Sida Framework - Democratic Governance and Human Rights

Sida framework in democracy and human rights covers the following 8 sub-areas:

1. Local Democracy and Decentralisation
Within the area of local democracy Sida provides support to decentralization reforms
(political, administrative, and fiscal) and programmes/projects promoting pro-poor
development. This includes support to federal and sub-national institutions. The focus
is on strengthening sub-national decision-making bodies, their accountability to the
citizens and capacity to implement service delivery. Support is given to develop
effective, accountable and legitimate sub-national governments, elected assemblies
and administrations as well as to promote active participation of citizens. Sida also
provides support to the building up and consolidation of associations for sub-national,
local authorities. Cooperation partners include ministries, government agencies, and
associations of sub-national authorities, sub-national authorities and civil society
organisations in partner countries.
The following main areas of expertise are included in Swedish support:
• Decentralisation reforms, with a specific focus on devolution;
• Sub-national elected assemblies;
• Sub-national administrations;
• Associations of local and regional authorities as well as local civil society
• Democratic participation and accountability relations – especially
accountability of sub-national assemblies to their citizens, and of sub-national
governments and administrations to the elected, sub-national representatives.

2. Political Institutions, Political Participation and a Pluralist Civil Society
Within the sub-area of political institutions, political participation and pluralism, Sida
supports a wide range of projects and programmes aimed to develop and strengthen
parliaments, political party systems and electoral processes at various levels in
developing countries, countries in transition and at sub-regional levels. An inclusive
political culture, characterised by values like tolerance and equality, is also an
essential component that complements the work with more formal political
institutions. Moreover, a vibrant and pluralistic civil society is a cornerstone of
democracy. Sida supports civil society organisations engaged in promoting
democratic values, human rights, participation and pluralism. Freedom of expression,
association and assembly are essential for the work in this sub-area.
The following main areas of expertise are included in Swedish support:
• National, sub-regional and continent-wide parliaments;
• Networks of Parliaments, parliamentarians and parliamentary staff;
• Emerging and existing political party systems (legislation, regulations, Interrelations
and relations with other sections of society);
• Political parties, organizations affiliated to parties, such as youth wings at
various levels of society, and political party activists;
• A pluralist and independent civil society and an enabling environment for civil
• Civil society organisations, such as social movements and interest groups,
which could potentially become political parties;Civil society organisations engaged in work to promote democratic values,
human rights, participation and pluralism;
• Development of a democratic, political culture
• Electoral reforms;
• Election Management Bodies at national and local levels;
• Voter registration, and voter education;
• Domestic and international election observation;
• Political participation of women, young people and minorities;
• Constitution building and constitutional reform processes.

3. Public Financial Management
Sida supports the development of robust and efficient public financial management
(PFM) systems, in order for the state in a developing country to be able to implement
policies and use state resources effectively and efficiently.
Within the PFM area, Sida supports both the revenue and the expenditure side. Sida
seeks to strengthen the ability of states to mobilise domestic financial resources, and
primarily by means of wider tax collection and increased efficiency in the tax
administration. Sida works for greater openness and transparency in the PFM
system, from planning and budget preparation to audit and evaluation.
The following main areas of expertise are included in Swedish support:
• PFM reform, legislation and regulations, the design of systems and reform
programmes, including sustainability;
• Pro-poor PFM reform, including the perspective of the poor, gender equality,
and adaptation to EUs acquis communiautaire;
• The entire range of PFM functions from planning and budgeting to audit, and
different types of PFM systems.
• PFM in relation to sectors and sub-national government;
• PFM assessments and diagnostics including Public Expenditure and Financial
Accountability (PEFA);
• PFM in relation to donors' programme and project support and the aid
effectiveness agenda, including use of country systems;
• PFM and anti-corruption, including corruption as an obstacle to development;
• Civil society organisations in their role as watch dog in relation to PFM, with a
focus on transparency and accountability;
• PFM and public information structures, communication ethics and
mechanisms for participation;
• PFM in relation to capacity development, human resource development,
information and communication technology and public administration reform;
• PFM applied to gender, human rights and the environment, including gender
budgeting, rights-based budgeting and green budgeting.

