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  • Cooperation Strategy Bolivia 2013–2016
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Switzerland’s Engagement in Latin America


40 Years of Cooperation with Bolivia
Swiss Development Cooperation has been active for 40 years in Bolivia, where it is highly appreciated. Issue Nr. 4/2009 of Un seul monde dedicates several articles to this Andean Country.

 Fruther information

Experiences from editorial departments
The SDC and the Swiss journalism school, MAZ, give Swiss media professionals the chance to get to know editorial teams in southern countries. In their blog, the journalists and photographers relate their experiences in Bangladesh, Nepal, Laos, Bolivia and Tunisia.


Website of the Cooperation Office (SDC) Bolivia: www.cooperacion-suiza.admin.ch/bolivia/

BOLIVIA.GIFSwiss development cooperation in Bolivia focuses on decentralisation and human rights, adjustment to climate change, and employment and income. Bolivia's increasing urbanisation is posing new challenges for development cooperation. Besides rural development, the current focus is also on improving the delivery of services in peri-urban areas.

Since 2005, Bolivia has experienced economic and income growth, which is attributable to exports of natural gas, oil and mineral products. The government's income redistribution programmes have resulted in a reduction of poverty. Nonetheless, Bolivia remains the poorest country in South America. About half the population is still living below the poverty line (2011). The majority of Bolivians work in the informal sector under very difficult conditions.

Switzerland is helping to ensure that the additional public resources that are now available benefit the most disadvantaged people. Its efforts are focused on rural and peri-urban areas in the highlands and in the Andean valleys. Switzerland coordinates its activities with other bilateral donors and multilateral organisations that are active in Bolivia.

Internationale Zusammenarbeit der Schweiz 2011
Mio. CHF
Mio. CHF
Mio. CHF
Bilaterale Entwicklungszusammenarbeit 22.27 28.29 24.52
Humanitäre Hilfe 1.05 1.07 0.78
Staatssekretariat für Wirtschaft (SECO)
Wirtschaftliche Zusammenarbeit und Entwicklung
Total DEZA/SECO 23.32 29.36 25.30
Andere Bundesämter
Abt. Menschliche Sicherheit und Direktion für Völkerrecht des EDA 0.01
Staatssekretariat für Bildung, Forschung und Innovation (SBFI) 0.08 0.03 0.03
Total andere Bundesämter 0.09 0.03 0.03
Kantone und Gemeinden 0.60 0.99 ..
Total 24.01 30.38 25.33
DEZA-Angaben ohne Programmbeiträge an schweizerische NGOs
.. = keine Angaben | – = Betrag ist Null oder Betrag < 5'000 CHF

Decentralisation and human rights
Promoting autonomy and participation at the municipal level
Swiss development cooperation is making a valuable contribution to the decentralisation process in Bolivia – a process that is proving to be successful. Specifically, Switzerland is helping to improve the quality of and access to municipal services in the education and healthcare sectors.

Switzerland also promotes women's rights by supporting women in political office at the municipal level and by helping victims of violence to obtain access to a comprehensive, municipal legal service known as Integral Municipal Legal Service (“Servicio Legal Integral Municipal” SLIM). Between 2008 and 2012, Switzerland supported this legal service in 17 municipalities.

To improve disadvantaged groups' access to justice, Switzerland also supports the government's efforts to establish alternative conflict resolution mechanisms. Switzerland also supports the national public defence authority (“Servicio nacional de defensa pública”), whose remit includes defending the rights of the accused, and the ombudsman's office (“Defensoría del pueblo”), which is tasked with protecting human rights.

Adapting to climate change
Risk prevention and improving resilience
Swiss development cooperation personnel have a wealth of experience in managing natural resources. The sustainable use of land and an integrated management of river basins are at the core of development cooperation efforts.

The disaster risk reduction (DDR) project is helping Bolivia to cope with the effects of natural disasters on the population, the infrastructure and the economy. Twenty-four municipalities have already earmarked funds in their annual budgets for DDR efforts to be carried out by the end of 2013.

In urban areas, environmental pollution poses a serious health risk for the inhabitants. The poorest population groups, women and children are particularly affected. From 2014, Switzerland will step up its efforts to support medium-sized cities in overcoming their environmental problems.

Employment and income
Increasing productivity and economic diversification
To promote economic development in rural areas, in 2013 some 20,000 agricultural producers were given access to financial and other services. As a result, they were able to increase their production and to improve the processing and marketing of their goods and services.

The SDC focuses its efforts on optimising the value chains of selected products. In particular, public-private cooperation along these value chains is being improved by means of specially developed platforms. By 2013, more than 8,000 producers were ready to become actively involved.

In the area of technical and vocational training, between 2009 and 2013, the SDC trained more than 10,000 people and offered training courses to more than 5,000 individuals to increase their chances of finding a job, starting their own business and boosting their income-earning capacity.

History of cooperation
Switzerland's long-standing commitment is highly appreciated
Switzerland's long-standing and successful development cooperation efforts are held in high regard in Bolivia. Since 1969, Switzerland has been active in the area of development cooperation in Bolivia, and since 1981 Bolivia has been one of the SDC's priority countries. In view of Bolivia's urbanisation, Switzerland's development cooperation efforts since 2013 have no longer focused exclusively on rural development, but also on improving the delivery of services in peri-urban areas.

Background information Bolivia

Facts and figures
Surface area
Annual population growth rate (since 1990)
Life expectancy at birth women / men
Adult illiteracy rate: women / men
Gross Domestic Product GDP per capita
Percentage of population with less than 2 USD per day
68.9 / 64.4
13.2 / 4.2

Source: World Bank's World Development Indicators 2013

Background information provided by the BBC

Local SDC contact address:

Bolivia (La Paz)

Oficina de Cooperación Suiza en Bolivia
Casilla # 4679
Calle 13 No. 455
Esq. Av. 14 de Septiembre, Obrajes
La Paz - Bolivia

Phone +591 227 51001
Fax +591 221 40884
Email lapaz@sdc.net
Website www.cooperacion-suiza.admin.ch/bolivia/

Additional Information and Documents

Here, you will find more publications, links, documents and articles about Swiss development cooperation and humanitarian aid in this country.