The rule of law

Switzerland's expertise in the rule of law and democracy is recognised and sought after around the world. Swiss international cooperation encourages partner governments to take ownership and works to strengthen civil society in order to foster democracy, decentralisation and public accountability.

The rule of law and democracy are values that have a long tradition in Switzerland, serving as hallmarks for the dynamic, economically successful country. Switzerland's International Cooperation Strategy 2021–24 uses this tradition and these values as a basis for its work in developing countries. Swiss expertise in this area is recognised and sought after around the world.

Partner governments have to take ownership

One of the goals of international cooperation is to create long-term opportunities for local populations – particularly for women and disadvantaged groups – by promoting the rule of law and respect for human rights. In order to generate long-lasting change in this area, the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) and the FDFA's Human Security Division (HSD) work to encourage partner countries to take ownership so that they are equipped to deal with problems that act as roadblocks to development. These problems include poorly equipped educational and healthcare systems, the inefficient use of natural resources, violence, conflicts, human rights violations, corruption, clientelism and mismanagement.

A functioning state governed by the rule of law

In order to tackle these issues, it is essential to have a functioning state governed by the rule of law. Swiss international cooperation activities provide concrete support to the competent authorities and communities at national and municipal level and also promote transparent elections, representative parliaments and an independent judiciary. In this way, Switzerland strengthens the separation of powers, the principles of the rule of law, and the accountability of public authorities towards their citizens. Furthermore, Switzerland is committed to a strong civil society and a pluralistic, independent press that are capable of conducting advocacy, monitoring government actions and holding public authorities accountable.