4 State building and Public Institutions and Administration
Sida supports the building of strong and capable democratic states, and wellfunctioning
public institutions and administrations, in order for post-conflict and
developing countries to implement development policies and make good use of its
resources and revenues. Democratic governance and the quality of government, with impartial execution of power, are essential for peoples’ recognition of state
legitimacy, and for the capacity of the state to deliver development.
Sida gives priority to the development of well-functioning inclusive, transparent and
accountable public institutions and administration that follow the principles of the rule
of law, with equal access and rights for all people to public information and services.
The following main areas of expertise are included in Swedish support:
• Public administration reform/civil service reform/public sector reform,
legislation and regulations, and design of systems and reforms in developing
countries and countries in transition from peacebuilding to state building;
• Well-functioning public administration with pro-poor public service delivery and
adaptation to the EU’s acquis communiautaire;
• Functions of public institutions and administration, such as
organisation/structure, institutional and organisational development, planning,
human resource management, information and communication technology,
and other cross-cutting functions;
• Sectoral and sub-national public institutions and administration;
• Public administration and anti-corruption;
• Transparency and access to public information: public information structures,
communication ethics and mechanisms for participation;
• Public institution and administration assessments and diagnostics;
• Public institution and administration capacity development and sustainability.

5. Human Rights Systems, Human Rights Defenders and Rule of Law
The realisation of human rights is dependent on the will and capacity of the state to
respect, protect and fulfil human rights and the ability of individuals to claim their
rights. Swedish development cooperation has a long and impressive track record of
promoting and protecting human rights systems at different levels.
Human Rights Defenders and actors of democratisation - individuals, groups and
organisations within the civil society, media and the state - have a crucial role to play
and often need support and protection. Sida has a holistic security approach to
protection, and it includes safety online as well as offline. Human rights are
increasingly highlighted not only as a basis for development policies and
programmes, but also for the Agenda 2030 and the SDGs and the aid effectiveness
agenda. The work of human rights defenders and actors of democratisation is closely
linked to freedom of expression, association and assembly, as well as freedom of
religion. They are often engaged in issues such as the environment and climate
change, natural resources and land rights.
Within the area of Rule of Law, Sida provides support to legal and judicial reforms,
either through sector-wide approaches or support to reforms in parts of the justice
sector, e g police or judiciary reforms. Sida also supports capacity-building
programmes and projects targeting state and/or civil society organizations with the
aim to enhance equal access to justice (EA2J), as well activities related to transitional
justice and informal justice systems. Examples of state actors in the legal and judicial
system are the ministry of justice, the police, courts, prosecutors, ombudsmen, truth
and reconciliation commissions, anti-corruption agencies, legal aid and legal education institutions. Private and civil society actors are also supported, e.g. bar
associations, paralegal organizations, community law centres, and legal aid/legal
assistance organisations or other civil society organisations working to enhance legal
awareness and EA2J among the public.
The following main areas of expertise are included in Swedish support:
• International, regional and national human rights systems, mechanisms and
• Human Rights Defenders;
• Digital, physical and organisational safety for human rights defenders and civil
• Legal protection, legal awareness and education, legal assistance;
• Mechanisms for redress & conflict resolution, and enforcement of decisions;
• Mechanisms to promote transparency, accountability and anti-corruption
(institutional oversight and demand-side pressure initiatives for reform);
• EA2J, including a human rights and gender equality approach to justice sector
• Justice sector reform;
• Informal justice systems;
• Transitional justice.

