Urban Poverty Working Group


Today, approximately 25 % of the world’s poor live in urban areas. This part is expected to increase to 50 % by 2040. In view of such trends, SDC’s South Cooperation (SC) initiated in 2016 a reflection process on the future positioning of SDC in urban contexts: Should SDC (SC) engage in a more substantive way in urban settings and if so, how? This process resulted in an Issue Paper that will later be presented to SDC board of Directors and that shall as well inform ongoing strategic reflections.

In 2017 started a learning journey on urban-rural dynamics that continues and builds on that work initiated in 2016. A core working group of ten members with representation from the different SDC domains and a broader reflection group is involved in this learning journey. A special focus of the first year of the learning journey is put on five case studies in Bangladesh, Bolivia, Ethiopia, Haiti and the Mekong region. The case studies shall provide inputs and reflections for the elaboration of the new cooperation strategies and for a possible adaptation of the project portfolio. At the same time, they shall contribute to an "urban" learning process at SDC and serve to verify the recommendations made by the mentioned Issue Paper.

Results so far:


Case studies on urbanization

(already available: Bolivia, Haiti) on the shareweb of the learning journey urban-rural dynamics

Draft Issue Paper 

(in consultation, to be adapted by June 2017)


Briefing Note “Cities, urbanization and poverty reduction”

With key facts about incidence and characteristics of urban (and rural) poverty, main opportunities, challenges, possible approaches to best tackle the challenges.


Briefing Note “Urban Development Assistance”

With position of several key development partners in terms of their activities and approaches in urban settings.


Selection of documents referenced in the two Briefing Notes



Preliminary results of internal lightmapping of urban SDC and SECO activities







Working Group Members

Markus Eggenberger, Bettina Etter, Felix Fellmann, Sophie Hirsig, Martin Lippuner, Mirjam Macchi Howell, Anne Moulin, Serge Oumow, Bahar Sadreghazi, Jacqueline Schmid

Working Group Sections


For more information contact:

Martin Lippuner or another working group member at SDC.

Related resources


Urban poverty: what consequences for SDC’s South Cooperation?