Switzerland is to take part in a World Bank programme to promote transparency in the commodities sector. The State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) announced on Monday that it would contribute CHF2 million ($2.1 million) to the scheme.
The World Bank’s project, called the Extractive Global Programmatic Supportexternal link Programme (EGPS) aims to help developing nations promote economic growth by making use of their energy and mineral resources in a way that also gives importance to transparency, sustainability, and good governance. Overall the programme costs $84 million.
As part of the scheme, support is given to finance and energy ministers in developing countries. This includes training in fiscal and commodity policy, and help in contract negotiations with commodity companies over mining rights or granting licences.
On Wednesday, Economics Minister Johann Schneider-Ammann will sign a programme agreement on the Swiss contribution with World Bank Director of the Energy & Extractives Global Practice, Charles Feinstein. The signing will take place at the 30th board meeting of the Extractive Industry Transparency Initiativeexternal link (EITI) in Bern, which runs from October 21-23.
Switzerland has supported the EITI as a member of the board since 2009. The organisation establishes standard guidelines for governance best practices for transparent commodity trading. They have been implemented by at least 48 countries, and are supported by 90 companies and 900 civil society organisations.
A number of commodities giants are based in Switzerland, and face regular criticism from non-governmental organisations over human rights concerns and environmental standards in the countries in which they operate.
swissinfo.ch and agencies