Cities have a huge potential to advance economic development and to reduce poverty and greenhouse gas emissions. At the same time, a reliable and efficient supply of infrastructure and public services is an important global competitiveness factor.
Cities are important economic growth and innovation centres. The urban population will continue to grow quickly over the coming decades. To exploit their great development potential in a sustainable and climate-friendly manner, cities will require an integrated approach to planning and managing their urban areas.
SECO conducts a dialogue with authorities and interest groups and helps them to develop forward-oriented strategies for the development of their cities. Experts advise urban and national authorities on how to analyse their urban areas and how to set development objectives, enabling them to select, plan and implement infrastructure projects. SECO also helps cities to put together funding packages and include local sources of financing.
SECO prioritises the following areas:
Expanding public and non-motorised transport in the interests of efficient and sustainable mobility (e.g., by introducing express bus corridors)
Reinforcing the protection and resilience of cities against climate-related natural hazards and other extreme events (e.g., through monitoring systems and training of authorities)
Improving urban energy management and expanding renewable energy (involving the Swiss label “Energy Cities”, or the European Energy Award as part of this)
SECO is dedicated to promoting environmentally friendly urban development.
Reliable infrastructure services due to better corporate governance
Reliable and efficient water, wastewater and energy services are important global competitiveness factors. They play an essential role in the economic and social development of a country. They also constitute a prerequisite for ensuring that disadvantaged population groups can participate in economic growth too. Furthermore, environmentally friendly infrastructure services are crucial to countering the effects of climate change.
There is a lack of basic public services in many developing countries. This is mainly due to weak governance in public utilities, lack of resources and unfavourable framework conditions. SECO assists utilities in managing their facilities professionally and introducing innovative technologies. It also promotes renewable energy in its partner countries, for example hydropower and solar power.
SECO also supports skills development in public utilities to ensure the availability of qualified personnel. In addition, it helps national and local authorities develop viable funding solutions and implement favourable regulatory framework conditions, for example in the area of tariffs.