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SDC and Inequalities


Learning Trajectory Global Inequalities

​​​​​​Kim Andr​​​eas Kessler, Academic Intern, Quality Assurance and Poverty Reduction Section, ​SDC​​ / 14.12.2017​

Income inequality between countries has reduced, while inequality within countries has increased in many cases. The call for inclusive poverty reduction is not new, yet it gained renewed momentum with the UN 2030 Agenda and its emphasis to 'leave no one behind'. Growing political attention to so-called losers of globalisation in developed countries has further pushed inequality towards a prominent theme on national and international development agendas.

In order to address this key development issue, the SDC Quality Assurance and Poverty Reduction Section has launched a Learning Trajectory on Global Inequalities. Learning Trajectories aim at improving connections between knowledge, practice and realities on the ground. They consist of small groups of SDC staff that are matched with an academic expert adopting a mentoring role. The overarching aim of this Learning Trajectory on Global Inequalities is to reflect on the various implications SDG 10 (reducing inequality within and among countries) has for SDC's work. This question is addressed on a strategic level (Dispatch on Switzerland's International Cooperation and cooperation strategies) as well as on an operational level (country projects).


The Learning Trajectory currently consists of 15 SDC members. Global Cooperation, South Cooperation and Eastern Cooperation are represented by different SDC head office staff. Mozambique and Tanzania are currently represented through SCO representatives. It is accompanied by Sabin Bieri and Christoph Bader from the Centre for Development and Environment (University of Bern).

Interested SDC staff from head office and SCOs are most welcome to join! For further information, please contact Stephanie Guha.


What has been achieved so far?

The foreseen long term output of this peer group is to define SDC's role in tackling inequalities. As a first step, a Briefing Paper on Global Inequalities was developed in order to disseminate the state-of-the art of knowledge on inequalities within the SDC. As a second step, an SDC inequalities mapping was conducted in order to take stock of the SDC's current (2017) strategic and practical activities with an inequality focus. Covering a total of 25 Swiss Cooperation Offices, the Mapping Report highlights that:

  • There is a broadly shared support for the idea of increasing importance of inequalities as a challenge for development cooperation.
  • There is an idea that conventional approaches do not do justice to inequality related challenges.
  • There is scope to more systematically analyse 'inequalities' and integrate 'reducing inequalities' as a specific objective within projects/programmes.


The Briefing Paper and the SDC Inequalities Mapping are the foundations for the current discussions within and beyond the Learning Trajectory Group on how the SDC can efficiently and effectively contribute to SDG 10 and the 2030 Agenda's political commitment to Leave No One Behind.  

The next expected output is an Issue Paper which sets the scene to develop coherent guidance from the SDC head office and practical tools for SDC's Cooperation Offices in order to ensure the work of this Learning Group has a positive influence on SDC's work on the ground.



Briefing Paper on Global Inequalities.pdf