Work at the Provincial Health Services Department in Kegalle, Sri Lanka.
Photo: Simone D. McCourtie/World Bank
Public sector in development cooperation
Swedish public agencies are an important and in-demand actor in development cooperation and there are many opportunities for Swedish authorities to get involved and contribute to strengthening their counterparts in a partner country.
Sweden has an international reputation as a well-functioning and democratic constitutional state where the citizens at large rely on the public administration. Swedish public agencies are an important and in-demand actor in development cooperation. Thanks to their subject knowledge and experience of building strong institutions, they can contribute to strengthening and developing authorities in countries where the government agencies are weak or inadequate and need support to be able to give their citizens the service they have a right to.
As with all Swedish development cooperation, cooperation with public agencies is governed by the policy framework for Swedish development cooperation and humanitarian aid that the government has prepared, and more directly by strategies. The responsibility for implementing the strategies rests with embassies and Sida's various units, which decide which projects or partnerships to enter into.
Strengthening their counterparts
Examples of agencies that contribute knowledge and experience in the development cooperation are Statistics Sweden (SCB), the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency, the Swedish Tax Agency and the Public Employment Service. Through exchanges of staff and training, they work together with their counterpart to strengthen and build up the public agencies in the partner country.
SCB can, for example, contribute to countries having the statistics they need to be able to plan the right efforts in the work of combating poverty. The Swedish Tax Agency contributes to developing effective tax authorities, since tax revenues are the foundation of building and financing a functioning society. The Public Employment Service contributes to developing the employment services and increasing employment in other countries and the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency contributes to developing effective environmental administrations in counterparts and sustainable cities in impoverished countries.
The experiences and contacts that Swedish public agencies gain through the development cooperation can also be used to develop their operations in Sweden.
Another form of cooperation with public agencies is Twinning which is financed by the EU and aims at creating long-term relationships between EU countries and partner countries in Eastern Europe and around the Mediterranean.