Democratization in support of integrated, sustainable development

A young woman places a folded ballot paper in the ballot box.
The objectives of the SDC include supporting fair and transparent elections, for example in Tunisia. © SDC

Promoting democratic values is essential to inclusive governance. The equal participation of all population groups increases the likelihood of fair and balanced development that benefits everyone. Efforts are made to curb corruption and the abuse of power, minimising the risk of frustration and political confrontation. Promoting democracy is one of Switzerland's foreign policy priorities. 

Democratisation is a key concern for the SDC, which aims to promote community involvement and responsible government action. By enabling different population groups to have an equal say in political life and determine issues that affect their daily lives, diverse interests can be represented, supporting broad-based decision-making. This lends greater legitimacy to political processes and creates a climate of shared responsibility for implementation. Other key democratic principles include power-sharing, checks on power, accountability, the rule of law and equality before the law.

Switzerland supports both democratic institutions and democratic processes, promoting interaction between the mutually reinforcing democratic forces that shape the political system. Promoting gender equality and equal participation and protecting disadvantaged communities are key priorities for Switzerland. In meeting its commitments, Switzerland works from a politically informed perspective, supports solutions that are appropriate in the context and builds on existing structures. It works on the basis of democratic values rather than any specific model.

Democratisation is crucial to inclusive, sustainable development, but it is also an end in itself, ensuring that civil and political rights are upheld and other fundamental social, economic and cultural rights are respected. Democratisation can also contribute to the de-escalation of violent conflicts.

Current projects

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Direct Health Facility Financing

Zuena Hussein Ismail with her baby attended by a health worker at Makole Health Centre in Dodoma.

01.09.2021 - 30.06.2026

Together with the Tanzanian Government and development partners, Switzerland’s contribution to the reformed Health Basket Fund builds on positive results achieved so far and pursues to strengthen the health system that benefits 58 million inhabitants. Switzerland’s contribution will further expand effective decentralisation through the Direct Health Facility Financing mechanism to state and non-state primary health care providers, thus accelerating Tanzania’s progress towards universal health coverage and “Leaving no One Behind”.


Trans-Border Dialogue for Peace in the Great Lakes Region

01.09.2021 - 31.08.2026

Jointly with the European Union, Switzerland supports a trans-border dialogue for peace in the Great Lakes Region, a program run by Interpeace with local NGOs. This third phase will focus on young women and young men as key drivers for peace and stability in the region and expand its activities to Uganda to further tackle the regionality of conflicts in the region. This will contribute to a better promotion of peace, good governance and concrete consensus-based solutions, in the region. 


SRBM - Strengthening Representative Bodies in Mongolia

Workshop on Parliament Monitoring

01.08.2021 - 31.12.2023

On request of the authorities, the project ensures the implementation and oversight over new local governance laws to ensure public service delivery and sustainable rangeland management. Based on SDC supported achievements on democratic governance in Mongolia, increased technical cooperation between the Swiss and the Mongolian Parliamentary Services is at the core of the project. Gender equality and pro-poor approaches are mainstreamed.


Leave No One Behind Project

01.08.2021 - 31.07.2025

Albania is building up its social protection system, with the vision of providing decentralized services. The importance of an effective social protection system has increased by the ongoing pandemic. The project covers part of the social protection system. Its 2nd phase scales up the reform roll-out. This Albania-Switzerland-UN’ effort collaborates with 50% of municipalities and strengthens their capacities to support 160’000 vulnerable people.


Territorial Inclusive Economic Development in the Mosquitia region, department of Gracias a Dios

01.08.2021 - 30.06.2024

The Honduran Mosquitia is one of the poorest and most conflict-ridden region in the country. With the program, Switzerland promotes income for the indigenous population, improves food security and thus contributes to reducing migration and improving regional stability. In cooperation with the private sector the program generates 1000 net new jobs, seeks to increment the income of 1700 families by 5% per year (USD 360/year in 2020), and promotes an increase in public investment in the territory by at least 10% per year. 


Enhanced Skills for Sustainable and Rewarding Employment (ENSSURE) Phase II

16.07.2021 - 15.07.2025

For Nepalese women and men to gain and retain social and economic benefits from lifelong learning, the establishment of a well-functioning federalised Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) system is crucial. In light of its long-standing expertise in TVET and federalism, Switzerland is well placed to support the implementation of a federalised TVET system that responds to the needs of enterprises and increases the prospect of gainful employment for all, especially youths. 


Supporting the Security Sector Reform (SSR) Process in The Gambia

01.07.2021 - 30.06.2024

The Gambia, which is a priority country in regard to Swiss migration interest, initiated a national SSR process in 2017. Based on 3 years of in-depth research and support to this process, in 2021 DCAF launched a new program to enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of the Gambian security sector. Through its contribution, Switzerland aims to improve the quality of services provided to local communities by the immigration department by strengthening its management and accountability.


2021 Population and Housing Census of Nepal

01.07.2021 - 31.12.2022

The goal is to support the Government of Nepal to conduct the 2021 census in line with international standards to obtain high quality data, reflecting Nepal’s social, ethnic, religious and linguistic diversity and which can be used to better respond to the needs of the different population groups. Given its track record and emphasis on federal state building, Switzerland has a key interest that the census is adapted to the federal context and gender equality and social inclusion principles are followed. 


Long-term support to UNRWA’s reform

01.07.2021 - 31.12.2022

Switzerland contributes to enable UNRWA to pursue key reform areas of its Medium-Term Strategy 2016-2022, mainly by supporting (i) management initiatives and set of actions to ensure that governance, accountability, management and transparency meet international standards, and (ii) the systematic integration and attention to the needs of vulnerable groups, in particular children, persons with disabilities and women survivors of violence.


Promotion and respect of human rights, gender equality and the international humanitarian law

01.06.2021 - 31.12.2023

Switzerland aims at enhancing prospects for Palestinians to live in dignity, prosperity and peace with Israel, via the respect and promotion of human rights, including gender equality, international humanitarian law and the rule of law by all duty bearers. To this end, SDC supports ten Palestinian and Israeli human rights and humanitarian law organizations active in the oPt, which provide legal aid and protection services to the population and advocate for the respect of the international law. 



Peaceful, Just and Inclusive Societies (SDG 16), Phase 3 (Contribution 21 – 23) Formerly: Pathfinders for Peaceful, Just and Inclusive Societies

01.05.2021 - 31.12.2023

Switzerland has a strategic interest in shaping the global dialogue on development and peace. The Agenda 2030’s Sustainable Development Goal 16 (SDG16) on “Peaceful, Just and Inclusive Societies” provides a unique opportunity. This is why Switzerland is contributing to three initiatives advocating complementarily at the global and national levels, increasing poltical engagement and financial means to advance reforms and good governance, while leaving no one behind.   

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