Transparency, a fundamental value of the SDC

The SDC attaches great importance to the principle of transparency in its activities. It uses internal and external studies to support the analysis of its results and encourage learning from past experiences. It adheres to applicable international standards in respect of aid transparency.

Transparency is a key aspect of Switzerland's international cooperation activities and is a fundamental value of the SDC.

Transparency:

  • allows citizens, Parliament and civil society stakeholders to find out how funds are used, what results are obtained from cooperation programmes and projects, and how these resources contribute to sustainable development to reduce poverty and global risks around the world;
  • helps governments of partner countries and civil society stakeholders to more effectively manage aid resources by incorporating them into their own development strategies;
  • allows donors and development organisations to better coordinate their efforts and enhance their effectiveness;
  • limits the risk of corruption, increases partners’ ownership and encourages mutual accountability.

Switzerland's International Cooperation Strategy 2021–24 attaches a great deal of importance to the cross-cutting theme of good governance, emphasising transparency and accountability, participation, effectiveness and non-discrimination in all cooperation activities.

The SDC upholds the principle of transparency and requires its partners to do the same in all dealings with the governments and civil society stakeholders of partner countries regarding programmes and projects and their financing.  

Switzerland's International Cooperation Strategy 2021–24 (PDF, 1.3 MB)

A culture of transparency

To encourage institutional learning, the SDC is open to dialogue with the different stakeholders in international cooperation, encourages mutual exchanges and designs programmes and projects based on lessons learned from experience. This institutional learning helps to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of the SDC's programmes. Evaluations, studies and annual reports furnish the means to examine results and learn from past experience. The SDC carefully analyses the strengths and weaknesses of its programmes and projects and implements the conclusions and recommendations submitted to it. 

The SDC promotes a culture of transparency both within the institution and vis-à-vis the outside world. It has a long tradition of openness and communication in the form of public events, annual conferences and discussions of its annual reports. The SDC and Federal Statistical Office (FSO) are co-hosting the UN World Data Forum to take place in Bern in 2021.

The SDC is always willing to respond to enquiries from the media and members of the public.

International Aid Transparency Initiative (IATI)

More than 1,000 bodies (donors, partner countries and civil society organisations) publish data in compliance with the IATI Standard. The bodies publish online a compilation of recent, comparable and rapidly accessible data and information via a central global registry. The SDC has published data in accordance with IATI standards (XML data files) at regular intervals since November 2013.

In December 2020, the SDC became the 97th member of IATI.

International Aid Transparency Initiative - iatistandard.org

IATI registry

SDC data:

Switzerland has regularly joined the entire donor community in making commitments to improve transparency in development cooperation, for example at the High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness in Busan (2011) and at other conferences including Addis Ababa (2015), and through the Grand Bargain for greater transparency on humanitarian aid activities (2016).

Publication policy

The SDC website and the sites of the representations in partner countries present extensive information on priority themes, strategies, programmes and projects and on the SDC's global operations.

The SDC systematically applies results-based management to all of its activities and regularly publishes its annual reports, evaluations and accountability reports on its website.

Read more about effectiveness

Reporting

Switzerland adjusts its international cooperation strategy every four years. The Federal Council presents the new strategy to Parliament in the form of a dispatch.

At the end of the four-year dispatch period, a report presents the results achieved and the challenges facing Switzerland's international cooperation. This report details SDC and SECO activities, and since the 2017–20 period, the peace promotion efforts of the Human Security Division (HSD).

These documents show how the five framework credits to fund Switzerland's international cooperation are used.

Final report on Switzerland's International Cooperation 2017–20 (PDF, 16.2 MB, English)

Other reports (annual, effectiveness, evaluation)

Evaluations

The SDC conducts evaluations on its projects, programmes and strategies and on institutional matters. These evaluations promote learning, provide managers with objective evidence to support their decision-making and ensure accountability to the political community and the public.

The evaluations are carried out according to the criteria issued by the OECD Development Assistance Committee (DAC). The SDC also applies the standards and specifications of the Swiss Evaluation Society (SEVAL).

Since 2010, external and internal evaluations and external studies have been published on the federal government portal.

Studies commissioned by Swiss authorities

Evaluations completed in 2019 (PDF, 599.6 kB, English)

Projects

The SDC has intensified its efforts to publish online detailed, standardised information about the funding and execution of projects. Since July 2014, information about SDC projects has been available in a database..

Project database

Swiss official development assistance statistics

Statistics on Switzerland's official development assistance (ODA) and how these funds are used by the SDC, SECO and other public authorities are available online in the form of regularly updated tables and charts.

ODA and SDC statistics

Access to official documents

Like the rest of the Federal Administration, the SDC is subject to the Freedom of Information Act (FoIA), which entered into force on 1 July 2006. The law grants any citizen the right to view official documents and to obtain information from the authorities without the need to state a reason for the request. The requests must be processed within 20 days.

Access to official documents

Open government data

The IATI registry data supplied by the SDC is available on the Swiss public administration's centralised portal for open government data. The SDC publishes this data in line with the Open Government Data Strategy for the 2019–23 period, adopted by the Federal Council on 30 November 2018. The strategy aims to make a set of open data of public authorities freely available to the public on the opendata.swiss portal.

opendata.swiss