Switzerland supports data and statistics in developing countries through multilateral channels, bilateral co-operation and international advocacy. The Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) highlights the importance of data and statistical capacity for Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) monitoring and the need to produce disaggregated data to ensure that no one is left behind. The State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) provides funding for multilateral and bilateral initiatives that aim to strengthen capacity in macroeconomic and financial statistics, notably through its long-standing partnership with the International Monetary Fund (IMF). At the international level, Switzerland champions the importance of strong national data and statistical systems in developing countries and effective development co-operation for data and statistics.

While Switzerland supports data and statistics in developing countries mainly through multilateral initiatives, Swiss development co-operation also provides bilateral financial assistance and peer-to-peer technical assistance for statistical systems. According to OECD data and research,1 its disbursements to data- and statistics-related activities averaged USD 8 million per year between 2017 and 2019 (in 2018 prices; Figure 1). Over this time period, the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) and the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) together accounted for around 90% of the total Swiss support for data and statistics in developing countries. Specific examples include:

  • The SDC anchors “leave no one behind”, a pledge to focus support on the poor and those excluded from sustainable development, in all of its strategic documents and programmes. As part of the SDC’s Guidance on Leave No One Behind, the agency is committed to “[e]nhancing information systems and the production of disaggregated data that reveal the challenges of those left behind and strengthen[ing] the relationship between duty bearers and rights holders.”

  • The SDC provides bilateral funding for population censuses and birth registration in select countries and territories in Eastern Europe, Central Asia and the Middle East (e.g. Albania, Benin, Kosovo, Moldova, the Palestinian Authority and Tajikistan), often in partnership with the Swiss Federal Statistical Office. It also supports the Partnership for Statistics in the 21st Century (PARIS21) and the United Nations’ Legal Identity for All initiative (CHF 2 million between 2018 and 2021). The SDC runs a range of programmes addressing global challenges such as climate change, water, food security, health and migration. In this context, it supports sector-specific data, often linked to SDG monitoring and in co-operation with United Nations custodian agencies. An example is the Integrated Monitoring of Water and Sanitation related SDG targets.

  • SECO is the Swiss federal government’s centre of excellence for all core issues relating to economic policy. Its aim is to ensure sustainable economic growth by putting in place the necessary regulatory and economic policy conditions. SECO’s Economic Cooperation and Development Division promotes economically, environmentally and socially sustainable growth which creates new jobs, facilitates increased productivity, and helps to reduce poverty and disparities. Its support to data and statistics in partner countries is thus often focused on macroeconomic and financial statistics.

  • SECO delivers its support in partnership with multilateral organisations, notably the IMF. This includes, since 2009, support of the IMF’s statistical capacity development and, more recently, support of the IMF’s Data for Decisions (D4D) Trust Fund, to which it committed CHF 4 million over the 2018-23 period. SECO also contributed to the United Nations Industrial Development Organization’s technical assistance to business registration reform in Viet Nam and is strengthening debt data transparency through multilateral initiatives such as the WB-IMF-led Debt Management Facility.

Switzerland’s support for multilateral initiatives results in around half of its total support on data and statistics being allocable to specific countries. Key partners are the Palestinian Authority (various support to core statistical activities), Tajikistan (civil registry reform) and Viet Nam (business registration reform). Switzerland’s support aims to improve economic statistics as well as population and health statistics and general statistical capacity.

Switzerland supports key international initiatives, which aim to strengthen development co-operation for data and statistical systems in developing countries. It will be hosting the 3rd UN World Data Forum in Bern, planned initially for October 2020 and postponed to October 2021. This event aims to bring together international experts to find data-based solutions to help achieve the 2030 Agenda. Switzerland also co-chairs the Global Partnership for Effective Development Co-operation, which supports efforts to put in place the conditions to foster data-centric national development and to promote the use and sharing of data and co-ordinated efforts for statistical capacity development.

A long-standing co-operation, recognised as a success by the SDC, existed with the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics. The programme included core support amounting to CHF 1.8 million in its last phase (2015-17) and co-financing amounting to CHF 1.25 million for the Palestinian Population, Housing and Establishment Census 2017. While the attempt to create a multi-donor funding mechanism did not succeed and Swiss support has since ended, the programme succeeded in ultimately ensuring that the Palestinian Authority increased the amount of domestic resources allocated to the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics.

Between 2017 and 2019, a large share (91%) of Switzerland’s official development assistance (ODA) to data and statistics aimed to strengthen participatory development (i.e. development that seeks to engage local populations in development projects) and good governance. Forty-one per cent had gender quality as a policy objective (Figure 2). More than one-third (37%) of its ODA aimed to improve the availability and reliability of economic statistics, 19% aimed to strengthen population and health statistics, and 12% was targeted to improving general statistical capacity building.

A large share of Switzerland’s ODA to data and statistics, nearly half between 2017 and 2019, cannot be allocated to specific regions, i.e. it is channelled through global and multilateral initiatives. The remainder has largely been targeted to a select group of partners primarily in Asia and Europe (Figure 3 and Figure 4).

Around 45% of Switzerland’s bilateral support between 2017 and 2019 was allocated to specific partner countries (Figure 5). Three key partners, Albania, the Palestinian Authority and Tajikistan, accounted for about one third or Switzerland’s total spend over this time period.

In 2017-19, 57% of Switzerland’s support to data and statistics was delivered in the form of project-type interventions (Figure 6). The remainder was delivered in the form of contributions to specific programmes of partners, typically multilateral organisations, a modality that has become more important for Switzerland in recent years.

Almost two-thirds (64%) of Switzerland’s ODA to data and statistics were channelled through multilateral organisations between 2017 and 2019 (Figure 7). Collaborations with multilateral organisations include the IMF’s Data for Decisions (D4D) Fund, the United Nations Development Program’s Legal Identity for All initiative and funding of activities of PARIS21.


← 1. The analysis in this profile is based on official data reported by members to the OECD’s Creditor Reporting System. It is published under the responsibility of the OECD. OECD analysts mined the database using a text search with manual curation. Where relevant, members contributed additional data to fill gaps. Please see the methodological annex for further details on the data analysis.

Metadata, Legal and Rights

This document, as well as any data and map included herein, are without prejudice to the status of or sovereignty over any territory, to the delimitation of international frontiers and boundaries and to the name of any territory, city or area. Extracts from publications may be subject to additional disclaimers, which are set out in the complete version of the publication, available at the link provided.

© OECD 2021

The use of this work, whether digital or print, is governed by the Terms and Conditions to be found at http://www.oecd.org/termsandconditions.