6.  Equal Rights and Non-Discrimination
All individuals are equal as human beings by virtue of the inherent dignity of each
human being. All human beings are entitled to their human rights without
discrimination of any kind, whether on the basis of sex, age, gender identity and
gender expression, sexual orientation, religion or other belief, political or other
opinion, ethnicity, national or social origin, disability, property, birth or other status as
explained by the International Human Rights Treaties. Discrimination and inequality
are often cross-cutting and intersectional themes on divergent rights, e.g. migrant
women workers from ethnic minority groups living with HIV. Freedom of assembly,
association and expression as well as the right to information are essential in
promoting non-discrimination.
The following main areas of expertise are included in Swedish support:
• Equal rights for and non-discrimination of minorities and indigenous people;
• Equal rights for and non-discrimination of people living with disabilities;
• Equal rights for and non-discrimination of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender
and intersex (LGBTI) persons;
• Respect for and fulfilment of the Right of the Child as stipulated in the UN
Convention on the Rights of the Child and non-discrimination of children.

7. Freedom of Expression and Access to Information online and offline
Sida’s support within freedom of expression has a broad approach. It includes for
example support to free and independent media, support to artistic freedom of
expression and cultural diversity, and support to a free, open and secure Internet.
Digital, physical and organisational safety for journalists and other human rights
defenders also play a key part.

Support to freedom of expression and the right to information includes support to
normative and regulatory frameworks on global, regional and national level,
strengthening actors for change and improving their safety, promotion and
development of free and independent media, as well as developing arenas and
channels for culture and diverse societal debate.
Editorial independence, professional skills and economic sustainability is seen as
vital to ensure the watchdog role of the media. Sida’s support to free and
independent media includes for example capacity building of journalists and editors,
direct support to independent media to increase their sustainability, organisations
advocating for rights-respecting media laws, improved working conditions for
journalists and media literacy.
The Internet and information and communication technologies (ICTs) allow for both
greater reach and lower cost than any previous technology or mechanism in human
history. With more than half of the world’s total population online, online spaces are a
primary mechanism through which men and women, boys and girls, around the world
exercise their freedom of expression. The rapid increase of access to ICTs and the
Internet plays a key role not only for freedom of expression and access to
information, but also as an enabler of other rights – both online and offline. A
necessary precondition for this is a free, open and secure Internet. Privacy and a
rule-of-law based approach to the Internet and ICTs are key factors to uphold, as
online censorship, surveillance and restrictions to access ICTs are increasing, and
rights-averse practices and regulations are spreading.
The following main areas of expertise are included in Swedish support:
• Free and Independent Media and media development, including economic
sustainability of the media;
• Freedom of artistic expression, diversity of cultural expressions, cultural
heritage, cultural and creative industries;
• Access to, and use of, free, open and secure ICTs;
• Participation in the development of normative frameworks and processes
related to a free, open and secure Internet, governed by a multi-stakeholder
• Digital, physical and organisational safety for journalists, bloggers and other
media actors.

8 Human Rights Based Approach
A HRBA to development is a conceptual framework for the process of human
development that is normatively based on international human rights standards and
operationally directed to promoting, protecting and fulfilling human rights. It seeks to
analyse inequalities which lie at the heart of development problems and
multidimensional poverty and redress discriminatory practices and unjust distributions
of power that impede development progress. A HRBA includes the rights of the child,
expressed in the special human rights standards and systems that have been
developed in relation to specific needs that children have.
A HRBA makes use of the standards, principles and methods of human rights, social
activism, and of development. It is about empowerment of rights holders, so that they can claim their human rights as stipulated in national laws and international
conventions, as well as capacity building of duty bearers, to respect and respond to
these legitimate claims. It is therefore also a working method, where the principles of
non-discrimination, participation, transparency and accountability are applied in all
development cooperation in all sectors and thematic areas (see
The following main areas of expertise are included in Swedish support:
• Development of methodological support materials and tools on how to apply
and integrate HRBA in development cooperation;
• Application and integration of HRBA in development cooperation, at Swedish
results strategy and contribution (partner/project/programme) level in all
sectors and thematic areas, including HRBA as a tool for integrating anticorruption.

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