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  • Swiss Cooperation Strategy for Bangladesh 2008-2012
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Website of the Cooperation Office (SDC) Bangladesh: www.sdc.org.bd

BANGLADESH.GIFBangladesh, which extends over the broad Ganges delta on the Indian sub-continent, is still one of the world's most densely populated countries. Half of its population lives in poverty. The entire country suffers from underdevelopment, mismanagement, natural disasters and poor governance.

The gap between rich and poor is widening, and those hardest hit are usually women, children, slum dwellers and ethnic minorities whose civil rights and freedoms are not guaranteed. However, in recent decades, considerable progress has been made. Positive developments in the areas of population control, child mortality, malnutrition and gender-neutral access to education have made the international community take notice of the positive changes taking place in Bangladesh.

Swiss development cooperation has been active in Bangladesh since the country gained independence in 1971. Since then, the aim of the development cooperation has been to contribute to sustainable development and poverty reduction. Besides SDC, numerous non-governmental organisations (NGOs) – some of them supported by SDC – are working in Bangladesh.

Swiss International Cooperation 2011
mill. CHF
mill. CHF
mill. CHF
Bilateral development cooperation 24.75 25.86 29.46
Humanitarian aid 1.67 1.18 0.42
State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO)
Economic Cooperation and Development 0.04 0.36
Total SDC/SECO 26.42 27.08 30.24
Other Federal Offices
State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation (SERI) 0.02 0.02 0.05
Total other Federal Offices 0.02 0.02 0.05
Cantons and municipalities 0.55 1.41 ..
Total 26.99 28.51 30.29
SDC figures excluding program contributions to Swiss NGOs
.. = figures not available | – = nil or amount < 5'000 CHF

Development Cooperation: Priorities

SDC's complex yet coherent development cooperation programme in Bangladesh aims to promote a sustainable reduction in poverty. Concentrating mainly on the poorest social classes, SDC follows its guiding principles: gender equality, human rights, social justice, and building on existing potential. As a small donor country, Switzerland has the advantage of being able to provide direct, flexible support for innovative ideas.

The SDC's programmes in Bangladesh, as set out in the Bangladesh Strategy 2008-2012, emphasize two main themes, namely:

Furthermore, the two following cross-cutting themes are being continued in Bangladesh and built into all cooperation projects:

SDC mainly promotes development efforts by civil society in Bangladesh and therefore works with:

Regarding aid modalities, SDC actively contributes to the International Community ‘s efforts to promote aid harmonisation. SDC’s programmes are in line with the Bangladesh Poverty Reduction Strategy and government policies. The agency is pursuing government-aligned and harmonised projects mainly in the areas of micro and small enterprises promotion and non formal education.

Humanitarian Aid: Priorities

In accordance with their remit, the SDC's Humanitarian Aid and the Swiss Humanitarian Aid Unit (HA and SHA) operate in Bangladesh mainly when natural disasters necessitate fast, effective assistance and, in the case of calamities on a larger scale, during the rehabilitation and reconstruction phases. Its geography means that Bangladesh is at risk from annual flooding because the delta of its three major rivers lies just a few metres above sea level. The impact of floods is further aggravated by poverty, overpopulation and lack of infrastructure.

As in previous years (2002 and 2004), serious flooding once again caused considerable damage to the country and its infrastructure, and the SDC continues to support local NGOs and the appropriate United Nations organizations.

On 15 November 2007, Sidr, one of the most violent cyclones to hit Bangladesh in recent years, devastated the south of the country, claiming the lives of some 4,000 people and making 360,000 families homeless. 350,000 animals were lost, and most of the rice harvest was destroyed. In the immediate aftermath, the SDC – through its local partners – supported the needy by distributing emergency goods and blankets. In a second phase, a further 500,000 Swiss francs were earmarked for direct action on regenerating people's means of subsistence, and a contribution of two million CHF was allocated to the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

For the period 2008-2009, a reconstruction programme with an annual budget of 1.5 to 2 million Swiss francs is to be rolled out in Bagerhat District, which was hit particularly hard by Sidr. The two following activities are planned:

During this period, the Dhaka CoOf will be strengthened by the arrival of a Humanitarian Assistant Coordinator/ and other humanitarian aid experts.

Background information Bangladesh
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
69.7 / 68.2
47.8 / 38.7
Source: World Bank's World Development Indicators 2013
Background information provided by the BBC

Local SDC contact address:

Bangladesh (Dhaka)

Swiss Cooperation Office Bangladesh
Bay’s Edgewater
8th Floor, Plot 12
North Avenue
Gulshan 2
, Dhaka 1212 - Bangladesh

Phone +8802 88 12392
+8802 88 13067
Fax +8802 88 23497
Email dhaka@sdc.net
Website www.sdc.org.bd

Additional Information and Documents

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