their funds adequately for public services.

Country/region Topic Period Budget
Kyrgyzstan
Governance
Conflict & fragility
Decentralisation
Public finance management
Conflict prevention

01.04.2015 - 31.03.2020


CHF 5'740'000



From Education to Employment (E2E)

A young woman at a computer regulating machines.

01.04.2015 - 31.12.2019

Serbia, which is currently negotiating accession to the European Union (EU), must undergo reforms to meet the criteria that apply to EU member states. Unemployment among young people is currently 27,5% and is a major concern for the Serbian government. Serbia wants to base the reform of its vocational training system on the success factors of the Swiss system of dual education and training and has invited Switzerland to assist it in this crucially important reform process.

Country/region Topic Period Budget
Serbia
Vocational training
Employment & economic development
Vocational training
Employment creation

01.04.2015 - 31.12.2019


CHF 8'010'000



Bangladesh: courses to raise job prospects for the poor in the textiles and building sectors

Three sewing machine operators in a textile factory receiving on-the-job training from three other people.

01.04.2015 - 31.03.2021

The textiles and construction sectors in Bangladesh are recording high rates of growth, but many poor women and men lack the necessary qualifications for skilled jobs. By 2019, a project jointly financed by Switzerland and the United Kingdom aims to give 110,000 of them better prospects through on-the-job training. The results so far are promising.

Country/region Topic Period Budget
Bangladesh
Employment & economic development
Vocational training
Employment creation
Vocational training
Tradepolicy & market system

01.04.2015 - 31.03.2021


CHF 5'825'000



Life without violence, from dream to reality

The face of a woman who has been abused.

01.02.2015 - 31.05.2020

The SDC hopes that by backing a newly-adopted law in Bolivia on ending violence against women, it can contribute to more systematic and targeted care for female victims. Local and national authorities and the people are working together on a comprehensive approach to prevent assaults on women. Too often, attitudes are tinged with a male chauvinism that sanctions violence.

Country/region Topic Period Budget
Bolivia
Human rights
Human rights (incl. Women's rights)

01.02.2015 - 31.05.2020


CHF 4'070'000



Sustainable Artisanal Mining

A miner is drilling rock in search of gold

01.01.2015 - 31.12.2019

With the boom in the informal mining sector at the start of the 2000s, the Mongolian government, with support from the SDC, launched a project for sustainable artisanal mining in 2005. The project’s aim is to formalise and legalise these activities while developing the capacities of the miners.

Country/region Topic Period Budget
Mongolia
Governance
Human rights
Mineral/mining policy
Human rights (incl. Women's rights)

01.01.2015 - 31.12.2019


CHF 6'265'000



Healthy people and animals in Ethiopia thanks to an interdisciplinary project: Jigjiga University One Health Initiative

African farmer ploughing a field with an ox.

01.01.2015 - 30.09.2020

Nomadic pastoralist communities, which constitute one tenth of Ethiopia’s population, have little access to health services. In the Jigjiga University One Health Initiative, the SDC is helping to establish local healthcare services by supporting an interdisciplinary centre of excellence at Jigjiga University in eastern Ethiopia.

Country/region Topic Period Budget
Ethiopia
Health
Health systems strengthening
Primary health care

01.01.2015 - 30.09.2020


CHF 2'100'000



Livestock Development in the South of Armenia

Armenian Farmer with his calf

01.09.2014 - 31.08.2020

In the provinces of Syunik and Vayots Dzor in southern Armenia, the agricultural sector mostly comprises subsistence farming where farmers are barely able to support their households. This project aims to help farmers increase their milk and meat production, and thus their incomes, by supporting local veterinary services (to improve animal health), facilitating access to milk and meat markets, and promoting the sharing of know-how among farmers.

Country/region Topic Period Budget
Armenia
Agriculture & food security
Employment & economic development
Agriculture value-chain development (til 2016)
SME development
Agricultural development

01.09.2014 - 31.08.2020


CHF 10'000'000



Blue Peace Central Asia Strengthening of the Regional Institutional Framework for Integrated Water Resources Management in Central Asia

01.09.2014 - 31.12.2020

In response to the explicit demand of the five Central Asian States, and building on over 20 years of cooperation in the field of water, SDC facilitates transboundary water resources cooperation consistent with the Blue Peace approach implemented in the Middle-East and at the global level through the establishment of a High Level Dialogue Platform, the promotion of sustainable water practices as well as capacity building of a new generation of water professionals and champions.

Country/region Topic Period Budget
Central Asia
Water
Climate change and environment
Water diplomacy and security
Meteorological services
Water resources conservation
Water sector policy

01.09.2014 - 31.12.2020


CHF 6'000'000



IDA: International Development Association – Core Contribution 2014-2017

01.07.2014 - 31.12.2023

The World Bank Group’s (WBG) mandate is to support countries in reducing poverty by creating opportunities for economic growth, strengthening governance, managing risks and empowering the poor and vulnerable. The International Development Association (IDA) is the part of the World Bank Group that helps the world’s poorest countries.

Country/region Topic Period Budget
Global
Other
Sector not specified

01.07.2014 - 31.12.2023


CHF 752'750'000



The members of municipal councils working for democracy

Women and men assembled in a community hall.

01.07.2014 - 30.06.2020

With the ‘Empowering Municipal Councils’ project, Switzerland’s international cooperation is helping municipal councils in North Macedonia to become effective local authorities whose community policies take into account the interests of ordinary citizens.

Country/region Topic Period Budget
Macedonia
Governance
Decentralisation

01.07.2014 - 30.06.2020


CHF 4'000'000



New approach in Bosnia and Herzegovina for democratisation

A man standing in front of a blue gate valve connected to a large blue pipe.

01.07.2014 - 30.06.2020

Bosnia and Herzegovina’s water and sanitation infrastructure is outdated and a large segment of the population has no access to a water supply. The starting point for the SDC’s project is good governance – the authorities must be transparent about building and renovation decisions, and ensure an inclusive political process for the citizens their decisions affect.

Country/region Topic Period Budget
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Governance
Public sector policy
Decentralisation
Democratic participation and civil society

01.07.2014 - 30.06.2020


CHF 12'000'000



AfDB/AfDF: African Development Bank / African Development Fund – Core Contribution

01.05.2014 - 31.12.2023

The mandate of the African Development Bank (AfDB) and the African Development Fund (AfDF) is to promote sustainable economic and social development in Africa by providing support for good governance and private sector development, infrastructure, higher education and vocational training. Switzerland has been supporting the AfDF since its foundation in 1972 and has been a member since 1982.

Country/region Topic Period Budget
Africa
Other
Sector not specified

01.05.2014 - 31.12.2023


CHF 207'759'519


Object 37 – 48 of 1081